SPENDING 20 minutes with my head stuck inside a freezer was not the ideal way to pass a rainy Sunday morning.

It wasn’t just the frozen turkey dinosaurs trying to force their way into my ears, or the remains of one of Mrs Hextol’s sublime chicken jalfrezis tickling my taste buds. It was the fact that my glasses were icing up in the sub-zero temperatures.

The bizarre ritual was the latest episode in the new kitchen at Hextol Towers saga, as I was required to register the serial number of assorted appliances to activate the guarantees.

For some reason, the freezer manufacturer chose to put the serial number plate deep inside one of the drawers, where it was impossible to see without inserting my head.

To make matters worse, the serial number was some 22 digits long, and written in the tiniest typeface known to man.

I eventually managed to scribble it down with frostbitten fingers, and then went through a similar pantomime when trying to discover where the under bench fridge serial number was.

I was on the verge of pulling it out of its housing when I spotted the number lurking behind a block of cheese – it too was many digits long, more than enough to identify the unit even if every single person on the planet and their dogs had one.

It was slightly less chilly work, but then I had to turn my attention to the chimney hood, where I could find no serial number at all, and left the space blank on the online form.

However, all three came up as safely guaranteed, so I can rest easy in my bed for now.

Why we were not told to write the serial numbers before the devices were thrumming away with chilling efficiency is not clear, but it would have been a lot less stressful.

Similarly, wouldn’t it be a good thing if the kitchen installation package included a little light emulsioning, at least of the ceiling?

Applying a coat of brilliant white to the pinkish plaster would have been so much easier at that stage, than after it had been converted into a constellation of glittering LED lights that dazzle a decorator of my limited talents.

It would also have saved me from the wrath of Mrs Hextol when I inadvertently sprinkled her new worktops and ceramic hob with a fine spray of paint globules which somehow escaped the dust sheets I had put down.

The new kitchen is taking some getting used to, for nothing is where it used to be. The cupboard which used to contain all the breakfast cereals is now the fridge, and the eye-level oven occupies the space where the fridge used to be.

I have yet to find where the best plates have been secreted, and have no idea where the tea towels are, which at least gets me out of the washing up.

Mrs Hextol is an expert at hiding things away; so good in fact that we have never found the two Bellingham Middle School jumpers she bought in 1984 and put to one side for when the lads grew into them.

When we were clearing the kitchen ready for demolition, she moved her hairdressing box from under the sink and took it to a place of safety so secure that she has spent much of the last week looking for them.

This is bad news for me, for Mrs Hextol has been cutting my hair since I was 16.

That last time I went for a haircut at the barbers, it cost me half a crown for a short back and sides, and a liberal sousing of hair tonic which left my hair as stiff as a Brillo pad for many days afterwards.

Mrs Hextol trained as a hairdresser, going to college in Manchester for day release courses in perming and how to chat with customers about their holidays.

She was an adept pupil, and was soon cutting the hair of most members of the family in a wide variety of styles.

And the service has continued to this day, although since the ancient father in law passed away, I believe I am her last remaining client.

However, I am not entirely sure that all her many talents were learned at college, as when the clippers go down, she brushes away any stray hairs from my person with the yard brush from out of the kitchen cupboard – it’s perhaps because I don’t give her a tip.