As I, one of that increasingly rare species of first-time buyer (FTB), embark upon the mythical process of buying a house I feel like I’m about to cross the Atlantic in an egg cup. On my way I shall spy all manner of other vessels, from majestic cruise liners – as seen in COUNTRY LIFE – towering above me to homely fishing trawlers – pretty cottages in the west country – motoring by, but ultimately I shall be making the journey alone, which is an exiting but scary thought.

Reading around the market, as I now feel bound to do whilst dipping my toe in these unfamilar waters, I find that although I am but a small craft, I could hold the fortunes of those much more vast than myself in my hands.

‘First-time buyers are key to market’ and ‘Affordability stretched: market could slow’ are typical headlines to an article which goes on to profess that if us FTBs don’t keep taking the plunge to keep the market moving, then the market risks stagnation as a result. What a responsibility!

But with the Government’s latest figures putting the average price of a house at around £200,000, over six times the national average wage, I can’t say I blame those who would rather wait and see whether things even up a little in coming months, as some are predicting.

However, I am determined, and I am equipped with a PLAN. Much of which, admittedly, involves subsisting on oatcakes and saying no to invitations to drinks, but I do now have a plan. As well as my eye on a place which should be available next year, by which time I may have managed to save a little in the bank.

Somewhere between my early and late twenties I appear to have seamlessly graduated from ‘girl bored out of her mind at being regaled with intimate details of older friend’s house purchase over supper’, to ‘girl in restaurant (eating only the soup, naturally) boring others about her prospective house purchase’. How on earth did that happen?

And a common symptom of house-purchase fever is also, obviously, browsing the web for property and now I find myself in a terrible dilemma. In my mind’s eye I have already jumped from aspirant owner of a tiny flat round the corner from Tate Britain (also known as the PLAN) to property baron with a B&B empire on the Isle of Skye. It seems I can buy two, yes two, cottages, both with stunning sea views, on Skye for the same price as my little place in town. The first cottage will be paid for by the income from the second, and look at all that space! What’s an FTB, particularly this FTB who has harboured notions of living in the Western Isles for years, to do?

Is there really any competition? I mean, I know Tate Britain is fairly massive, but the sea views there tend to come courtesy of JM Turner, rather than from the front window. Now all I need is that all-important book deal so I can work from home, and dinner parties in central London will have to find another property bore!