Here’s the window I’ve been repairing. If it looks a little spooky that’s because I photographed it during an eclipse of the Moon. Do you remember that? The 3rd March, 2007. It was quite something. For about half an hour the Moon turned red. People on the streets of Hither Green panicked. I remember one old man running down the street, shouting at people to stay indoors, saying there were Vampire Nazis parading the streets of Lewisham and they were heading our way. One young child cried, and an image of Jesus appeared in her left eye. Another old lady who lives next door looked up at the Moon and said “isn’t it lovely.”

At least, this is how I like to remember it.

Repairing windows is one of those things you can take the time to do when you have no work. It’s a shame really, because if I had work I wouldn’t have the time. And if I didn’t have the time I’d be able to pay a window man. Me being out of work is putting a glazier out of work. Aren’t times hard.

Here’s how to repair a window.

  • Remove some bits of wood so you can get the window out. Carry it into the garden and then look at it for a while wondering what to do next.
  • Have a cup of tea and do the Guardian crossword (the quick one that takes all day).
  • Look at the window. Laugh, because once placed flat on the ground it has ceased to be useful as a window; unless you like looking at grass. Decide you do like looking at grass. Then hack at it with a variety of tools from a box, all of which have proper and fancy names, none of which you know.
  • Smash, smash, smash glass.
  • Pick bits of glass out of your hand.
  • Hack away at old putty. See bits of rotten wood fall away too and wonder what to do next.
  • Splash wood hardener about as if it was going out of fashion. Sniff it too.
  • Take a break. Do The Mirror crossword.
  • More wood hardener. More splashing. Realise that wood hardener is a sort of glue, and wonder how to get it off your clothes and your fingers.
  • Put all the smashed glass in newspaper and then in a black bin bag. Pick bits of glass out of your hands.
  • Pick up the black bin bag, letting the loose shards cut through the thin plastic, falling to the floor.
  • You’re familiar with the next part… pick up, deal with blood etc.
  • Measure the window, taking off 3mm so the glass will fit in nicely.
  • Go to the glaziers. Buy a piece of glass. Say “Yes. I used to be on Saturday morning TV” and when asked what are you up to these days say “repairing windows”.
  • Try and get the glass back home without breaking it.
  • See if the glass fits.
  • Weep with joy when it does.
  • Take a break. Go on Twitter. Make cheap comments about wood hardening. See the people Twitter back, asking if you are stressed.
  • Tap in some nails to hold the glass in place.
  • Then the fun part. Truly. Putting the putty in. Did you know that putty is like putty in your hands? The putty parts great. Enjoy it.
  • Put the window back.
  • Tidy up. In bare feet.
  • Pick tiny shards of glass out of your bleeding feet.
  • In about six weeks time take the window out again and paint the putty.
  • Forget to do this.

I hope this helps anyone thinking of trying to repair a window. Oh, and I know it’s windmills but when it first went through my head as I tried to think of a title for this post, I heard windows.

And the world is like an apple
Whirling silently in space