I am old. Old, old, old. I have done what I swore I would never do and spent a weekend going shopping for furniture. Back in the office on Monday I can pretend to be young, free and silly. They don't know the shameful truth about stalking round a department store thinking "Gosh that anglepoise lamp would look great next to the bookshelves".

Houseproud is not an adjective you would sling in my direction. My attitude to tidiness is best defined as: as long as the mess is out of sight then my mother won't scream when she comes round. Secretly, however, I yearn to be a sophisticated minimalist who comes home to an immaculate home where no envelopes accumulate everywhere, unable to be thrown away until I write down that phone number somewhere sensible.

Spending a precious weekend tidying up the house when you could be lounging on the sofa drinking wine and reading a trashy novel seems like the epitome of boring maturity. I have had boyfriends who, in despair, spent their weekend tidying up my room in the hopes that it will be a new leaf this time and that all I need is a fresh start. It made no difference.

But then I went to John Lewis last week and got hooked (I'd gone in to try on wedding hats and got off at the wrong floor). It all seemed so wonderful. Collapsible wardrobes that came with shoe pockets and shirt pockets and odd pockets for other things. Bookshelves that could be assembled "by anyone". Chests of drawers in the form of Chinese altars (I was particularly fond of that one until I stumbled across the pounds 600 price tag).

I was in a dream, writing down all the serial numbers on a piece of paper, imagining inviting friends into my lovely home Hello!-style instead of cowering behind the door, imploring them to ignore the mess. All six of us would have delicate matching plates and bowls instead of five of them and me trying to hide the odd one.

And then I got down to the kitchen department and came to, confronted by charts telling me exactly what capacity saucepans were. It jolted me awake. Was this all my weekend was to be, comparing 1.5l with 1.25l? What was I doing here?

Thirty minutes later I was cocooned snugly on the sofa, Jilly Cooper in one hand, glass of chardonnay in the other. Now all I need is to get some man to sort out the mess.

I pick up the phone.

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