We have recently become the proud owners of a veranda.

I built it with my own fair hands, on the back of our house, and while I was trying not to strike my thumb with the hammer, a few other things struck me.

We are fortunate to have a fairly large garden.

It’s nothing compared with the Queen’s, of course, but larger than many others in Swindon, mainly for the simple reason that the house was built in the 1950s.

In previous decades, especially when terraced houses were all the rage, you didn’t usually get much of a plot, and these days you can invest hundreds of thousands in a large detached house but only get a garden the size of a handkerchief as part of the deal.

But for some reason, 1950s builders were rather more generous.

So, on the precious days when the sun shines or at least it stops raining, ‘outdoor living’ has become important to us, and rather than wasting money on fast or fat cars and expensive dinners out - and even though we’ve never watched an episode of Gardener’s World - we spend it on improving the garden.

It was during the veranda project that I got to thinking about how much has changed since my parents’ day, especially my father’s, who died in 1977, when I was a teenager.

To him, a garden was a veg patch, two plum trees and an apple tree, a washing line made out of two old boiler tubes, and a few ‘chrysants’, round the front. If I could talk to him about our garden now, he would think I was speaking in tongues.

He probably would have known what a veranda was, and a conservatory, but I am pretty sure none of our neighbours in Meadowcroft had one, and neither did anybody else we knew.

As for the other things that we now have in our garden, or have considered getting, they would be a mystery to him.

Gazebo, hot tub, fire pit, pergola, solar lights, artificial grass, and even strimmer and decking are all foreign words that my dad would need translating.

Even more significant, for me, was the food that we eat now, compared with what was in the garden or on the table when I was a kid - and I’m not just talking about what my parents considered ‘foreign’ food, like spaghetti.

When I was growing up, the only pepper we had in the house came as half of a pair, with salt, and nobody we knew would dream of grinding it themselves.

It was only after leaving home that I realised there were such things as green (and even yellow or red) peppers, along with aubergines, mange tout, kiwi fruit and other curiosities that didn’t exist in Upper Stratton in the 1960s.

It seemed to me that such things had only just been invented.

Whether or not my parents knew of their existence, I can’t be sure, but even if they did, there were only a few things they ever considered growing in their own garden, namely spuds, carrots, runner beans, peas, strawberries and something I still don’t consider qualifies as being edible, namely radishes.

And the point about all this is although we instantly think of the advance of technology as being the big difference in our lives, compared with theirs, just as significant is lifestyle. We often forget how lucky we are, compared with previous generations or the billions of people around the world who can only dream of owing their own veranda.

So I for one, am grateful. When I was growing up, it seemed more likely I would end up with a verruca than a veranda.