‘The colour of this kitchen is inspired by a blend of heather, bracken and the mountains of the Isle of Skye,’ says the brochure.
‘Oh, sweet Lord,’ I think. ‘I just want a kitchen.’
Five months into the renovation and my fondest wish is simply for it all to be over before Christmas. But for that to happen I must stop browsing endless catalogues making preposterous claims about MDF units evoking the magic of the Isle of Skye and order a kitchen from the only place that doesn’t threaten to bankrupt me.
I end up in a trade joinery centre where the gamekeeper has a mate, and the keeper stands behind this mate as the mate works up a quote on his screen, and all the while the keeper is saying, in his soft West Country accent that is, disconcertingly, both friendly and sinister at the same time: ‘I want to see that come down a bit or I won’t be happy.’
And by the time the quote does come down to what passes for very reasonable, I am convinced the kitchen guy is worried that if he doesn’t quote me happy, the keeper will get his gun out of the Defender (fine, so he hasn’t brought the gun in the Defender because you can’t leave a gun in a car unattended, but you know what I mean, the gun is somewhere).
I say nothing. I am delighted. I have gone from being quoted up to £6,000 by a range of stores, including one that I discover has been featured on Rip-off Britain, to securing a quote of £3k, even if this is by threatening to shoot the kitchen supply centre manager. After just half an hour of deliberating over slabs of fake granite named after districts of east London, and sample cupboard doors the colour of Scottish islands, I am the proud owner of some chipboard carcases and laminate slate-effect worktops.