This is, as you can probably imagine, extremely unusual. Normally I never have any visitors round at all, but today I have four, and what's more they're staying the night.
I should point out that one of the visitors is my niece, and she's stayed the night before. Another is her best friend, and they've known each other since primary school. But two of the girls I've never met before today, so goodness knows what they're making of being dragged round to Uncle DG's house for an overnight stay.
The first I knew of this East Anglian incursion was over Christmas while I was staying with my family. I'd been in Norfolk for five days, but only in the last ten minutes was the subject of this particular weekend brought up. My niece and her best friend were planning to attend a music event in North Greenwich, and it finished rather late, and maybe it would be possible for them to crash on my floor rather than have to book some hideously expensive hotel. Obviously, sure.
Things then went rather quiet until last week, when it seemed pertinent to check the details of this visit rather more carefully. Trains had been booked, apparently, arriving in town at lunchtime on Saturday and heading home about 24 hours later.And two other girls were coming too, and that would be alright wouldn't it, they only needed space enough to unfurl a sleeping bag. Ah, OK.
A final check this week revealed an additional complication regarding sleeping bags, because they're not the best thing to take to a major arena event, so would it be OK if everyone unloaded their luggage on the way down thank you very much. And that was fine, I wasn't planning to do very much with my Saturday except for cleaning the flat, so obviously I could rendezvous in Stratford and lug one, two, three, four bags home on the bus.
Yesterday, standing on the platform as the Norwich train rolled in, I discovered there weren't only four girls attending the event, there were more than a dozen. The others weren't ever coming home with me, but this was clearly a major weekend out for the schoolgirl contingent. The posse eyed me up and down - some middle-aged bloke who happened to be related to one of their number - in the same way I might have done when I was seventeen. And then they careered off, in entirely the wrong direction, and I tagged along behind.
The encounter was over rather quickly, terminating as soon as the four girls realised they could pass their various bags over to me. And away they dashed, engrossed in the possibility that Norfolk's finest might win the imminent 'Open Mic' competition, and OK yeah I'd see them later.
And now there are four teenage girls in my bedroom. They're utilising a combination of mattresses, pillows, sleeping bags and floors, but a string of giggles suggests they haven't quite got round to sleeping yet. Meanwhile I'm on the floor in my spare room, ousted for the night, with a sheet across the window because nobody's ever thought to hang curtains. It feels most unusual.
I'm having to come to terms with the fact that my bathroom is no longer my own. The door is shut, which it never normally needs to be, and come the morning I may not be able to fight my way in for some time. I hope they're OK with the fact I don't have a shower, and aren't gasping in horror at the paltry range of non-designer toiletries lined up along my bath.
A tupperware box has appeared in my fridge, and there are various winter boots lined up by the door. I realise I have no idea what time the girls might wake up, and whether they'll want to hang around or else escape at the earliest possible opportunity. I hope they like the bits and pieces I've sourced for a potential breakfast, but if not I can work my way through the extras as the week goes on.
I'll get used to the incursion, in the short time they're here, and I might even enjoy having company around. But I've become so accustomed to living alone that the very idea of sharing space is something I usually try hard to avoid. Four visitors crossing the threshold of DG Towers is already way above my average annual total, and it's only January.
I doubt I'll be getting the best night's sleep, although I am glad to be of service and I know my help has been appreciated. Perhaps I might even learn to encourage people to come round more often, be that long distance stays or a quick visit from someone closer by. But I will still be secretly pleased later today when I get my bedroom back, and my bathroom back, and my fridge back, and my independence back. Night all.