The seasons change and hurricanes approach.
I am outside my dwelling in the posh end of Thame doing something very manly.
I am sploshing paint all over the side of our house and feeling very proud of myself as I stand atop my stepladder.
My real ladder left me when I was little.
I am having a rather lovely time, happily spraying paint in almost perfectly random directions.
I have never really mastered DIY.
Ever since the first shelf I put up fell down with a mighty crash inside fifteen minutes, weighed down by the new dinner service my mother-in-law had given us, my DIY capabilities have frequently been questioned – slightly unfairly in my book.
But we have new neighbours you see, and every time I go out they are coming in with pots of paint and bits for the garden.
There are faint drilling noises and evidence of new turf, all of which puts pressure on me to do something in my own house.
So here I am up my ladder when my new neighbour pops out to see what I am doing.
We chat for a few minutes and I can see that she is very impressed by my macho status.
Not only am I up here painting, I am wearing cargo trousers with screwdrivers in the pockets AND I have a pencil behind my ear.
Step aside Nick Knowles, know your place.
As we chat, a slight breeze picks up and her front door blows shut.
“Have you got a key?” I ask.
“Um no, but the back door is open,” she says.
I look at the locked side-gate.
If only there was some way to get over it.
Oh. I have a ladder.
I move it to the gate and with a wobble I hook my leg over the top.
The bar I need to reach with my front foot is too low and I land astride the gate, crushing my aspirations.
I am stuck but I don’t let on and with a twist of my athletic torso I climb back.
I step down and let her try for herself.
This is even less successful which makes me feel a bit better.
I have an idea.
I go back to my side of the fence and fetch my big ladder.
Then I climb it on my side, reach and get the stepladder and attempt an Inspector Gadget style traverse of the void.
I am stuck again, one foot on each wobbling ladder.
I smile sweetly as the seemingly locked door opens and my neighbour looks out.
“Oh, sorry, next door had a key after all,” she smiles, thanking me profusely before abandoning me.
At which point Mrs Thamensian comes home, shakes her head and goes inside without a word.
I can see your house from up here.