Demolition, Saturday unsleeping, and other oddities

This morning the builders started knocking down a wall in the house. Not this house. The other one. The one we’ll be moving in to when the worst of the messy jobs has been done.

After I’d let them in I decided to take advantage of the weather, and do a spot of cleaning. And lubing.

Sparkly clean motorbike chain!

Then I went to bed around 11.30 because I’m working tonight – 18.00 – 05.00.

Unfortunately my superpower – the ability that almost compels me to feel very drowsy at 14.00 on a weekday (embarrassing!) and attempts to swamp me with the dozing when I’m trying to get home from work in the afternoons, doesn’t seem to work when I’m in bed.

So I’m wide awake and writing this.

The day after I finish work at 05.00 I need to be in the office at 06.00.

Two hours after that I’m driving down to Newbury for a day of meetings.

What’s the betting that I find it very easy to sleep on the way down and on the return trip?

The good news is I’m not doing the driving. At least I don’t believe I am. So I should be able to deploy maximum antisocialness (word?) and have a kip while my colleague does the driving.

I’m not sure how it’s possible to have sleep evade me with such dexterity.

I’m very distrustful of sleep.

It seems to come and go on its own terms, lately.

So why am I permanently tired?

Anatomy of a kind of insomnia

  • 2.45am, gets up for a wee
  • Goes back in to bed
  • Rubs eye
  • Dislodges contact lens
  • Goes back to bathroom
  • Removes lenses
  • Goes back to bed
  • Now wide awake
  • Gets up
  • Makes tea
  • Goes back to bed
  • Drinks tea
  • Picks up phone
  • Checks news
  • Gets Really Fucking Angry
  • Gets up
  • Makes hot chocolate
  • Goes back to bed
  • Checks time
  • 3.30am
  • FML

Never happy?

We Brits love to talk (and complain) about the weather, no matter what the weather is doing.

Too hot, too cold, not enough rain, too much rain, too sunny, not sunny enough, the list goes on longer than the combined list of David Cameron’s broken promises and political misjudgments.

Yesterday, when I left work, it was a bit warmish:



The late afternoon warmth translated to yesterday evening – and last night – that was fantastic; so beautifully warm and still.


It was almost like living in Granada again.




I opened the garden doors, as soon as I got home; sat outside drinking Pimm’s for a while, reviewing the events of the day, making mental notes, composing a ‘to do’ list for the next day at work.

Then I opened all of the windows in the house, to let what breeze there was, stir the air.

I was asleep by 10pm, but was woken at 11.30pm by a call. And was asleep again by 11.55pm.

This morning the air in the house is cool and fresh. Because I left the garden doors and windows open all night there was no stuffiness in the house.

The chirping birds woke me at 4.50am – ten minutes before my alarm goes off – and I sat outside with my mug of tea and ate my breakfast at 5.30.

It’s a lovely morning, it is going to be a gorgeously hot day.

And it is Friday.

What are you up to?

I have to go to work.

Sleeping patterns (12/29)

It’s a risky strategy, to wait until 22.15 for inspiration, during this blog-a-thon period.

Sunday night reaches before me and, frankly, I have no idea what it will bring. In the sleep department.

Before things changed, Soph and I would go to bed any time between 9pm – 10.30pm (usually, if I’m being honest, 9.30pm).

The time the alarm was set for could vary enormously, depending on where I was working the next day. But 5am alarms were the norm.

Still are.

But things have changed.

These days I usually fall in to bed around 1am, or slightly before it. And face the 5am alarm with all the happy joy of a person dreading the 5am alarm after four hours sleep.


Oh, did I say that aloud? I’m sorry. I have the television on – with the sound muted, obv – and Wayne Rooney’s face just graced the screen.


There it goes again. How strange. Perhaps I have developed some form of Rooney-related Tourette’s?

Anyway, sleep patterns.

Even after four hours, the 5am alarm still gets me up and about. I’ll admit that I move like the ‘third zombie from the left, fourth row back’ in the Thriller video.

Ha, you didn’t know I was in that, did you?

Well no, I’m not, obv.

That’s just a metaphor for how I lumber about the house after four hours sleep.

It’s risky, this being a house.

Because it has stairs.

That go down.

Last Thursday, as with all days so far (touches wood), I lumbered downstairs without mishap.

Teetered my way in to the kitchen.

Did the kettle-switchy-on-thing and poured milk on my cereal – remembering to put my cereal in to a bowl first, obv.

Poured the boiling water in to my mug, put everything on a tray and staggered my way back upstairs to bed.

The cereal mostly got eaten.

The tea did not get drunk.

The tea did not get drunk because it was not tea.

For it to be tea, it would have to have milk (check!), hot water (check!) and actual tea (erm…).

And that’s why the cereal mostly got eaten.

I had put the teabag in to my bowl of cereal, and added milk.

Fortunately I have a shower after breakfast.

That never fails to wake me.

But it’s a little scary what I can get up to when I’m ‘third zombie from the left, fourth row back’ in the Thriller video.

However, if you totalled the amount of sleep I have had during the last two nights you would get a scary 20 hours.

Twenty hours sleep? In two nights? That’s just mentile. I have been visited by the Princess of Sleep, obv.

Here’s my favourite version of Thriller, the 1,500 inmates of the Cebu Provincial Detention and Rehabilitation Center, Cebu, Philippines at practice! If you will look very carefully YOU WILL NOT SEE ME BECAUSE I WAS JOKING.

Thank you.

And with the weekend comes…

… Fug, fuzziness and a brain made of cotton-wool.

I woke up this morning – Saturday – with a really sore bum.

What the hell was going on behind my back in my sleep?

No, I don’t know either.


We’re going to a gig again tonight.

This’ll be only our second gig in two weeks.

Must be getting old or something.

Tonight’s gig is a four-band session and an Album launch.

At the top of the bill: the awe-inspiring ‘Fine Lines’ will be given its live debut by Oxfordshire-based The Rock of Travolta.

It’s taken the band eight years to get the album to this point.

I’m trying to get my head around a group of five musicians taking eight years of effort, energy and enthusiasm – and their spare time! – to get the composition and performance of a work sufficiently close to a place, where they’re finally satisfied enough to declare it as being finished.

Eight years.

That’s a bit boggling.

But I’m really looking forward to it.

I don’t know much about the three supporting bands on the bill, but I wrote a review of Fine Lines which might give you the teensiest clue about how much I like this work.

So, going to tonight’s gig won’t be a pain.

But getting up in the morning?

Yeah, that’s going to be awful.

But we’ve been shopping, and a supply of after-gig crumpets have been laid in.

Sometimes I’m just too rock’n’roll for description, eh?

And it’s the first F1 GP of the season.

Another incentive to get out of bed with something like three hours of sleep.

I’ll go up to the yard tomorrow to spend some quality time being abused by the girls.

It will be the first time in weeks I will have had the space to get up there.

This reinforces how right it was to find Tom another home – a working home.

It was right, but fuck me, it was difficult.

He’s been gone weeks and I am still upset.

But it was right.

Pauses to put trainers on, check my wallet and get ready for the gig…

I didn’t expect to get emotional.

Sometimes I’m just a bit of a girl.

Right, time to go and listen to three rounds of Death Metal before we get to the crowning peak of musical excellence that are, The Rock of Travolta.

Laterz, dudez.

A weekend of tired

Another in the ‘this post was written some time ago, but has only just been posted because we don’t have broadband’ series.


On Saturday morning I went to the library for half an hour, and then moved to Hackett’s restaurant.

In the afternoon I met Alex James, off of Blur. And cheese.

Nice bloke. He was in the local cinema with his wife and kids. I couldn’t resist the opportunity to have a brief chat and shake his hand.

I was buying tickets for The Adjustment Bureau. Alex and his family were going to see something more child-friendly.

A couple of hours before I met Alex, I put this weekend’s show out; the reason I went to Hackett’s.

Re-reading the shownotes, we seem to have covered a huge amount of conversational ground that included subjects as diverse as an email from Russell Brand (about his genitalia), to the unfortunately cancelled interviews with both Charlie Sheen and Ian (aka the Omaha poet).


The Adjustment Bureau was a good film. Anticlimactic, in the last reel, but a well-made version of a Philip K. Dick novel; ‘Inception-Lite’ is how I have heard it descrbed, a little unfairly, I feel. The Adjustment Bureau and Inception are completely different stories, they operate on distinct levels.

Sunday was a less frenetic affair.

Breakfast in bed followed by a snooze followed by a trip in to town and an All Day Breakfast (which was, in the most Hobbit-like of ways, a Second Breakfast); then back home to gather our thoughts.

I was going to wash my car while Sophie did the ironing (for which I love her just a little more), but I got distracted; Sophie put a Harry Potter film on and it was one I hadn’t seen before.

So that was that.

Two hours later and I hadn’t moved off the couch.

Not because I had become transfixed by the exploits of a fictional 14-year old boy; because I was desperately tired.

I’ve had a bunch of very bad nights in the last few weeks; nights when my ‘being asleep’ hours have been heavily outnumbered by my ‘being awake’ hours. And that is clearly not good.

Let’s face it; I enjoy spending a day at work in a tired state as much as I enjoy undertaking the long daily commute there and back in a state of tiredness.

Not at all.

So I have these periods of time when all I want to do is just sit and zone out. And sometimes doze. It’s all part of recharging; of catching up on sleep, getting rest.

Away from work I am trying to spend as much time as possible in ‘thinking’ and ‘planning’ modes.

I have so many projects stacked up on my ‘to do’ list that I seem to re-prioritise them at least twice a week; almost all of them are writing projects, though two are video-related, and one of those is to complete an video-editing job for an engineering company.

But the continued lack of broadband is a solid obstruction to finishing that.

I’d like to take a couple of weeks holiday, lock myself in the studio, fuel myself on Latte and just get on and do things.

But work – the day job – takes precedence, obv; being self-employed means that taking time off is an unpaid pursuit, even taking time off to complete various pieces of work and a commission or two.

Which is why we’re planning a trip to the US, to coincide with a lump of bank holidays and the Royal wedding.


I seem to have contracted sleeping sickness.  It’s been a hell of a week with many things going on and, adding to these things, I’ve done a phenomenal amount of mileage.

An informed insider tells me that last night I fell unconscious as I was getting in to bed. Nine hours later I woke up at 9.30am, tottered downstairs, ate breakfast and promptly fell asleep again.

In other news…

Contraband has decided to pull back from releasing the single this weekend. There’s very little spare media bandwidth for us to try and get pick-up, our communications plan needs some work and we haven’t got the various media cycles mapped out.

Also, we have heard that the X-Factor losers contestants are going to be releasing a cover of David Bowie’s ‘Heroes’ in aid of the Help for Heroes charity. It will, naturally, be aimed at the Christmas Number One slot.

After weighing up these factors, Contraband have wisely decided to pull back from the brink for a couple of months. Releasing the single after Christmas would give us a shot at a less-congested music media.

But the band’s website has officially been launched. It’s here!

A weekend planned – and unplanned

Yesterday, while I was driving back to the yard from Highclere Horse Trials, I had one of those ‘I’m going to fall asleep any minute now’ moments. I think it was the combination of not enough sleep last week and being out all day at Highclere. So I took a breather and tried to snap out of it but the tiredness only receded, it didn’t vanish. I diverted home, deciding that I was too tired to ride. I haven’t seen enough of the horses this week, it wasn’t an easy choice, but it was the sensible one.

Neighbours can be weird things. Last night ours were setting off fireworks – very loud ‘whooshing’ rockets. They sounded like teenagers – the neighbours, not the rockets. I’m beginning to wonder if the house is occupied by a bunch of students. I’ve tried to work out what they could be up to, setting off rockets, but can’t come up with any sensible answers. Apart from the fact that they’re selfish twats who don’t care about disturbing the peace and quiet that other people might be enjoying.

Daughter sent me an email yesterday afternoon; she asked if any schools near where I live specialise in drama and acting. She’s always been keen on following acting as a career. Evidently the schools in Spain don’t tick the right boxes any longer and she is now setting her sights further afield. I feel sorry for the rest of the world.


Sophie’s laptop is throwing out WiFi connectivity drops. Yesterday evening I planned that I would go to Maplin to pick up a new PCI WiFi card on Sunday afternoon, and then go up to the yard to ride. And then we went to bed and eventually slept.

Insomnia landed at 1.20am. My throat was incredibly dry and I felt dehydrated; I’d love to know what I was up to for the first five hours of sleep. I went downstairs, drank two pints of water, did a little internetting for a couple of hours and went back to bed.

Waking at 9.15am feels just a little bit… sinful. 9.15 is so late to be waking up! I made us breakfast in bed, then I showered, shaved, teethed and then… went back to bed. We read, we did stuff, we fell asleep and I woke up at 2pm. So much for my going in to Maplin and riding plans! I tottered downstairs and started on some overdue webdesign and email stuff. About an hour later those same pesky neighbours started letting off fireworks again – another clutch of loudly ‘whooshing’ rockets. I hate people, sometimes. Soph tottered downstairs and we agreed that people are generally thoughtless twunts, and if they really needed to let off rockets they should do so in the privacy of their own home. And then I realised I was hungry, so second breakfast was had.

Beans on toast x4 and a cheese & onion roll

During the early morning awakenings I had an idea for a video promo for the podcast. I’ve started jotting down the ideas in a kind of ‘shooting script’ sort of way.  There are six scenes to be filmed, here are the first five:

  1. Shot of inside of empty pub
  2. Shot of inside of empty restaurant
  3. Shot of inside of empty library
  4. Shot of inside of empty car park
  5. Shot of inside of empty church

Ideally, I wanted a shot of an empty street scene for shot 5, but I’m not sure that’s achievable.

Advertising people talk shit. There was just an advert on the television that included the words, ‘Timotei searches the world for precious natural ingredients…’ – which, presumably, extends to ‘Timotei are going to rape the planet for, rip these precious natural ingredients out of their natural environment and cram these precious natural ingredients in to their distinctly average hair products’.  Because why else would Timotei include precisely that wordage in their advert? Really, is there any other conclusion to be reached? So here’s a message: Hey people, don’t buy Timotei products, they’re environmental rapists. Or perhaps no-one actually listens to the distinctly mediocre advertising wordage that is rammed down our televisions these days. Except me, obv. But if no-one listens, why are Timotei paying their advertising agency squillions of $s?

Man, I am so tired and I almost wrecked the lorry yesterday…

A mere two-and-a-half hours sleep last night, on top of the general stress, activity and rushing around of the weekend, all compound together to make me extremely worn out today

Yesterday’s one-day event at Larkhill was a bust.

Despite symptoms of misbehaviour going on underneath me, we somehow achieved a vastly improved dressage score of 39.5 penalties.

As we hacked back to the lorry to change the saddle and bridle I was starting to get very optimistic about the show-jumping.

Unfortunately there was a bit of a balls-up when a critical part of Tom’s jumping tack – the Cheltenham Gag Bit – fell apart in the groom’s hands. So to retaliate she dismantled Tom’s flatwork bridle.

Erm, umm. I may have been a little short – but I maintain that I didn’t shout at anyone or anything – and, anyway, I did manage to rescue victory from the jaws of defeat by finding the two, tiny, popper-like fastenings in the lorry, and the buckle that was hidden on the grass outside the door to the lorry living.

Anyway, with tack duly changed we hacked down to the show-jumping working-in.

Jess – my groom for the day – did a grand job. She set practice fences that were, to start, generous and welcoming, but within ten minutes we were coming in to obstacles that were slightly over-height and over-spread for our class.

But it was all good. Tom and I felt joined. We were together, we were calm, I sat quietly and waited for the fence to come to us and kept my hands down and relaxed (my failing is not doing these things!) and *gave* him stretch room as he basculed through the air.

We were good to go.

Or so I thought.

We cantered in to the main ring and although I rode him forward and kept off his mouth Tom stopped at fence 1.

I re-presented and he flew over it, and two, three, four and five.

At fence six we had issues and another stop and after that everything fell apart (almost literally) because we started hitting them down.

So we were eliminated from the one-day event in the show-jumping phase, because we were over the limit of jumping penalties.

A hack back to the lorry and a feeling of gloom, doom, despondency, disappointment and (even more) despondency invaded my head for the rest of the day.

Not even hot chocolate and home-made brownies managed to lift my spirits.

On the way home we had a horrendous moment as we were driving down the hill in to Marlborough.

A Honda Civic whipped out of a side-road in front of me and then just stopped in the road and indicated to turn across the opposite carriageway – but it couldn’t turn because there was oncoming traffic.

The trouble is, because the driver had just whipped out and, with no warning, come to a halt in front of me, we had to apply the brakes *very* fiercely and a) in a 10-ton lorry and b) carrying two horses, our stopping distance is nothing like that of a car!

Although we were slowing fast, the distance was closing too quickly so I had a choice: smack the Honda Civic up the arse fairly hard or aim for the gap between it and the hedge.

I chose the latter. Although it was very tight, it gave me the 12-feet I needed to stop the lorry.

We were actually three-quarters off the road, the hedge was overgrown and untended and the nearside of the cab was in it.

I signalled to the driver of the Civic to pull forward to a layby and, very carefully drove the lorry out of the hedge and went to join him.

We got out and looked at the car and the lorry.

The car was untouched. You wouldn’t have been able to pass a sheet of paper between the side of the lorry and the side of the civic, but somehow I’d managed to avoid making contact.

The lorry had a few paint scrapes down the side from the branches of the hedge, but other than that was similarly unscathed.

A very lucky escape for both of us, but I wonder if the driver of the Civic understands things like braking distances of *other* types of vehicles? Don’t they set questions on that in the driving test these days?

By the time I made it back to the yard, unloaded Tom, groomed him, rugged him up, fed him, unloaded all of the tack, put things away, tidied the lorry, put that away, switched off the lights and had driven home it was very late.

I don’t know how late because I was too worn out to care. And in the night, as I’ve said, I had far too little sleep.

Oh well, maybe I’ll catch up tonight/tomorrow.


The plan for the week is that Tom is going to have his big brown bottom jumped off him until he’s being straightforward and honest once again.

He’s entered in an unaffiliated one-day event next Saturday, but Sammi is going to take him around because she’s more, ahem, more assertive.

And maybe I could pick up some sleep, here and there?

In other news, I see from our Google Feedburner stats that the podcast has picked up 480 new listeners in the last two days.

*big smile*