WELL I am pleased to report that the installation of new kitchen is finally complete and that life at Hextol Towers is slowly returning to as normal as it ever gets in this household.

We have spent the last couple of weeks living in our favourite part of the house, the conservatory, but life in the glasshouse did start to pall after a while.

There was no running water in the kitchen, which meant we had to fill the kettle from the tap in the downstairs toilet, but even more catastrophic was the fact the dishwasher was hors’ de combat too and we had to wash all our dirty dishes by hand.

That meant carrying the dishes upstairs in the washing up bowl, along with the Fairy liquid, and doing them in the bath, as the downstairs toilet sink was too small.

It was a tricky task, washing, draining and drying dirty dishes in such a way, and I didn’t always get it right, with Mrs Hextol horrified to find herself sharing a bath one night with multiple grains of leftover rice from what had been a very tasty microwaved curry.

How they got there I don’t know, but I still got the blame.

The last workman proper left on Monday although someone still has to come with a bag of plaster to smooth over a couple of holes which have appeared in the wall, and someone else is coming to take away the left over bits and pieces from the operation, which have piled up in an impressive heap in the front garden.

They could have taken the entire shooting match if it had been left up to me, but Mrs Hextol insisted that I spirit away a couple of lengths of spare worktop, a surplus-to-requirements cupboard door, a 10 foot long white plastic window sill and assorted bits of trimmings and fol-de-rols “in case they come in handy”.

As I am the world’s least competent person when it comes to DIY and anything involving sharp tools and such like I questioned the acquisition, but still found myself carrying all this unwanted gear to the garage, to jostle for space with half bags of cement, empty Calor gas bottles and spare headlight bulbs for cars we no longer own.

It’s already difficult to keep your feet in the garage, as tricycles hoarded for the grandchildren have an annoying habit of tripping up the unwary, and there’s always a risk of being hooked through the eyelid by a stray hook dangling unseen from a discarded fishing rod.

However, space has been at even more of premium while the kitchen was being installed, as we have somehow shoehorned in items of conservatory furniture, and some 15 crates of “essentials” salvaged from the old kitchen

This included foodstuffs of questionable vintage, some of which were so old that they didn’t even have use by dates on them.

Of those that did, 1994 was the oldest we came across, on a tub of Vaseline which still seemed perfectly serviceable, and there was some Kenyan coffee from 1997, and the ingredients for a pan of broth from 2001.

All eventually went into the bin, but with some reluctance on Mrs Hextol’s part as she is the ultimate hoarder. I also came across two very heavy plastic boxes which contained transformers from every computer game our boys ever owned – the youngest boy is 38 and hardly ever plays with his Commodore 64 these days.

There were also two Jacobs Cream Cracker boxes containing about a dozen brightly coloured Tupperware egg cups also well over 30 years old.

The boxes were all emptied, and Mrs Hextol went into immediate panic mode, as despite her careful planning and consultations with the designers, there seemed to be a lot more items than we had space for even with the multitude of cavernous new cupboards at our disposal.

There are only the two of us in the house now, but Mrs Hextol still has enough pots and pans, crockery and cutlery and other kitchen items to cater for the entire crowd attending the next home game at Newcastle United’s St James’s Park should they decide to drop in for tea and scones to discuss the game at any point.

We have enough gravy boats to send a flotilla across the Atlantic should the need arise, along with assorted other utensils inherited from grandparents and others she simply hasn’t got the heart to throw away.