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I'm living like a 'lord of the manor'

For Gregg Quixley (above), his home is virtually his castle. The South African supply teacher rents a room in a mansion for a mere pound;150 a month. It makes him feel like a "lord of the manor", he says.

These lodgings are a long way from his first experiences of London living.

"When I was doing supply in a school in Wimbledon, I had digs in Wimbledon Park, renting through an estate agency with three other teachers," he says.

"I was living in a box room and paying pound;400 a month."

Mr Quixley, 31, teaches English and PE at the Salvatorian College in Wealdstone, north-west London. "I read an article in The TES about Camelot (a property management scheme) in November 2002. At that time they charged pound;75 a month."

He now pays pound;150 a month for a big room with space for his king-size bed. There are 35 more bedrooms in the home in leafy north London. It is set in a well-heeled area and there is a cricket pitch nearby.

"It's really quiet," says Mr Quixley. "It's in zone four, but it could be in the countryside. This is a wonderful opportunity to stay in a Victorian mansion, which I would never be able to afford. It has a touch of Bohemian extravagance - I'm lord of the manor for a while. I like to travel and here I have a no-worries set-up. And I can leave by giving just one month's notice."

He concedes that it is an unusual choice, but as a 6ft 3in rugby player, he says: "I am used to living in a violent society. I don't feel threatened, but living somewhere like this would not suit everybody - it's not for timid types. I told my pupils that I live in a mansion, but they don't believe me. They think teachers are supposed to live somewhere like Wembley or Harlesden."

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