Ah, autumn. Season of mists and mellow fruitfulness. The heating bills go up and the TV guide fills with period dramas.
Worst of all, in our house, the seasonal return to indoor life triggers a flurry of home improvements.
‘I’ve finally fixed the loo seat’, my husband announces, emerging from the smallest room with a spanner and smug expression.
‘It gave up under excessive strain.’
‘Where is he going with this?’ I ask myself.
As usual he has comments to make on my parking, but not in the way I was expecting.
‘The seat hinge can only cope when you reverse into position. You’ve been parallel parking, as it were.’
Meanwhile, my sister is in negotiations regarding a self-assembly bike shed. It has been sitting unopened in the garden so long it has become a water feature.
‘You can’t just chuck it together like flat pack furniture!’ her husband protests, wheeling his muddy bike into the hallway.
‘Why did you buy it then?’ she asks and suggests using the shed as firewood. But to junk it would be a negation of his manhood. Next time I visit she has turned it into a rockery.
A depressing 61 per cent of British households live with an unfinished DIY project. And as barbecues and festivals relinquish their claims on our weekends, these projects will have us in their thrall, laying waste to domestic harmony while offering no hope of completion.
We can’t stop the nights getting darker or the thermostat dipping, but we can re-assert control over how we spend our free time. Let us, the British public, harness our newfound post-Olympics hutzpah and say no to DIY! No to arguing in B&Q! No to Heath Robinson remedies that involve reversing bare-bottomed at a precision angle on to pre-war water chambers!
Let us either get in a man to do it or do without. Instead of dithering between magnolia and taupe wallpaper samples, let’s take the kids out blackberrying, bird-spotting, or surfing.
And when will this liberating regime start? This weekend of course – just as soon as we’ve fashioned a handy rack for the wetsuit boots.