Like a lot of Lymington at the moment, our house has a ‘not yet finished’ look to parts of it. You know what it’s like, watch too many Grand Overdrafts type programmes and you instinctively feel you have to make changes. Of course the changes we are making are very sensible, life-enhancing and add value to our property. Funny how if you keep telling yourself something it turns out to be true in the end. No, really.

So how to get rid of an unused and unusable area which used to be a coal and wood storage area between the house and garage in a way which might even have Kevin McCloud salivating? Obviously the right builder is everything. Get that wrong and you’re staring down the wrong end of a very uncomfortable visit to the bank. So you go with a recommendation from friends and comfort yourself that even though you are going to have to wait six months before anything even starts, it’ll be worth it because no good builder ever says “We can start next week mate”.

Having decided on the builder, small local family firm, and the price, at the top end of expectations, we finally get a starting date and our teabag consumption goes through the newly Veluxed roof. First phase is all over very quickly, followed by visits by plasterer and builder to complete snagging list. For those that don’t watch Channel 4 and More 4, a snagging list is a list of things the builder can’t initially figure out how to do or the householder assumed they didn’t have to mention needed doing. Enter tiler who it turns out also emigrated down south from near where we used to live and also has elderly relative challenges. I instantly like him.

One difference we had not anticipated, being rooted in the 5 minutes to all you need urban lifestyle, is buying stuff. The nearest big shopping centres are Southampton or Bournemouth, both some distance away. What this means is that you have to plan ahead and take half a day just to go to M&S for anything other than food and underwear (new M&S food and undies store just opened in Lymington, you could hear the huge collective sigh of relief from south of the High Street). Whilst the Internet has been a godsend, there are some things you really need to see, like when buying tiles for the floor. In more rural areas you get used to seeing a lot of diversification out of necessity, but it still came as a bit of a surprise when the tiler told us to visit a nearby farm for tiles. We dutifully went with my visiting mother in tow, literally turned left and drove around the back of the cowshed to find Gallo Ceramics next to another unit selling bespoke wooden buildings. Had we gone straight on past the cowshed, we could have bought some carpet or a bike. May have lacked the polished marble effect floors of some shopping centres, but I really liked it.

Hopefully by next week sometime, the tiler will have come and gone and we will have a ‘space’ to finish decorating. This leaves us with the most fraught issue of them all. What do we call it? It’s sort of a conservatory except it has a tiled, pitched roof and two brick walls. We could call it a garden room but that is a tad pretentious for one of us. I fancied buying one of those tiny orange trees from a garden centre and calling it the Orangery, but the cat wasn’t keen. There’s bound to be a specific term for it, probably Italian. I could watch some more property design programmes, but that’s how we got here to start with.