My lovely house needed painting, like houses do. Well, old houses do - those of you with modern windows and modern doors will have no idea what I'm talking about. But my house was built in the 1830s, and has sash windows with original wobbly glass and a door that needs a strategic knee against it to turn the key.
The windows were flakey, and door bubbling a bit, so it was time to call in the painter. He took one look at the back of the house, stroked his chin, and muttered about it being a bit high. Three storeys, I concede, is a bit high. So it was time to phone the scaffolder who - to his credit - did exactly what he said he would do, just a day or so earlier.
Then the painter began his sanding, and stripping, and shaking his head - keeping his biggest frown for a bit of wood that goes along one side of the little extension to house the bathroom. It's rotten, he said, it will have to come off; you need a new one. I don't have the tools, he said, or the knowledge ...
So then my son-in-law came, with his hammers and strength and, with a yank and splattering of dust and the buzz of a few surprised bees, off came the bit of wood. And then, my son-in-law stroked his chin ... and shook his head ... and stroked his chin again.
You might have a problem, he said. I think a structural engineer should look at this.
I nodded, as if I might know what a structural engineer is.
Let me take photos, he said, I'll send them off to C, and he'll know the best thing to do.
I passed him the camera.
I wish I hadn't looked at the photos of a crumbly steel beam, that should be holding up my bathroom.
It might be fine, he said. It's not going to fall down immediately. And if it does need sorting out, they'll shore up the house and put a new one in - easy as pie. (Does he know how long it is since I last made a pie?)
In the cold light of day, this is an inconvenience - that's all it is. No one is hurt, or ill, or starving. No sons are marching off to war, no daughters deflowered. And the chances are high that all will be well for a long time - and I will be worm-food long before my bathroom falls off its trolley. But at two in the morning, when the wind blew and the rain battered my windows - that's when the house in my head ended up a heap of bricks in the garden.
So if anyone has techniques to stop me making the night-time mountains out of day time molehills, then please let me know.