You may have heard that, at the age of 79, Prue Leith is finally moving in with her second husband. This is surprising news and slightly worrying for those of us who look to Prue for tips on how to live life to the full and avoid getting set in your ways.
Prue seemed to have a good thing going. When she remarried, three years ago, she chose to remain in her Cotswolds house while her husband, John Playfair, kept his own property a mile down the road. The arrangement was that he stayed with her every night, popping back to his place whenever he needed to do the washing, or revisit his collection of memorabilia - what Prue calls his "junk".
She did her own thing in her own house, and he in his, and no one needed to make changes or put their foot down about, say, the positioning of a faux-leather recliner. What could be more sensible for two people who have a lifetime of clobber and entrenched tastes?
But now they've decided it's time to settle down under the same roof, and alarm bells are ringing in the heads of women across the country. Where will his library go (Prue has mentioned the hell of negotiating "a tunnel of books" to get to the loo in his house)? Where will he put his collection of military hats/ sporting prints/antelope antlers
Attention Prue! These relocating days are crucial. Here's where you need to be paying close attention, for starters:
His spice collection
Admittedly if you are the husband of Prue Leith you're marginally less likely to have aspirations in the kitchen, but in our experience all men over 50 have spice rack pretensions.
Spice rack fixation comes immediately after fancy shirt phase and teeth overhaul, and just before grading up from the £10 barber chop to the ladies' salon haircut. The best way to manage it is to give him his own Lazy Susan, isolate it (back of the larder), and heavily police its use. Hide the star anise.
You can try as hard as you like to keep it all duck egg blue and fragrant, but he will manage to make himself a dingy man hole plastered with photographs of him rowing for his university/holding up a fish by the Spey. There will be amusing books in an unhygienic toppling stack, an ugly green plant, a loud hailer, a First World War shell, certainly a plunger. Again all you can do is make sure this dank spot is far removed from civilisation. And occasionally shove some lilies in there.
Memorabilia to men, junk to women because there's no other way of describing stuff that might include several cine cameras, clocks that don't work, maps, pieces of the Berlin wall, soapstone sculptures of elephants, pipe banners - and that's the indoors stuff. The outdoors stuff goes on and on. This is what the empty stable is for.
His pictures and objects
Really praying for your sake that he is not one of life's late onset Nicky Haslams. If Playfair has acquired the interiors bug, then the only answer is to lie through your teeth, Prue. The grey paint is 80 per cent cheaper. The cushions were free. The pastel of Kilimanjaro at dawn is too heavy for the wall. All his stuff got lost in a van fire on the way from the next door village.
The boot room
In your current world - orderly rows of boots and coats and waterproof hats - genuinely a bootroom. He will be unable to resist the urge to colonise the space and make it into a general storage area for his fishing tackle, some useful rope, dog biscuits, badminton nets, barbecue bits, golf clubs and anything that reminds him of outdoors, not just outdoor clothing. We haven't even got on to the bedroom yet. Oh dear.