I am a broken man, crushed by the ordeal of physical labour. I don't suppose that I've done anything out of the ordinary - thousands of people load and unload vans every day - but it has been a shock after seven months of relative indolence.
I won't bore you with the details, except to say that I have been moving some furniture for someone over the last couple of weeks, driving a large van that has 166,000 miles on the clock and a suspension that amplifies the tiniest piece of grit on the road into something that resembles artillery fire at Stalingrad.
I'd burned some CDs of Radio Four podcasts to relieve the tedium of motorway driving, but even at full volume, Andrew Marr couldn't compete with the constant squeaking and rattling of metal parts trying to separate. I hadn't heard metal make noises like that since Das Boot.
The nadir came when the wipers stopped working during a flash flood on the M23 and the view ahead turned into a pointillist landscape of greys and dark greens. I took the first exit I could find and stopped at a layby, where I texted Bob, the van's owner: "Coming back. Wipers not working."
20 seconds later, my phone buzzed with a new text message: "Is it raining?"
In fairness to Bob, he fixed the fault quite promptly, swapping the broken fuse for the windscreen wipers with the one that operated the indicators. It was a novel solution, but I would have preferred to have been warned, as the honking and v-signs were making me quite paranoid.
The next day I did my last job for Bob, who gallantly provided me with a man who could stick his arm out of the window if I wished to turn left. Fortunately, the route was only six miles long and quite direct, so neither of us were required to perform any hand signals.
It looked as if everything was going to be all right after all. Sadly, at the final destination, I miscalculated the angle I needed to reverse into someone's drive and ended up getting stuck in the middle of their lawn. It took an hour to free the van from the quagmire I'd created and as we crept forward, it revealed a scene of desolation that reminded me of the Somme. I felt awful.
I'm not quite sure how I ended up agreeing to work for Bob. I think it was something to do with the mindset that comes with being self-employed, feeling obliged to say yes to any opportunity that comes along, regardless of how suitable it is.
But perhaps I also just liked the idea of driving a very big van.