If you are going to have a new kitchen fitted, don’t do it in November. At the time of writing, Hextol Towers is a riot of whirring jigsaws, screeching drills, clattering hammers and swirling sawdust all played out to the counterpoint of the hysterical barking of the dog.

Add to that the intoxicating whiff of powerful glue and the Arctic blast coming in through the open front door and the atmosphere is truly surreal.

Getting a new kitchen has been high on Mrs Hextol’s wish list for many years now, but as we sit huddled in the conservatory fighting for space with boxes crammed with displaced utensils and other impedimenta, she actually said: “I almost wish I hadn’t wowed on for a new kitchen now.”

Her normally immaculate house has sullied by the heavy tread of workmen wandering in and out, usually accompanied by inevitable flurries of wet autumn leaves, and a thick patina of dust is building up on her pristine surfaces.

The workmen have in fact been very diligent and obliging and very tolerant of having Mrs Hextol two feet behind them with dustpan and brush sweeping up debris before it hits the deck.

However, one plumber did get the thick end of her tongue when he had the temerity to rush upstairs to prevent a possible flood from the hot water tank without first removing his shoes.

We have currently been without a functioning kitchen for some 10 days and the wheeze of transferring the microwave, kettle, air fryer, toaster fridge freezer and other electricity guzzlers into the conservatory has not been without its problems.

With insufficient powerpoints in the conservatory to accommodate all these devices, we brought in the four socket extension that normally services the Christmas lights.

And when Mrs Hextol was making the tea one night with microwave, fryer and kettle all going at full blast, the conservatory was suddenly suffused with the smell of burning plastic before everything abruptly stopped working.

The extension plug wasn’t exactly glowing but it was too hot to touch for many minutes, and we feared that all the appliances would have been rendered hors de combat too by the many millions of volts which appeared to have surged through them.

Happily, all appeared to have survived unscathed – unlike the blackened extension cable which is currently lying amongst the other old kitchen flotsam and jetsam in the garden awaiting collection.

The constant comings and goings of strangers with predominantly Wearside accents has all proved a little bit too much for the dog.

Having barked herself into a state of near collapse, she was consigned panting to the back seat of my ancient jalopy to calm down for a while.

Mrs Hextol kept popping out to make sure she was OK, and when the workmen had gone, it became abundantly clear that she had absolutely no intention of leaving the calm of the car to return to the hurly burly of the household.

We asked her to come out, then cajoled her and finally ordered her to debouch, but she just feigned deafness and snuggled further into the cosy nest she had made for herself from sheets and blankets. It was only when I went back into the house and raided the biscuit tin that she crawled out with extreme reluctance, lured by a crumbled Aldi Digestive.

There has been the odd hiccup – an electrician with an uncanny resemblance to Novak Djokovic had to be persuaded to come back to give us a power supply to the fridge freezer, and when he had disappeared, we discovered there was no power to the heating boiler either on a bitterly cold night.

I had to hasten outside to recapture his colleagues from their van as they were about to drive away, and they were fortunately able to save the day.

As work progresses, it has become clear that the new kitchen will eventually be a vast improvement on the old one. Instead of a single malfunctioning strip light down the middle, the ceiling now sparkles with a constellation of glittering spotlights, which come on instantly rather than having to wait for the old one to finish debating with itself whether to come on or not.

It is also a pleasure to be able to fill the kettle without a battle with a tap requiring the power of Sylvester Stallone to persuade it to part with more than a mere dribble of H2O.