I made a valiant attempt to burn down the kitchen last weekend. And almost succeeded.
I'd love to say it happened during a fabulously decadent, raucous dinner party with everyone on their second bottle of wine and burning candles for decoration. That could provide some sort of explanation.
I have no such defence. The reality could not have been more different.
I was home alone, drinking nothing more intoxicating than lemon cordial (a hitherto secret enthusiasm of mine) and reading the newspaper on the lounge.
A crackling sound made me look towards the kitchen, where flames were rising from the gas cooktop, licking the ceiling.
A barely recognisable plastic bowl was curling over and distorting like some grotesque gargoyle. Two wooden salad servers - no doubt providing the ignition - were giving off flames.
I turned off the gas - good idea - and turned on the extractor fan - bad idea - which drew the flames yet higher. As the fan went off, the second of the home's three smoke alarms joined the action.
In what seemed a long time but was probably seconds, I concluded water wouldn't hurt, so got a sheet from the laundry, wet it under the tap and, like a sheep shearer throwing a fleece over a turntable, hurled it over the mini inferno.
It spluttered and crackled like crazy, the acrid black smoke went from a wisp to a storm cloud and little flames continued to lick from below. I added more water and it was all over.
Having every door and window open on a cold July night isn't fabulous but the smoke eventually took its leave.
I'd failed to turn off a gas ring after cooking and used the cooktop as a benchtop. Result: a cooktop forever welded with plastic and an oven beneath that I dare not light until it's all checked out.
I didn't want to write about such stupidity but I was persuaded to do so by friends, pointing out that it's a good lesson: however experienced you may be in the kitchen, accidents happen easily.
Other things learnt: the brilliance of smoke alarms; how gas cooktops are now standard size and my mangled wreck - the bowl is literally welded to the metal - doesn't conform, so a new model won't fit the benchtop; how ready-made meals from the supermarket freezer vary from almost inedible to rather delicious - most in the former category.
Finally: how much more than defrosting the microwave does and how well it makes poached eggs. Really, it does.