Do you make sure your house is maintained? I’d advise against it.

The people who installed cable for our TV and internet made a bit of a mess of our admittedly decrepit old drive. I decided to have it relaid, and found some contractors who did a very good job. Unfortunately, they accidentally disconnected the TV cable in the process.

Shortly afterwards, a landscaping firm built us a beautiful patio, but in doing so they undermined the garden fence, which fell down. They also left behind lots of rubbish which I had to have removed from the back garden. I employed a rubbish clearance man who left the back garden spotless. However, his truck leaked oil on the new drive.

While I was having a new fence, I thought it worth removing some overgrown trees. The tree surgeons were thorough in grinding away tree stumps, but lost control of their grinder and cut through next door’s electric mains cable.

Which explains why I looked up at the six foot length of gutter dangling from our house eaves and thought: ‘Perhaps I’ll fix it myself.’ I thought: “It’s probably a screw pulled out and once I’ve assembled my bits and pieces it should only take ten minutes to repair.” I have a ladder, and I don’t experience vertigo, but I do suffer from cowardice, so I decided not to go up when it was windy.

While I was waiting for a calm day, what should happen, but a passing roofer spotted the offending item and offered to fix it there and then. Sure enough, it took him only ten minutes, but he told me the gutter had been brought down by the weight of sodden moss, and the rest of the gutters needed cleaning out. Which he could do, for a fee. Now, I don’t like to buy from callers at the door, but he was obviously genuine, so I asked him to go ahead. Woe was me, what did he find? Pieces of cement had fallen into the gutter beneath a chimney stack. Much sucking of teeth. “Your chimney stack,” he said, “needs re-pointing, reflashing and re-rendering.” We were now talking about big money. I thanked him very much, and said I’d obtain quotations from other roofing firms.

Sure enough, the people who gave estimates confirmed it needed doing, and I selected an established local firm for the job. Accessing the chimney stack was no problem at all. The roofers were able to erect their scaffolding on the flat roof of my garage. The chimney work was completed satisfactorily, and it was weeks and weeks before the garage roof started leaking where the scaffold poles had stood on it.

I had no intention of asking the same firm back again, so I employed a third set of roofers to replace the roofing felt. Job beautifully done.

Now, please excuse me. I must go out to my garage to replace the power socket which the roofers smashed. It should only take me ten minutes.