Dear The Maisonettes

My friend Tony Shoesmith is looking for a long term tenancy on a bungalow in Birmingham and was most interested in discovering if there were any single storey properties similar to the permanent address - you’ve got it for always - you live alone in, rent free on Heartache Avenue, that you got the hard way (presumably a reference to a rigorous screening procedure).

He is is slightly concerned however about the following points:

(1) Despite the landlord's generous philanthropy, there's always room to let 'cause nobody goes there, hinting the cardiac muscle pang monikered boulevard to be an undesirable neighbourhood, a hypothesis reinforced by your stating that this is a street where love is gone.

(2) Once again, given the freeholder’s altruism, Tony is suspicious that there is nothing to pay here given that council tax, utilities and cosmetic repairs are traditionally the responsibility of the lessee.

(3) ''There's no escape'', suggesting a gated cul-de-sac, although the fact that ''they tell you'' this as opposed to you finding it out for yourself after such a perpetual residency is rather perplexing. On the plus side, such a segregated enclosure may suggest, contrary to, if you will pardon the pun, 'reservations' expressed in point (1), that it is very safe indeed

Tony is very keen to have these issues 'addressed' before a possible viewing, and is delighted to confirm that having dropped his shopping coming out of Waitrose yesterday and crushing his globe artichokes he does have price of one broken heart.


Derek Philpott


Dear Mr. Philpott

Re: Heartache Avenue

Many thanks for the inquiry on behalf of your friend, Mr. Shoesmith. Whilst I appreciate that, at first glance, the opportunity to move into a highly exclusive area such as this might seem like a “no brainer” to use the modern vernacular, I feel it falls to me to point out one or two minor caveats Mr. Shoesmith should be aware of.

(1) Although the property is indeed rent free (no money, no credit cards), a ticket to nowhere on Virgin Cross Country, even if you book in advance through Trainline, can be costly. Mr. Shoesmith might find the expense of a daily commute or even the occasional visit to friends and relatives somewhat prohibitive.

(2) I think your friend may have taken the suggestion that there is “no escape” a tad too literally. “No escape” in this instance, refers to there being no escape from the consequences of choosing to live alone. Of course, I understand that there are those who might relish the seclusion, adopting a kind of “leave me alone ‘cos I’m here where I belong” mentality, and I do realize that this might be the just the solitude Mr. Shoesmith is looking for. I’m simply saying that this type of insularity is not temporary. Once achieved, he’s got it for always.

I should add that we did have a problem with squatters in 2005 but apart from a bunch of young ne’erdowells milling about with their baseball hats on sideways, it was nothing more than a minor skirmish. We shooed them along with a minimum of fuss and they disappeared without trace. We received generous financial compensation for our trouble and I’m pleased to say that The Avenue is now entirely grime free.

Should Mr. Shoesmith choose to pay us a visit to gather some useful local knowledge, he could do worse than book in at the Heartbreak Hotel which is down at the end of Lonely Street.

I hope this has helped answer some of your queries.

Yours sincerely

A True Resident (of Heartache Avenue)


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