We were moving house. Or rather, we had already moved house, and now we were back in the old house for a day of cleaning, painting, sorting and tidying. It was not going to be fun.
On arrival, we got down to business in the bedroom (wink wink, nudge nudge, say no more). We filled in the holes caused by so many picture hooks with Polyfilla.
We hoovered the carpet, which made absolutely no difference. We shifted the wardrobes, finding all manner of filth, grime and bugs behind. Bugs as in creepy crawlies – don’t misunderstand me, we were not being monitored by the secret police. As far as we know.
The radio was on. My other half was listening to the Spanish Grand Prix. That finished, and the cricket started. I was tackling the oven. The horror. I had to use a cleaning solution so toxic that the cloth I was holding literally disintegrated in front of my very eyes. Sludge, bilge and slime oozed through my Marigold clad fingers.
I shifted the fridge – a fridge which had not budged an inch in the two years we lived there, and who knows how long before – terrified at what I might find. The reality was not too bad. Some broken bits of pasta. A couple of knives. And the remnants of night after night of hastily prepared meals for two.
Back to the bedroom to finish the job (ooh err, how’s your father, etc etc). The ceiling was looking a bit mouldy. We decided to paint it. After a few brush strokes of “pure white” matt, I realised this was a big mistake. But I ploughed on, inspired by the sound of Viv Richards using the phrase “this particular individual” far too much.
My socks were wet, dirty and smelly. I had paint in my hair and all over my clothes. My spirit was broken. I had reached the limit.
The end came soon enough. I will forever remember the moment. My girlfriend, sat cross-legged in the bathroom, her hand down the toilet up to her elbow, turned to me and asked: “Who is this Alex Hales?”