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’ll get the keys in a couple of weeks, sir, trust me” is enough to turn anyone to the bottle, yet millions of us do it and, worse still, do it again and again.
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 homeowners who have settled on improving their properties rather than moving on.
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 even before the first 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.
Anyone who has had extensive building work carried out on their home will know that countless trips to the local tip are mandatory, as you realise that de-cluttering is the only way you will survive the inevitable disruption that comes with wanting a bigger and better place in which to live.
It is at that point you realise just how much unnecessary stuff you own and that you are going to need a really big shed should you want to keep any of it. 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 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.
Once in my stride I discovered that throwing out tat can be pretty cathartic especially when it comes to my unrivalled collection of business cards, some dating back to a time when a Twitter handle referred to something found only in a budgie’s cage.
We have all taken a card from someone with whom we have no intention of contacting again but it was discovering that I had kept the details of the owner of a salmon smokery from the West coast of Ireland that I realised I had problems.
I may not have filed for divorce or upped sticks for the umpteenth time but all that filling of bin liners means I am now in need of a stiff drink.