Joiner number 2 has been, had a good, knowledgeable look at the staircase, and has pronounced it all perfectly repairable, and affordably so. Visitors have been in droves, and all have agreed that my paint colours are lovely. The sun is shining, and it is warm enough to sit outside without a coat, watching excitable little cats darting in and out of the daffodils. Tomorrow my newly-upholstered chairs come back, and just for now, I can't think of anything to worry about. Phew, that's a relief.