Spare a thought for William Stanhope, 1st Earl Of Harrington.
We've all been there.
Something seems a good idea, and you just know it's going to be the making of you, despite the doom mongers who fix you with concerned stares and predict woefully that "it'll end in tears."
But what do they know?
You forge ahead, convinced of your own infallibility and then, without warning, fate appears from nowhere and bites you painfully on the behind!
The teeth marks from Harrington's encounter with the rabid jaws of fate are still there to be seen, should you wish to glimpse them.
You just have to stroll along Whitehall from Trafalgar Square and keep a keen eye peeled for a tiny street located a little way along on the left which, so the sign on the wall tells you, is Craig's Court.
It's a shady little nook that opens out into a large courtyard, on the opposite side of which stands the grand facade of an 18th century manor house. Until 1917, this was Harrington House, the London home of successive Earls of Harrington
Today it houses the Whitehall Telephone Exchange, which accounts for the steady stream of 'Open Reach' vans that drive in and out of this little cul de sac, their drivers blissfully oblivious to the fact they are performing their U-turns in front of a memorial to ambition gone, well and truly, awry.
In 1698 the old Whitehall Palace - which had originally been "acquired" by Henry V111 from Cardinal Wolsey - burnt down.
Convinced that the Palace would be rebuilt, Stanhope, purchased an adjoining plot of land and, in 1702, built a magnificent home on it.
This, he thought, would enable him to keep close to the Court, and would ensure that his family would be able to benefit from the social kudos of being as close to the Monarch as it was possible to be - not to mention the titles, honours and lucrative contacts that this proximity to the seat of power would enable them to wangle.
And it would have been an excellent investment, but for the fact that it was decided not to rebuild Whitehall Palace.
Stanhope found himself marooned in this quiet backwater, some distance from the Royal Court that he had intended his investment to place him right at the very heart of.
However, the family decided to accept the hand that fate had dealt them and they remained at Harrington House for several generations.
When they moved out in 1917, theirs was the last of the grand mansions on Whitehall to be used as a family home.