Over the past week or so it had gradually dawned on me that the old place was getting slightly grubby.
Now I am not the most fussy chap; so long as rats don't pop out of my larder and the television isn't obscured by mounds of detritus then I tend to think that things are fine as they are. However, it became increasingly apparent that a clean up was on the cards. Walking on the carpets was similar to strolling barefoot on a shale beach. Piles of clothing littered the floor. The air hung heavy like a village wino.
As for the bathroom, suffice to say that when a gentleman who lives alone notices that all isn't as it should be in there, then the local authority sanitation department are within a hair's breadth of getting involved.
Stand down the Channel Four sponge-wielding harridans, the situation has been normalized.I returned home after a shopping expedition armed with all manner of sponges, surface cleaners and bleaching agents. Preparation is half the battle in any campaign. Imagine my surprise when, on venturing into the cupboard below the sink, I found an abundant supply of exactly the products I had just bought. My mood and demeanour exactly matched that of the late Oliver Hardy when he would turn to face the camera after Stanley's latest comic pratfall had resulted in him being clobbered with a piece of crockery or sprayed with soda water by an irate scotsman.
Undaunted, I continued with my mission. First of all, I cleared the bathroom of all perishable items such as shampoo, soap, toilet rolls.
I was a man alone among my surfaces.
Deciding that the problem was best broken down into manageable chunks, I sprayed everything with bathroom cleaner, emptied half a bottle of bleach down the pan and retired to the lounge with a bottle of claret and an improving book. The next day I returned, clad only in sports briefs and flip-flops, and armed with a sponge and a bowl of hot water. The grime didn't stand a chance. I will draw a discreet veil over the horrors of toilet cleansing, there is enough sadness in the world without burdening you with all of that. It is a good job it's only once a year one has to tackle such a perilous task.
Spurred on by this triumph, the hoovering, tidying up and dishwashing were mere bagatelles to me. I was a domestic god. I looked around my kingdom and saw that it was Good.
And pine fresh, too.