I sit cross legged on the floor, biting my lip whilst contemplating several flat packs of furniture and wondering how on earth I had managed to convince myself that I could assemble two gargantuan wardrobes without assistance.
The alarms bells first started ringing when the delivery men seemed to be struggling to even carry the boxes. They became deafening when I gutted the first pack and saw the assembly instructions, which portray a lady on a stepladder holding a wardrobe in place, while a gentleman gallantly hammers in nails and tries to resist the temptation to look up her skirt.
Not for the first time this week, I am forced to admit that I may have bitten off more than I can chew.
Happily, help is close at hand, in the form of a handyman who is coming over to help fix the wardrobes to the wall. When he arrives, I flash him my most winsome smile and flutter my eyelashes in what I hope is a feminine and appealing fashion. I doubt these things alone are enough to make him overlook my paint splattered attire and general state of clamminess, but there can be little doubt that I am a damsel in genuine Ikea distress, and he gamely sets to work while I pore over the instructions.
We are in the middle of pulling the first wardrobe upright when the telephone trills. I make a mental note to find a ringtone which doesn’t set my teeth on edge at the first opportunity and pull the phone out of my pocket with my free hand. It is someone from a radio station, whom I had rather inconveniently managed to forget about. I am supposed to wax lyrical about my dismissal on live radio in one minute’s time.
I wonder whether I am about to be the first person to ever give a radio interview whilst standing on a stepladder and holding a wardrobe upright. Given the surreal turn which events have taken since the first piece appeared in the press two days earlier, I am not sure that anything would be capable of surprising me any more. The first media call, on that fateful Tuesday, came from Radio Five Live, whilst I was sitting in the ASSEDIC (unemployment benefit) office, completing my paperwork.
The handyman, once he has heard my bashful explanation, kindly offers to refrain from hammering for the next two minutes and takes my place on the stepladder.
Realising that the level of background noise from the works being carried out in the courtyard may prevent me from making myself heard, I repair to the quietest room in my new apartment and close the door behind me.
And so it comes to pass that I give a live radio interview whilst perched on my toilet.