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After all the months, the years, of hoping and planning, it’s finally begun: our kitchen project. Bright and early they started this morning, first taking out the beloved magnolia, then storing the block pavers; then digging up and pruning the plants and excavating the foundations of the new extension and terrace.

The dogs think it’s paradise. When they have a chance to go out there in an occasional break in the work it’s like the’ve been built an adventure playground, a sort of doggy Disneyland for them.

So far, we’re all friends, and I’m anxious to remain this way especially given my past experiences of total breakdown in relationships, which ended up costing us huge amounts of money. That’s nothing sinister – even though the word “Psychobitch” has been bandied around to describe me – it’s just that we’re had the misfortune in the past to believe that contractors could and would actually do what they said they’d do. I’m hoping that this time will be different. I’m different too. My children are no longer tiny and I’m no longer anticipating moving to a different country and changing lifestyle. I’m a lot more sure of my ground than I was, put it like that.

We always used to joke that whenever the OH went away with work for a few days some home disaster would happen: we’d lose hot water or water entirely; there would be some disaster at school and all sorts of accusations flying around; a parent would have to be taken into hospital: that sort of thing. Well, this time the OH is away in Paris giving a seminar and I did worry superstitiously that something bad would happen. This time, however, I’d simply check myself, MsDD and the dogs into a hotel until the problem was solved. Why complicate life?