You will no doubt have noticed a subtle change in the equilibrium of our street; a tiny shift in the usually peaceful environs in which you choose to live. I apologise.
You might be wondering why you can no longer hear the bird-song, why the rustle of the trees doesn’t reach you, and why your cat is cowering beneath the kitchen table, too frightened to venture outside.
I suspect you already regret the thrown-open windows, the al-fresco dining plans and the decision to stay at home this summer. It’s possible your feelings towards us at number 14 are currently bordering on murderous. For this too, I apologise.
I’d like to say I’ll make it up to you, but we all know that’s impossible. What could make up for the assault on your ear-drums, the footballs over your garden fence, the nightly shouts of ‘for the love of God, go to sleep!’ and the regular explosions of sibling warfare? What could recompense you for the daily bike tracks across your front lawn, and the grubby hands on your gleaming Ford Mondeo? There is nothing.
And so all I can do is apologise. For the noise, for the disruption, for the sheer, unadulterated chaos that began at lunchtime yesterday and will continue for a little more than six weeks. Because in case you hadn’t realised: school’s out.