We’re at that point in the middle of a building project when we wish we’d never started. I shouldn’t complain. A friend of ours has spent 10 months confined, with the rest of his family and a gas ring, to a single room, as an extension is added. We’ve only had to go a month without functional use of our basement. But we’re becoming impatient to repossess the nether parts, whose contents have risen like a wave of volcanic magma and spread throughout the house.

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Inconvenience on this scale doesn’t come cheap. I’ve just bought a small sofa that can now, due to the reorganisation, squeeze its tubby way into my study. When installed, I shall be able to read with the focus so manifest in occupants of the London Library’s leather chairs and wake refreshed.

The sweet mahogany morsel that I found on eBay went for just over half what it will cost to repaint the front door. Obviously, we’ve got our priorities wrong. We should give up the house, live in a tent and surround ourselves with Edwardian love seats, on the grounds that they must go up in price some time. To keep warm, we could break up some of the furniture and throw it on the fire.

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