Amazement that we’d done it, combined with heat and hugeness meant that I, at any rate, did very little to help in those early days. It became a bit of a game to those I used to think loved me to see just how long it would take me to get up the front stairs, and how often I’d have to stop on the way. In the extraordinary heat we opened the oak front doors and the big back door and managed a slight breeze: the surveyor had warned us that most of the windows were screwed shut, and we had laughed at such charming practicality. No longer – it was a blinding nuisance when what we wanted was to fling wide all doors and windows and air and cool the place. Further, if we’d thought about it, we’d have seen there was perhaps a reason for such assiduous rattle-proofing. (Note I don’t call it ‘draught proofing’ – it wasn’t.) As we slowly cleaned and unpacked, and Eeyore – to be fair – worked like a dog while I didn’t, we oohed and aahed at the acres of woodchip on the hugely high walls. We patted the ancient obligatory Aga fondly; we moved our furniture to cover the worst areas of bleached carpet where generations of dogs had thrown up; we bought ladders long enough to replace lightbulbs way up almost out of sight on dirty ceilings.