I’m not sure how it works but I’m certain I used to get a lot more splinters when I was a child than I do now. Maybe there was just more wood about in the eighties.

When I was little, it would take both my parents to hold me down. After a good soak with salt water, my mother would try and distract me by chatting and trying to make me laugh while my dad would try to remove the splinter by digging around it with a dressmaker’s pin.

It was all quite traumatic and I’m not sure any of us really got over it.

Then, for a long time – during school and into my early adulthood – I never got a splinter.

Even when I was an electrician, it was rare that I got splinters. Lots of other stuff: fiery skin, itchy eyes and broken lungs from fibreglass insulation, plasterboard grit and dust in my eyes, torn muscles and months of physio – but only occasional splinters.

Now, my life is quite simple. As much as I spend a lot of my time in an armchair, I do still have a fair amount of general fixing to do around the house. But not enough to give me splinters. And yet…

For a time, Tara’s hair used to get stuck in my feet.

Let me assure you: it is absolutely as attractive as it sounds.

By far the finest thing, when I had a thick black hair sticking out of the soft, padded part of my foot, was the sight of a pair of tweezers. It was as if there were angels singing.

I’ve learnt since then. I keep my shoes on until it’s time for bed.