Call me old-fashioned, but there’s nothing I like better on a Saturday than curling up with a pile of newspaper supplements. Features, crosswords, entertainment, literature, cartoon strips – it’s an absolute smorgasbord for a die-hard print journalist like me. 

I don’t usually get to read the paper until bedtime, and often wake up drooling over my favourite columnist in a most uncomplimentary way (I really hope no one does that to my work. WAKE UP THERE!).

But during the Easter holidays, I had the luxury of leafing through The Guardian over breakfast – a decent coffee and an artisan croissant in a funky Brighton bakery. I am aware this makes me a living, breathing stereotype of middle-class left-wing wokery – by all means print it on a badge for me and I will wear it with pride. 

One of the first pages I turn to is the agony aunt spread. Bear in mind this is The Guardian, so it’s not exactly tawdry (although if you skip a few pages, you’ll find ‘How we have s*x’, in a which couples share explicit details I really don’t need to know at breakfast, or any time of day).  

Two thirds of the spread is taken up by “You be the Judge”, in which friends/family members put forward opposing views on a given debate, with the final verdict decided by readers. 

A recent example: male flatmate tells female flatmate to refrain from flushing feminine hygiene products down the toilet, only to be told: “No womb, no say.” 

Clearly said female has missed the 3Ps memo that you’ll find stuck to every single door in ladies’ loos in public toilets around Cornwall: only pee, poo and paper, please. 

So, it transpired, had my mother-in-law. I was astonished to hear a confirmed climate change activist recoil in horror at the idea of putting such items anywhere other than the pan. That said, it has been a few decades since she used them herself, and times have changed. (The verdict was unanimous: if the womb has the say, it should also pay the bills for any blockages). 

The ”agony aunt”, if she can be called that, is rather more serious. On this occasion, her correspondent was asking: “Should we let our children read our love letters from previous partners?”

Daughter’s response was unequivocal, her expression similar to that my mother-in-law might sport upon finding something unmentionable in her bathroom bin. “EWWWW!” she squealed. “Why would you even want to?” 

A fierce debate ensued. Daughter has won the title of star debater at school. I imagine her weekly club to be an hour of teens yelling at each other - one side black, the other white with nary a shade of grey in between. In the middle sits a teacher with a weary expression and a packet of paracetamol. What a trooper. 

I was able to summarise the agony aunt’s reply almost without reading it. What about historical value? These were octogenarians, after all, with grown-up offspring. What kind of insight might they offer into, say the 1950s or Swinging Sixties? The clothes, the news, the politics? 

How do we know so much out about lives past, if not from the private correspondence shared with libraries around the world upon the passing of its authors?

My suggestions fell on deaf ears. “Disgusting!” shrieked Daughter (who is currently researching her Cornish family history as part of her Bronze Duke of Edinburgh award). “They are LOVE letters. Keep them to yourself!” 

Agony Aunt advised sharing with care – read it yourself first, to weed out TMI or any explosive family secrets. Perhaps check with third parties that they are happy for their words to be shared – and ask your children if, indeed, they would even appreciate such a bequest – after all, not many kids like to think of their parents, well, you know… 

Fortunately for Daughter, her father and I have very few perfumed missives to share with her – not because we’re unromantic, but because we’ve rarely been apart long enough to justify putting pen to paper. If we had, the results in “our” language would probably have resembled drivel to anyone else. 

Do people even write love letters now? Or do we conduct our long-distance relationships via email, text, WhatsApp? These would naturally be deleted when the relationship ends. 

Back in the day, I had a boyfriend who used to write me letters with lovely drawings of Forever Friends teddy bears. Spoiler alert – it wasn’t forever, and we are no longer friends. I might still have those letters, though, in an overhead cupboard. Why? Because disposing of them is like binning photographs of people – there’s something almost satanic about the act. 

Do I share them? The trouble is, according to Agony Aunt, that would mean reading them myself first. 

EWWWW! TMI! Perhaps not, then.