So I’m awake

The laptop, you’ll no doubt be pleased to hear, not only survived yesterday’s open heart surgery, it’s out of bed, doing press-ups and power-lifting the hospital bed.

It’s 04.47, I’m downstairs on the couch with a mug of tea and a laptop capable of running NASA’s next re-entry programme for the space shuttle.

The question ‘Why?’ hovers in my mind. Why am I awake, not anything laptop related.

Also: Why did I not bring my book with me when I tottered downstairs? I don’t want to do nerdy things (and right now even touching the laptop is classed, in my head at least, as a nerdy thing), I’d much rather be reading a proper book.

But I can’t go and fetch it because I might disturb Soph. Arse.

Not disturb Soph’s arse. That would be a fearsome event to be avoided at all times.

The laptop repair (which I really should refer to as ‘the software repair’) was,thankfully, effected before the podcast was recorded last night, but as a result of spending 14 hours unscrewing someone’s shoddy work, the podcast was, ahem, a tad under-prepared.

Massively under-prepared.


Conversation items this week include the correct pronunciation of ‘Illinois’ because everyone says it incorrectly, some Frenchisms which include Bof, Merde and Zut; spanking Intel with a cricket bat; Bren putting on Soph’s bra; someone at Soph’s work having trouble putting on Soph’s bra; the film ‘500 Days of Summer’ (stupid title); weird noses; Grosse Pointe Blank; Minnie Driver; William Shatner (being an actress) being referred to as Shatters; a gratuitous reference to The Bonzo Dog Doo-Dah Band and Monty Python’s Flying Circus; Soph going to the cinema only to watch the trailers;  Buzz Lightyear and Toy Story; Roald Dahl (and how he got his name); having bits waxed and wondering if Anne Robinson has hers waxed (eew!); Bren wants to do the waxing job; Bren’s new game-show concept using his inside knowledge of the Equestrian world: Gay or Not Gay; Bodger and Badger being transformed in to a sitcom called Boris and Badger, featuring the current mayor of London; a visit to the dentist… And three distinctive but very excellent pieces of music that are too good for your mainstream radio station to play.

Is it any wonder that over 100,000 people now subscribe to it? Well, yes, it obviously is a massive wonder. 🙂


It’s time for another cup of tea. And maybe some toast.



I blame the wind. It is blowing a friggin’ gale out there. And this means that I’m awake.

And when I’m awake I get up; I have to, I’d never forgive myself if I disturbed Soph and anyway, if I get up at least I can do something.

I’ve been up for an hour, but my alarm will go off in an hour and a half.

Is going back to bed worth it? When there’s no guarantee that my head will let me go back to sleep?

Another fun day!

Today I have Christmas presents to wrap. But I am a simple, hamfisted male whose fingers and hands do not permit him to perform delicate tasks and therefore I am devoid of even the faintest speck of present-wrapping ability.

By the way… Helloooooo!

Anyway, my attempts at present wrapping always start out brilliantly. The first two – or even three – folds are clinical; display a level of precision rarely seen outside of a draughtsman’s office.

But we (my fingers and I) soon reach a point from where it all goes downhill. Quickly. And gets out of control.

As fast as that time when, as an eight-year-old, I rode my newly-painted (Maroon? How did that happen?) pushbike down that bastard of a steep, steep hill (King Street, Blaenavon) and by the time I got to the big right-hander halfway down the hill I was way too fast to make the turn in to Broad Street and the brakes were insufficient so I just gripped tightly and smacked in to the 6′ brick wall on the corner and knocked myself unconscious for a few minutes. And wrote off the newly painted bike. Wow! Where did that dusty little memory come from?

Anyway, I can’t wrap presents in pretty much the same way that I just can’t plait a horse’s mane. But with the latter I pay someone with less-fat fingers and with substantially smaller hands to do the job for me. With the former I persevere and, as a result, will shyly produce, when required, a gift that looks as though it was started off well but finished up being wrapped by an infinite number of monkeys.

Because that’s my style.

In other news… As part of my 2009 goal to beat this insomnia dragon that sits and smoulders away on my shoulder I have started keeping a sleep diary. It might not amount to much but I’m determined to try and do something positive for myself in the course of the new year.

So hey, I’d better get on. I mean, it’s 09.45 and I have so much time to fill. Yes indeedy!


Sunday comes and goes. Next week stretches out before us

I should be asleep.

In fact, with the clock telling me that it’s now 03.05, I’d love to be asleep. But something woke me and wouldn’t let me settle back. So I grabbed my bathrobe and tip-toed downstairs for a cup of tea and a brief check of what’s new in the world and a mental review of the weekend and the week to come.

It’s been a good weekend.

Saturday began with loading the weekend’s podcast on to the server and then breakfast in bed (prepared and delivered by me!). And cuddles and reading. When we did get up we drove in to Witney for an earlyish lunch. Then came straight back home where we took refuge from the terrible squally storm, erm, in bed. In the late afternoon I drove to the yard where Vin, bless, was thrilled to bits to see me. With the aid of carrot magic I convinced him to agree to some work. We schooled in the indoor arena and he was rewarded afterwards with more carrots and much love. The trip back home was made via a quick stop for requested items from The Soph. Soon, Angel Delight was eaten followed by cuddles on the couch while the Harry Hill entertainment show (You’ve Been Framed followed by TV Burp – we’re so highbrow in this house on the weekend) segued in to X-Factor. The latter led us to wonder who the voting public had been listening to, because as sure as hell is hot they hadn’t heard the same acts we had! And then bed and reading except I may have fallen asleep in 2.47 nanoseconds.

Sunday was a gentler start but after breakfast downstairs we did head straight back to bed. Again. But by 11.30 we were up, bathroomed and dressed; Soph was away to Stratford upon Avon to meet friends and I was going to Vin’s place to spend quality time with him – via a quick detour of Countrywide Stores because Vin (bless) has mislaid one of his over-reach boots so that’s £6.10 you owe me matey! Many hours were spent at the yard; inspecting the work the mechanic is doing on the lorry (slow progress, I think he’s doing it part-time), fetching Vin in, treating a cut he’s inflicted on himself in the field (nothing serious, just a minor schoolboy graze), grooming, tacking up, schooling indoors, smugly looking at the horrendous storm outside as we worked in the brightly lit dryness, untacking, grooming, hanging around and chatting and then getting back home again. Soph returned about half an hour after I got back. We snacked, we cuddled up on the couch and watched a little television and I looked at car prices because sadly the time has come to think about letting mine go. And then Soph got things ready for the morning because suddenly it was bedtime. I think I did my customary 3, 2, 1, sleep’ act but I’m not completely sure. I was asleep at the time.

I wish I knew what woke me. And why my psyche wouldn’t let me get straight back off. But I’ve been productive while I’ve been up. I’ve done a little prep for the forthcoming week. If I kept a weekly diary with witty headings the entry for the forthcoming week would be called TLA week (TLA = Three Lettered Acronym); I have meetings with the CPS, TfL, GLA and possibly (pending confirmation), the chair of the HAC.

Outside of work I need to have a catch-up with Amy over the writing exercises we’re doing. I need to respond to a record label in Philadelphia that has waited long enough for me to get my finger out. I have two album reviews to write, a feature commission punt to get around to a couple of publications and I really should finish that short story that’s been sitting on my hard-disk for the last two months. I also need to select the tracks for next weekend’s podcast and I would like to try and generate some action from Companies House. And Vin needs regular schooling this week because JP is coming back down next Sunday, so we’d better show a marked improvement on our homework!

Right, that’s it. Tea has been drunk and I’m off up to bed to try and sleep for the remaining hour and a half before the alarm does its horrible thing.

Later in the day, when the sun is beating warmly down upon us (some hope!), let me know what your week is threatening/promising to bring you.

And does anyone else have these weird ‘Right, you’re awake now so you may as well get used to it!’ conversations with yourselves when you really should be asleep?


Awake (and not wanting to be)

Our slut next-door neighbour staggered home about an hour ago and, for some bizarre reason that could only make sense to her alcohol-consumed brain, began moving her wheelie-bin around outside her house.

Now I’m not an unreasonable guy, I’m not going to report her to the Bin-Moving-About-Police (02.30 department.

But move your bin around outside your house in a noisy way at 02.30? Why would you even want to do this – at 02.30?

Anyway, I’ve given it an hour of ‘being up and awake’; I hope that’s long enough for my psyche because boy could I use going back to sleep.

I’ve got a comfortable bed and a warm woman upstairs and I need to be up there and doing stuff that involves little Z’s falling out of my mouth.






Mug of hot chocolate, two rounds of toast and then back to bed to read.

The alarm will go off at 04.45.



Meanwhile in local news

1. The leading/bleeding edge of insomnia bites cuttingly deep once more

2. It’s Gumpher’s birthday (many happies Gumph)

3. Twhirl seems to be on the verge of becoming my Twitter weapon of choice. Twitterific sucks dick like a 20 Euro whore, and Twitterlicious – though functional and doesn’t repeatedly go down on you – well, it lacks something I can’t quite put my finger on

4. I have a (kinda) namesake in Austria

5. Podcast prep for No 9 continues slowly – stone me there’s some dire music out there!

6. Wondering why some people bother to post items on their blogs that they don’t want other people to read, thereby bizarrely skewing the meaning behind ‘Web2.0 functionality’. I am of course talking about passwording posts. What the fuck is that all about?

Meanwhile in our Crazy World of Writing feature…

7. Amazon won’t let a reviewer post book reviews prior to the book launch date (well der! Do the folks at Amazon not imagine that reviewers get their hands on pre-launch books? Treat that as rhetorical if you like)

And sports news…

8. I’m competing twice on Sunday and haven’t even looked at the tests yet, let alone learned the things

And in our little bit witty, little bit quirky closing feature…

9. Loving the way my former school-mate’s voice sounds; his and mine – it must be something in the water (even though I’m far better looking than he is… 🙂 ) though Adam might take issue with Paul’s use of the PodFather handle

And now for the weather wherever you are today, it’s over to Kirsty…



Not the brilliant track by Faithless, no.

The disturbed (broken? fractured? unattainable?) sleep pattern.

And not me – not me last night anyway.

Last night I was as unconscious as if I’d been hit on the head by the big unconscious stick wielded by the unconscious fairy from the town of unconsciousness in the land of unconscious, oh yes.

No, last night it was Paula (not that I was with her, I just know) and Jon (though he may have been just getting in from one his raucous parties rather than being unable to get to sleep).

And me, occasionally – I’ll concede the point.

And other folk I don’t know the names of.


Should we set up a club?

We could have the 21st Century equivalent of an electronic version of a secret masonic-style handshake to let other club members know we’re up and pottering (‘putering?) around our respective homes.

What do you think?

I hope you two (and everyone else who had a bad night) got off to sleep ok.

My wake-up thought this morning was Mutant Ninja Turtle.

Just the one.



Just so wrong

01.23 and I’m downstairs and wider awake than a wide awake thing has any right to be.

Don’t ask why, just one of those things.

All the sleepy symptoms are in place:
* Itchy legs
* Tired, rubbey eyes (you haven’t seen the word ‘rubbey’ before? It’s well known in this house!)
* Yawning

In fact, everything except that final slip in to the arms of Morpheus.

The brain, you see, is still keening along at warp speed.

For example, I now want to go off and read up on Orpheus in the Underworld which was by (if memory serves things up correctly) Offenbach?

Morpheus -> Orpheus, it’s a small step.

I had a copy, when I was but a very young and youthful youth, of Orpheus in the Underworld played by… umm… Cory Brass Band. I treasured that recording not least because Cory had a slightly too-strong Soprano Cornetist at the time (and I loved the bell-chiming-like qualities that he possessed – much like Jim Shepherd was to display two or three years later when he came to the forefront as principal cornet in the Black Dyke Mills Brass Band. But they were from Yorkshire so didn’t rank as high as any Welsh band), but also because Cory were Welsh.

From… umm… Ton Pentre I think?

And I used to play in a Welsh brass band too.


You didn’t know that did you?

Oh yes.

Band practice every Tuesday and Thursday evening, competitions most Saturdays. Except in the summer when Saturday mornings became National Youth Orchestra of Wales practice.

Which was quite naff really because the orchestral brass section rarely gets anything good to do.

Unless it’s Wagner, Brahms or the occasional Elgar.

And there’s a thing, Elgar.

Lived in this here county, indeed he did.

One of Worcestershire’s greatest musical talents.

Not that Worcestershire has that many, but you get the gist of what I’m trying to say.

But that’s a question… Of the county’s two greatest musical talents (it’s safer to word it like that. And it implies Worcestershire has many! Even though it doesn’t. Although AE Housman went to school in this here small town).

Where was I?

Oh yes, if one had to make a selection, which of the county’s two greatest musical talents would be placed in pole position?

Elgar (Edward)?

Relatively harmless (to quote the two words that Douglas Adams made one of his characters use to sum up the inhabitants of the planet Earth [corrected in comments by Dudius]). Bit of a womaniser. Kept a mistress for many years. Talented composer. Slightly dubious orchestrating skills. Tortured soul.


Ward (Clifford Thomas [aka Clifford T Ward])?

Dedicated husband and father of four. Composer. Singer. Orchestrator/arranger. Skilful user of the English language. Possessor of diction extraordinarily beautiful. Just like his melodies really.

And former teacher at a school in this here small town!

Clifford T Ward wins in my tired head right now, but ask me on another day and the answer may be different.

Born in Stourport-on-Severn.

Which is where my trainer lives.

And also the place where Ray Thomas was born.

Go on, say it. Who’s Ray Thomas?

You’ve heard his work but you won’t know his name and I’m probably a sad musical geek for knowing this but…

You’ve heard of the Moody Blues?

And their Nights in White Satin (taken from their experimental stereophonic album Days of Future Passed)?

And the haunting flute-playing?

That’s Ray Thomas, the flautist with Moody Blues.

Every Good Boy Deserves Favours.

That was another of their albums – they being the Moody Blues.

EGBDF – being notes on the musical stave. FACE being the other part of the notational picture.


My brain just won’t shut up.

Wish it would.

My alarm is going to do its alarming thing in less than four hours.


No laughing matter!

I am awake.

And grumpy (a bit).

It’s one AM and I find myself downstairs surfing the interweb for diversions while my brain tries to reset itself to sleep mode once more.

No, I wasn’t woken at this hour by a text from one of The Lovely S’s many time-inconsiderate friends.

No, I was not wok… Oh My God! Tell me that’s not a real tattoo please! I mean, that really must have hurt if it is.

Sorry, where was I?

Oh yes, I was not woken by one of the occasional bouts of work-panic due to looming and improbably scary deadlines.

I was woken by… Holy Fcuk! Look at the size of that one!

I mean, it must be at least 18 inches!

Around the middle!

No, I was woken by the sound of…


The Lovely S is having a dream – she usually does. And they are usually rememberable and vivid.

This one is…


I would probably sleep through the laughing. Probably.

But the ‘Yaaaay!’s would have got to me sooner or later.

I can still hear her. Chuckles followed by a Yaaaaay!

It’s nice. I mean, to be so happy in one’s sleep, right?

My head is nearly in the right place to go back upstairs and try agai… Bloody Nora! Yes, unusually limber!

Well I’ve had my fill of extra entertainment for the evening. It’s time to try sleep again.

I can’t hear anything now. Must either be the interval or the act has ended. I hope it’s the latter.