I have cactus spines in my arm and shards of blue glass in my feet, my knees are bruised, my backside is damp, my clothes are filthy, and there's a broken flowerpot and a dead olive plant in the bin.
And all because I decided to clean the windows.
We spotted some kind of easy-use wipes last time we went shopping, designed to effortlessly clean windows without smearing. No buckets of hot soapy water to knock over. No wet sponges to accidentally drop on a passing neighbour's head. No newspaper and diluted vinegar (ever tried that? It works a treat on glass). There's nothing like a labour-saving device to prompt me into hard work.
The outsides of the windows are a bit tricky when you're not the ground floor flat, and at one point I found myself sitting in the kitchen sink in order to reach one of the more remote corners of glass. There was much kneeling on window ledges, hanging half out over a 12ft drop, stretching as far as I was able and hoping the window frame didn't buckle, then pulling back inside to find I'd elbowed a cactus or had a rubber plant between the shoulder blades.
But the only real mishap came in the living room when I tried to pick up a tray of four flowerpots that was on the window ledge. Over they went (in slow motion of course, don't they always?) and suddenly the floor was covered with potting compost, ornamental glass chips, smashed terracotta flowerpot, and most of the leaves from a small olive tree that we'd suspected was in trouble, but which now proved itself to be completely dead.
It was one of those moments when you want to throw your head back and your arms wide and ask, Garfield-style, “why me”?
<grouch>Sodding windows can stay dirty for all I care.</grouch>