Living out of of town has many pleasures, such as wearing sandals with socks while gardening and not needing frosted glass in bathroom windows. Other benefits include deer by the fence and ‘Harry Potter nights’ when local owls congregate in our garden.

But there are drawbacks to the country life, mainly the lack of some modern services. That means relying on bottled gas for cooking, a septic tank for, well, we have a septic tank, and oil for heating. I never thought about heating oil until prices rocketed. Now I study Brent Crude futures and try to judge when to fill the tank! Four years ago it was 17.95p a litre. Currently it’s 30p.

If the price had risen in line with inflation, oil should be around 20p per litre, but international markets don’t work like that. Timber is traded around the world in just the same way. We’re tiny players in a global market and, while we might think we have a lot of clout, the reality is different.

What I notice is that my efforts in the ‘Battle of the Thermostat’ have taken on a new urgency since prices rocketed. My argument is that 15ºC is the nationally accepted standard for house temperatures and sticking to that is doing our bit for global warming. Meanwhile my wife and daughters tempt me to the kitchen with chocolate cake while they move the dial up. I don’t stand a chance.

Timber pricing will have its ups and downs, but the overall picture looks clear: demand is increasing, supplies are not, so prices will rise and, while some people will try to take action to restrict use, we all know who’ll win in the end. Like my great plans with the thermostat, there’s no way consumers will give up using this wonderful commodity, providing it’s delivered on time and to the right specification.

There may be talk of substituting other materials but, as we all know, timber’s credentials are excellent, especially with the increase in efforts to ensure sustainability and legality.

Now, I must go and continue my research for a wind-powered heating system.