Newspaper article Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)

Jamie Diffley

Newspaper article Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)

Jamie Diffley

Article excerpt

Byline: By Jamie Diffley

Today I am going to lie on MY settee. Not share the Long Suffering Marjorie's two-seater settee but lie on MY own. Shoes off, feet hanging over the side, smirking face fronting a head propped up by cushions.

And while I'm at it I might dunk a custard cream into a cup of tea made with MY milk. MY television displaying the seasonal films of MY choice.

A happy Christmas indeed.

Such simple pleasures but ones that must not be underestimated.

For this festive season I have been given my freedom. Not from the LSM I hasten to add, before you reach for the vanity mirror and the lipstick, but from our enforced lodger.

It was with great hesitation that I agreed to let her move in in the first place.

Nothing against her per se. she's a pal of the LSM's and thoroughly decent but as something of an insular person, it's hard to let people in.

In fairness I could hardly say no. She was moving to Newcastle from Canada and didn't know a single soul besides the LSM and, through association, me.

After a stint in Manchester, she decided to move back to the land of Maple syrup and returned home last summer.

But the lure of our fish and chips proved mighty and she returned to Blighty. To Newcastle. To my already-cramped flat.

As unreasonable as I can be, I kept a lid on things. It won't be for ever, I reasoned with myself every time I tripped over her size 9s in the hallway.

She is a teacher and they're always crying out for teachers.

Five months later, her size 9s are still there.

Her pledge of getting a job within four weeks was soon exposed as hollow, as was the promise of being out in two months then three followed by "before my 31st birthday". All deadlines came and went. The lodger never did.

Slowly, the dynamics of the house changed as did my position as Alpha Male.

The washing-up bowl was the first to go because the lodger didn't like it. My brand of tea-bags changed and the kitchen, admittedly not my favourite place but my place nevertheless, became foreign to me.

Where once cornflakes would occupy the top cupboard, her pans now resided and her Canada cups (no really, with pictures of the CN Tower on and everything) suddenly seemed the dominant force on the mug tree. …

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