When I was able to travel a bit more freely, particularly to the US, it was fun watching the tv programmes involving house make overs. There are hundreds of these shows on all day every day if you stick to the ‘home’ channels. Fascinating stuff – especially noting what the families feel are absolute essentials in any project. We asre pretty used to always going upstairs to sleep – the downstairs is always our eating, hanging out, and socialising areas. In the US, the wife (and generally the boss on these shows . . . ) go really mad if the programme host dares to show them a property without the master suite downstairs and even more angst is raised if there’s no basement. Again, very few British properties offer one and they’re generally ghastly dark, damp spider infested hell holes! The decorating style was also loud – big sofas, huge islands in their already gargantuan kitchens. Interesting to note though how big everything had to be, except the garden – or the yard as they call it.