My application for the next series of Mastermind is in, as long as they approve my specialist subject.

I am probably the country’s leading authority on old rulers.

But the kind of rulers I am expert in are not your Queen Victorias or your President Kennedys, but the type that usually come in six-inch and twelve-inch varieties, and are made of wood.

For years now I have been amassing a large collection of them, running to more than 150.

Then, starting a couple of weeks ago, I cut them up with my saw and stuck them in patterns on the kitchen wall.

I cannot deny that the rulers have put a strain on our marriage.

First it was: “What are you going to do with all those blinking rulers?”

Then it was: “You’re going to do WHAT?”

And finally: “I really don’t think that’s a very good idea.”

My wife isn’t much good at visualising things, so it wasn’t until I had finished the job, last week, that she really understood what I had in mind, and could finally appreciate it and give it her seal of approval.

The rulers are part decoration and part artwork, but born out of necessity.

The refurbishment of our kitchen, which we achieved at the fraction of the cost of a brand new one, came with drawbacks as some of the old units, which have now been removed, hadn’t been tiled behind.

But we didn’t want to go to the cost nor the bother of retiling, so needed an alternative covering to hide the bare plaster, and I came up with the idea of gluing the rulers to the wall, thus not only solving the problem, but finally coming up with a use for the collection.

Most of the credit for sourcing this collection must go to my brother and his wife, who are avid car boot sale fans (an understatement), and who I set on a mission to track down old rulers whenever they were booting.

Almost every car boot sale has at least one ruler, usually thrown in an old tin, and usually yours for 50p, or even less if you barter.

It all means our kitchen wall is unique, and if you wanted to copy it, it would take you at least five years to find enough rulers.

Rarely do people realise what treasure they are letting go when they sell an old ruler, because not only are they often beautiful things, with their different colours, designs and gorgeous typefaces, but there is a lot of social history there, too.

More than any other thing you can lay your hands on, they evoke and recall schooldays, with every stain – generally ink or oil – telling a story.

They also tell of the transition from the quaintness of inches to the logic of centimetres, and while the modern ones are made in Germany, Sweden or China, the old ones are invariably proud to tell you they were ‘Made in England’ or are ‘British made’.

Some have names scratched on them – sometimes the owner’s, sometimes a sweetheart, or, in the case of one that’s now on my kitchen wall, Les Gray, the lead singer of Mud.

That’s right, that’s right, that’s right, that’s right: whoever owned that ruler really loved their Tiger Feet.

One ruler I found in the garage of a much-loved uncle, after he died.

It was only when I came to mount it with the others that I realised he had stamped his initial and surname on it, and of course it is my king of rulers.

I am sure you will now agree that rulers rule!