How refreshing to read about the couple who took 16 years to complete their ‘Grand Designs’ house.

Creating the futuristic, self-heating, three-bedroom property from a £100,000 former dairy, appeared to genuinely put a strain on their finances and marriage.

I stopped watching the TV show a long time ago, fed up with watching smug, rich people wringing their hands when their hand-mined, Cantabrian marble worktops were delivered half an hour late or their bespoke revolving roof terrace did not slide as smoothly as they’d hoped.

But I actually tuned in to see this programme, which for once featured people who did not have pots of money from wealthy parents or high-earning partners. The couple ended up compromising on the décor and leaving breeze-block walls to save cash.

What annoys me about property programmes in general is that those taking part start off worrying about their budget, claim to far exceed it, but always end up doing everything they planned, having a perfect outcome, and grinning from ear to ear.

The worst kind are the schemes with project manager wives, whose poor husbands spend the bulk of the week working 18-hour days while they stay on-site lecturing builders and flitting around interiors shops looking at wallpaper swatches.

Then there are those couples who try to make us believe that they have no cash by moving into a caravan on-site with two toddlers and another baby on the way. As the show ends, and the uplifting music kicks in, they suddenly appear in their split-level, open-plan, eco-friendly former chicken shed conversion. And they don’t mention their supposed financial woes again (probably as a result of top barrister hubby working weekends).

I am always intrigued by those people with young children who ignore every child-friendly piece of advice that was ever issued and build a place with hazards on every corner - a terrifying slatted staircase (with no handrail), ultra-slippy, polished quartz floors, and sharp Cumbrian granite edges at child head height (‘cutting-edge’ design in more ways than one).

Any property show featuring Sarah Beeny leaves me more than frustrated. Take ‘Double Your House for Half the Money’: People achieve amazing things, supposedly at a snip of what it would cost to move to a bigger home. How come we’ve never been able to do that? Even small alternations to our house have ended up costing a fortune. In fact, all things considered, it would probably have been cheaper to move.

Likewise, the dreadful Location Location Location, hosted by the super-smug Kirstie Allsopp who says it is ‘disgusting’ to keep washing machines in the kitchen - an insult, surely to the many people she shows around homes with kitchens the size of broom cupboards (I assume she tells them to use the local launderette).

That show seems intent on taking potential buyers to houses that are over their budget or outside their specifications, to show them what they might be missing.

To me, property shows are designed not to inspire but to depress. To people who work hard, pay the mortgage, cover all their bills and do what they can to improve their home on what is left over, it can be irritating in the extreme to watch people sailing through some massive renovation, casually chatting about spiralling costs that make your eyes water.

We viewers know it will be all right in the end.

Accustomed to hearing me grumble while I watch (a glutton for punishment), my husband believes it is time I put myself forward for one of these shows, to show how it is in the real world - rotten windows, dodgy floorboards, peeling paintwork, horror of horrors, a washing machine in the kitchen, and a budget that would just about stretch to a tin of Farrow & Ball.