It is well known that moving house is one of the most stressful things you can do – more so than divorce, bankruptcy or watching your team get relegated.
The act of committing oneself to 25 years of mortgage payments and being caught up in an endless chain, punctuated by hollow promises such as ‘you will get the keys in a couple of weeks sir, trust me’ are enough to turn anyone to the bottle.
But I would suggest there should be another experience added to the ‘most stressful’ list and that is getting ready for the builders.
For the past few weeks our home has been a hub of hurried, nervous energy as we get ready for the flask-carrying, steel toecap-wearing chaps who will transform our home into a 21st Century, timber-clad idyll.
After months, years even, of procrastination, we have finally followed the lead of a seemingly increasing number of home owners who have settled on improving their properties rather than moving.
Once you set your mind on getting the builders in, it becomes a pretty exciting prospect until you realise that you have plenty of work ahead of you before a wall is knocked through or a spade is shoved into the ground.
Since the turn of the year my conscience, otherwise known as Mrs Tapp, had regularly ‘reminded’ me that ‘we’ had lots to do before the scaffolding went up.
My head was finally removed from the sand last Sunday, two days before our very own D-Day, much to the annoyance of the number one decision maker in our house.
Our shed now houses slow cookers, casserole dishes and pans which are too big for our makeshift kitchen, a three-way sandwich maker, a coffee machine and enough soft toys to rival the collection at Hamleys.
But we did sling out of plenty of surplus stuff, giving me the opportunity of going to the tip, a place I enjoy visiting as it feeds my fantasy that I am a real man.
Being on nodding terms with a gum-chewing, hard-hatted council worker is the closest that guys like me get to masculinity, such is our aversion to gymnasiums or extreme sports.