Blogathon 23/13 Tired





the evening after the morning after the night before…





7.30pm and I am sprawled on the couch/settee/sofa (whatever) and not, as I should be, in the Cineworld cinema in MK, watching Argo.

I will, however, be there at noon tomorrow, but watching Cloud Atlas, instead.

Why Cineworld in Witney has almost every screen showing Wreck It Ralph, whilst the good films are shown at other Cineworld cinemas… well… I just have no idea. I can only assume it’s because the local Cineworld manager assumes everyone in Oxfordshire has an IQ of 14.

Anyway, last night’s festivities…

We didn’t make it to any of the previously named pubs in Witney; we went to Jericho in Oxford.

There was Tapas and beer in a proper Spanish restaurant, where I spoke Spanish.

There were drinks in a pub.

Followed by drinks in another pub.

Followed by drinks in a cocktail bar.

There was crawling in to bed at 3am.

And getting up at 8am.

At 10.30am I began a 250-mile round-trip on the Bandit, in sub-zero temperatures, to deliver a thing.

And not long ago I had the hottest, longest shower to warm myself up.

And now, feeling very done in and knackered, I am (as mentioned) sprawled.

And tired.

I might hit the bed but there’s a telephone call scheduled for later.

And I haven’t spoken to my daughter today, either.

Bed then, with the Nexus 10, a mug of hot chocolate and the mobile phone.

Any. Minute. Now.

Woo, rock and roll!

Just, you know


The 4.45am alarm seems to be coming around quicker and quicker.

It was half-past midnight when I stopped working last night. This morning.

And then 4.45am, and in the office for 7am.

Finished earlier tonight. 11pm. And 4.45am tomorrow. And in the office for 7am. Again.

As well as working, this evening, I’ve been running conversations with friends.

Good friends. Facing challenges. Big, serious, world-shattering decisions.

Slept wrong last night, my back was awful this morning. First time in maybe five years. Been on heavy PKs today.

Tired now.

I think of my friends.

If the worst I’m looking at is the temporary flare of an old injury and being tired, I’m doing pretty well.

Unlike some.

It’s a mini adventure!

One of these weeks I’m going to get a weekend that is peaceful, relaxing and, you know, involves doing absolutely nothing…

I’m working. I’ve been awake since 4.30am and up since 4.45am.

It’s a Very Big Weekend workwise, with stuff going on 24/7 from Friday evening up until Sunday afternoon.

Stress and sleep don’t fit together too well.

Anyway enough about that.

This evening I’m going to the premiere of ‘Shift’, a film made by the uber-talented Ash. Yes, I have work-related reporting milestones this evening too, but I’m confident I can juggle.

But, due to a couple of factors (1. the fantastic weather forecast for the weekend and 2. the film premiere being in that London), I have, at this late stage, decided to turn the weekend in to a mini-adventure.

Later today I shall pack my rucksack, jump on the Bandit and wend my way to London – on the backroads, not on the motorway.

After a couple of hours, I shall pitch up in the general area where the film is being shown.

I’ve booked a room at a nearby hostelry, so I may have a glass or two of lemonade this evening.

And tomorrow morning, head clear and fresh, I shall potter my way back to last Sunday morning’s venue – the Ace Cafe in north London – for another gargantuan All Day Breakfast.

Then get back home to crack on with the work stuff.

This is my plan.

I shall try to make it so.

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.

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?


I’m just about to go to bed. I can’t keep my eyes open. Soph came home dog tired, we went in to the studio and sprinted our way through the podcast – cut conversation to the bone and didn’t open up the phone.

Dog tired doesn’t even come close to defining how either of us feel.

We have to be up early tomorrow and it’s going to be a very long day.

We’ll be tired again tomorrow evening, that’s for sure.


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*

Sixes and sevens

I thought that around 09.00 I was going to get a text from Hayley who would tell me precisely what time mid-morning and where in Witney I should pick her up from and which garage in Oxfordshire I would have to take her to, so she could collect her new car.

The phone rang at 09.09, Hayley saying she was ready now to be picked up. Half an hour later I was there.

‘Where are we going?’ I asked.

‘Bristol’, was her response.

Oh well. A few hours later I was back home tucking in to a slightly delayed lunch.

We watched a couple of episodes of Angel and afterwards, for some inexplicable reason, the couch saw some serious action for an hour.

And now Soph is prepping tea while I contemplate getting dressed – or showering and getting dressed.

But that’s not quite it.

I have a niggling throat and a few aches and throbs in various joints. And a headache which, as a rule, I never get. And I feel just a little…

Odd. Peculiar. At sixes and sevens. And tired, desperately tired.

I had a really horrid dream last night. It’s the second time in six months I’ve had that dream. It wasn’t an exact duplicate, some of the less important details were missing and one or two of the important facts were altered.

It woke me, this nightmare, and it troubled me so much I was unable to sleep again afterwards.

So I’ve been up since a little before 06.00.

I think the bad night-time experience has probably added to my general feeling of… whatever this is.

And I’ve sneezed quite a bit today, when sneezing isn’t normally even a daily occurrence.

But I don’t know if the whole ‘not quite right’ thing is physical, mental or psychological.

I just know that I’m at sixes and sevens.

And according to a certain film on ITV2 right now, I’ve just relearned that Joan of Arc was Noah’s wife.



  • Rewrite the last two chapters of novel #2 because the ending I am unhappy with has its roots in the penultimate section
  • Travel to Stoke to look at a horse
  • Meet Hayley at the yard at 5pm so she can see how Vin’s dressage and jumping saddles feel
  • Record this weekend’s podcast (won’t be released until the weekend, though)


  • Mid-morning: Optician check-up
  • Evening: Start a run of CuBase evening classes in Oxford

Day after:

  • Fly to Italy


  • Fly home

So I am still here

At home.

Not ‘still here’ as in the slogan that one of my T-Shirts bears: ‘Not Dead Yet’. Although, coincidentally, I am actually ‘not dead yet’ too.

But that wasn’t the point behind my comment.

What I meant was I am still not well enough to go back to work, my internal thermostat veers from one extreme to the other which sends me in to feverishly sweating fits whilst instructing my brain that I’m freezing my cute little bum off.

And I keep falling asleep; just sitting here trying to read Important Things, then my head goes down and I’m off to another place for a minute or two.

I have written to my agent telling him to kindly inform the publisher that she should stick her head up a dead bear’s bum because I’m not switching genders; I don’t care if more women buy books than men, that’s not the point.

I feel like shite. Health-wise I mean, not about the publisher thing.

One minute I’m hungry but before I can do anything about it I’m not interested in food at all and the thought of eating makes me feel even more unwell.  WTF’s that all about?


Can you go out and find people who will lend us their ears? The audience of the little podcast (This Reality Podcast) that the cute (but slightly potty-mouthed) Soph and I co-present has, according to Google’s stats service, gone mental.

What we need is just less than 3,000 new listeners/subscribers/downloaders – 2,721 to be precise – because that would, unbelievably, take is over the 100,000 listeners milestone.

The podcast had a marketing push three weeks before the Cornbury Festival with a small campaign in a couple of universities. That seems to have added about 10,000 listeners, though God knows why. And our cunning strategy (not!) of walking around the Cornbury Festival with cameras and our microphone/recorder rig, interviewing random people and giving out our flashcards seems to have added just over 8,000.

Since the podcast website was redesigned the amount of web-traffic has gone through the roof (you wouldn’t believe how many people google ‘Radio 1 presenter changes’ every day!).

We’ve expanded the News and Reviews sections to be comfortable with the wider music-based world, so if you would like to write for the website just drop me/it/us a line (all roads lead to Rome, to take an old metaphor and adapt it to a 21st Century telecommunications environment).

The podcast is what accounting experts would call ‘finance neutral’. This means we pay nothing out and receive no income. Soph and I like this state of affairs and plan on keeping the Status Quo. Which reminds me that we’ve never actually played any Status Quo, despite having a PRS licence which would enable us to do so. Is not playing Status Quo a good or a bad thing? Discuss.

But the reason I mentioned money is to illustrate that because we have no income we can’t actually pay you for your time/effort if you do decide you’d like to write for us. Or if you decide you’d like to record audio to be included in the podcast. I mean you could do that as well as writing for it, we just wouldn’t be able to pay you, that’s all.


So the podcast sits there, 2,721 short of the magic 100k subscribers.

I don’t know why I said ‘magic’ because it’s not as if Hermione is going to suddenly appear in front of me and start removing her clothes, is it?

No, of course not.


Oh, sorry, I seem to have drifted off for a moment. And wandered considerably off-topic though for the life of me I can’t think what the topic was.

Health? Being not dead? The two could be one and the same anyway.

Did you know that the longest sand spit in the world is in the Baltic Sea just off Kaliningrad, and it is a fraction under 100 km long.

One hundred kilometres.


Yes, I know that there’s a website that claims that the Dungeness spit in Washington is, at a mere five miles, the world’s longest, but they were obviously going for an entry in the Guinness Book of World Records under the heading ‘how wrong can they be?’ when they wrote that nonsense.

Fascinating place, Kaliningrad.

I need to get outside. It’s stopped raining so I’ll see how I feel after a walk around the green.

Oh, and how disappointed do I feel that the big grey chap won’t be coming to live with us?