SOME little while ago, the ceiling in the Hextol Towers master bedroom sprang a leak.

The water wasn’t exactly gushing through like a Venezuelan waterfall, but the ingressing rain did make an unpleasant brown stain on my pristine brilliant white emulsion.

So, it was time once more for me to get the step ladders out of the garage, and poke my head into the most hated part of the building – the loft.

It is a dark and dismal place, full of stout beams above on which to crack the head, and flimsy plasterboard beneath through which fat and clumsy people can all too easily plummet and join a startled Mrs Hextol in the kitchen.

In my younger and more agile days, I was able to negotiate my way round the loft like a gibbon, swinging from the rafters with my feet planted firmly on the roof joists.

Indeed, we used to store all manner of impedimenta up there, from my 1960s record collection and the family tent to Christmas decorations and a 1970s stair carpet.

Then in a flurry of energy saving zeal, we had many feet of loft insulation piled in, doubtless saving lots of money, but robbing us of valuable storage space. The two-foot thick rolls of fibreglass also made it impossible to determine where the roof joists lay, so the loft became a no go area for one as accident prone and heavy footed as myself.

But the leak had to be located and dealt with, so I scrambled up the ladder armed with an electrical extension, a bedside lamp, and a tube of silicon hole filler.

I was expecting to see a murmuration of starlings rise up squawking from the yellow expanse of wadding and start swooping round the loft in a Red Arrows formation.

Birds have always enjoyed relatively easy access to the upper reaches of Hextol Towers by routes unknown, and I assumed the feathery fiends were to blame for the recent ingress of water.

However, there were no obvious signs of holes in the roof.

Even when I turned the light off, there were no tell-tale shafts of light piercing the gloom to indicate a hole.

I knew roughly where the water was coming through the ceiling, but the tiles and roofing felt above that area appeared from a distance to be sound, as did the insulation below it.

I decided to try to crawl a bit closer to the suspect area, but my knees were already screaming like Maria Sharapova, and the more I groped for a foothold, the more certain I became I was about to plunge into the bedroom below.

I stretched my arm as far as it would go, expecting to feel soggy insulation material under my fingers, but it was all as dry as a Bedouin’s washing when the khamsin blows.

I couldn’t see any holes in the tiles to fill with sealant or even a bit of my usual water repellent Blu-Tak, so I had to retire defeated.

I thought about ringing the insurance, or getting a roofer in, but parsimony overcame common sense, and I decided just to paint over the brown stain, and hope it would just go away.

This went on for a number of months.

The stain would reappear after heavy rain, followed soon after by my daubing with my trusty tub of Brilliant White.

Then came Storms Ciara and Dennis and the wet patch returned with a vengeance, occupying a considerably larger area than it had before.

So I finally rang the insurance company and spent many long minutes listening to Eine Kleine Nachtmusik as a chap dolefully told me I was in a massive queue, as the entire world was putting in claims after the ravages of the February weather bombs.

It was literally four days later when the never-ending tinkling of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart finally gave way to a human voice, which was soon clucking away with sympathy as I relayed my woes.

“You are definitely covered for the damage.

“But you may wish to get some quotes to ensure that your excess is less than the cost of repair,” she cooed.

I asked for recommendations from my mate Facebook, and a couple of days later, there was a man swarming over the roof to look at the damage.

A day or so later he was back, fitting a selection of new tiles for considerably less than the insurance excess.

I only wish I had enlisted the services of a roofer months ago!