Real life

Are my horses conspiring against me?

11 November 2017 9:00 am

When it comes to horses, troubles come in multitudes. Multitudes of lame legs. Gracie, the hunter pony, kicked things off…

The poetry of kitchens

4 November 2017 9:00 am

‘The colour of this kitchen is inspired by a blend of heather, bracken and the mountains of the Isle of…

How to get builders to do what you want

28 October 2017 9:00 am

The Albanian builders have started a turf war in my kitchen. The hostilities broke out suddenly. One minute the builders…

Beware the hit-and-run skip lorry

21 October 2017 9:00 am

Although it seemed unlikely, I did not immediately dismiss the possibility of a hit and run skip lorry. The witness…

Build a bonfire, build a bonfire, put Melissa on the top?

14 October 2017 9:00 am

They are building the bonfire already. In the dip where winter flooding sometimes creates a small lake, the wood and…

The painful legacy of the builder boyfriend

7 October 2017 9:00 am

How reassuringly like old times it is, going to a God-forsaken retail park with Stefano. We mooch about the DIY…

What it cost me to stay with British Gas

30 September 2017 9:00 am

Assuming someone had moved house before, and put a new boiler in their new house, while remaining a customer of…

BT and the seventh circle of junk-mail hell

23 September 2017 9:00 am

BT have just put the phone down on me for asking them to stop sending me junk mail, which is…

The stealth campaign to ban horse-riding

16 September 2017 9:00 am

Stefano and his boys got to work with gusto and within a few days the upstairs of my house started…

Why they call me Mad Melissa

9 September 2017 9:00 am

Stefano the Albanian turned up in a brand new Audi off-roader, cutting quite the dash. He looked older, with some…

The Lib Dem march for pettifogging power

2 September 2017 9:00 am

My friendly neighbourhood Lib Dems have put some campaign literature through my door. In a covering note, they intimate that…

My horse has no taste for the high life

26 August 2017 9:00 am

Darcy is high-maintenance, so I decided to leave her in the posh livery yard, with its luxuriant shavings beds and…

My Village is a Liberal Democratic nightmare

19 August 2017 9:00 am

Easier by far to load up my horses and move them to the next village than try to fight the…

The builder boyfriend has gone – again

12 August 2017 9:00 am

Like Steve McQueen gone slightly to seed, the builder boyfriend strode off into the sunset. Nothing becomes him so much…

Is this Surrey or Rorke’s Drift?

5 August 2017 9:00 am

‘This situation is Rorke’s Drift,’ said the builder boyfriend, after our proposed renovations were objected to at the parish council’s…

I nearly have a house in the country, but not quite

29 July 2017 9:00 am

Quite stoically, I was mountaineering on my hands and knees over a sea of rubble to get to the temporary…

My journey to hell with Sky TV

22 July 2017 9:00 am

Two months after I cancelled Sky, a strange letter arrived in the post. ‘We are writing to you because we…

Is this Britain’s bossiest village?

15 July 2017 9:00 am

‘What do you think it means?’ I asked the builder boyfriend as we stood in front of the sign. A…

When the builder boyfriend works late, I have to hunt for food alone, like a lioness

8 July 2017 9:00 am

Last night, I had dinner at the M25 services. I don’t mean I stopped for a break mid-journey. I mean…

Am I the only non-Lib Dem in the village?

1 July 2017 9:00 am

Since moving to my dream home in the country a month ago, I’ve only had to fight a parking dispute,…

I’m being terrorised by a Surrey family of optometrists

24 June 2017 9:00 am

All had gone suspiciously quiet down our little track on the village green, and we had begun to think we…

There’s no escape from mindfulness

17 June 2017 9:00 am

And so, as it must, the pilgrimage to find a local GP surgery begins. This is a great British tradition,…

There’s no escape from council bureaucracy — even in paradise

10 June 2017 9:00 am

‘I’m afraid you’ve made a mistake with my council tax,’ I said to the lady at Guildford Borough Council. ‘Right,’…

Tax it, Sorn it or start speaking Welsh

3 June 2017 9:00 am

‘You’re probably excited about your new service and keen to start using it as soon as you can,’ said the…

To cone or not to cone?

27 May 2017 9:00 am

After spending the day unblocking the gutters and drains in the pouring rain, he wasn’t in the mood for a…