WHAT is it with women that they need to change things that don’t really need changing?

We used to have a supremely comfortable three-piece suite in the living room at Hextol Towers, soft as a bale of thistledown, and with ample support for the back and arms.

Then Mrs Hextol decided we had to change it for something more modern, and we purchased another suite in royal purple, which has turned out to be the most uncomfortable set of furniture in Christendom.

I spend more time sitting on the floor than on the settee.

Mrs Hextol gave the original suite to her elderly father, and I used to go up and visit him on a regular basis, simply to loll on my old settee.

We have spent the last week or so ripping up carpets in two of the Hextol Tower bedrooms, just because they happen to have been down for a year or two.

Well, more like a decade or two – or perhaps three – but since the children left home, they have not been subjected to any particularly heavy traffic.

I remember the days when carpets came in lots of imaginative colourful patterns, some of which recreated the sort of swirling images you get if you press on your eyeballs a little too hard.

They were spectacularly hard wearing, and indeed, I don’t remember any new carpets being fitted in my family home before we were married.

Modern carpets seem to come only in beige – around 3,000 shades of universal drabness which I find hugely depressing.

The elderly carpets which Mrs Hextol had grown tired of were forerunners of the trend, and may well have been worth something on the Antiques Road Show, possibly in a section devoted to the dull.

“There’s nothing wrong with the carpets – I’m sure I have seen the very same ones in the drawing room at Wallington Hall,” I wailed. “Most of them are hidden under the bed or beneath the wardrobe, so what’s the point of paying a fortune for carpets that no-one will see?”

She retorted: “They are so old that the labels on the back are probably in Latin, and I’m just sick of the sight of them after all this time.”

My arguments were swept aside, and I was instructed to measure each room to supply data to feed to a carpet emporium in Hexham, where multiple bales of beige were on display.

A deal was done, but I was instructed to check all my measurements, none of which corresponded exactly to my original calculations.

When I telephoned in the amended measurements, the salesman was quite brave about it, and was reasonably sure there would be enough carpet to cover the exposed flooring.

The departure of the carpets was part of a Mrs Hextol master plan for the redesign of the upper reaches of Hextol Towers with one of the rooms undergoing conversion into a state-of-the-art office for me.

I have managed for many years without an office, so I was happy to go along with the change, despite the warning: “And don’t think you can get this office into the same sort of mess as your old desk at the Courant!”

While I am the world’s worst constructor of things, I can take things to bits like a good ‘un, and relished the task of ripping up the old carpets,

It was easier said than done, because before carpets could be shifted, assorted beds, chests of drawers, wardrobes and much other paraphernalia had to be removed, and accommodated elsewhere in the house.

Disaster struck when we tried to move a weighty wardrobe, for leaning drunkenly against it was the makeshift computer desk at which I have been composing this column since retirement.

As soon as the wardrobe moved, the desk folded up like a pack of cards, with a rending of wood, curses from me, and hysterical chortles from Mrs Hextol, who was festooned in wires, flashing lights and mysterious plugs of many shapes and sizes.

Shoehorning everything into temporary homes was quite a challenge, and trying to go to the loo with a wardrobe an inch in front of your nose did tend to impede the flow, but we survived somehow.

The carpet fitter did a wonderful job, and my new office is great – or it will be when we get someone to shave an inch or so off the door so we can get it closed over the thick new shagpile.