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Landlady: Going spare

Life is currently very peaceful at Landlady Towers. This is because it is mainly my own family living here, meaning I don't have to lodger-dodge so much. The only thing I have to worry about is The Big Daughter plying me with gin of an evening, which often isn't a bad thing. Although one of my two lodgers uses the kitchen for an inordinate amount of time to cook food that smells increasingly like ancient hosiery, I am now used to his habits and we tiptoe around each other in the manner of a couple of ballerinas performing the nutcracker suite with vegetables.

My other lodger – I only have two for now – is a joy. He drinks and smokes, which is something that qualifies a person as normal in my house. He works as a chef and therefore is unlikely to use the kitchen for hours on end on the rare occasions that he's actually at home. Even if he did use the kitchen, I'm sure his wares would have a more tempting aroma than boiled Y-fronts. I know this to be true as I have visited his workplace several times and eaten extremely good food, and he once made me a pie to apologise for putting his fag ends in the gutter. The pie was apparently steak and ale, and very good, but I wouldn't know because The Cuban Boyfriend, who virtually loses his mind at the mere mention of a pie, wolfed it down before I even got a look in.

With such harmony in the house, I am loathe to destroy the delicate balance by introducing a new lodger into the mix. This is in spite of the fact that I've had a spare, empty double room for the past month. As if I didn't remember, The Small Daughter is always keen to remind me of the time last year when we had four lodgers, one of whom cooked a nightly portion of what can only be described as cow pat, and another who would constantly occupy the kitchen and leave her vegetable peelings all over the floor.

Sometimes, a bit of peace and quiet can be priceless.