It is 2.25am on a Tuesday morning. I am blissfully asleep having a very pleasant dream about cricket. When I am awoken by a nudge in my ribs. Now there are two potential scenarios here firstly, my wife has just turned over in bed and nudged me accidentally in the ribs, or secondly, my wife is awake and wants to share her frustration at this by waking me up as well. I kind of shuffle and try and get back to sleep, hoping that it’s the first thing.
Bugger it’s the second one.
“Are you awake?” – she is whispering – now there are two ways out of this situation, firstly I could say ever so sprightly, “Yes of course, I’ve been awake for hours and was just thinking about cleaning the bathroom, as time is getting on and I want to have a trifle made by 4am” or secondly, I could snore and pretend to be fast asleep.
I choose the first one, only I say “Just” and then add “What’s Up?”. My wife is sitting up in the marital bed. “I heard a noise” she said.
“What sort of noise?” I ask, conscious of the fact that seven minutes ago, I might have shouted ‘”HOWZAT!” in my dream and it come out as something different.
“A bump outside on the driveway it sounded like someone moving something”.
Folks the only thing on my driveway is two cars, two wheelie bins, and a potted tree. It wasn’t the cars being moved and I doubt anyone wants the wheelie bins. We also live in the middle of nowhere so it would quite a long way to carry the potted tree.
“Its probably a cat” I say and turn over, and as I do the security light outside my house comes on, illuminating the whole room. The light is supposed to cat proof – and Rol – like the self-cleaning socks, I have no idea how it works – Suddenly I’m interested. I get up and walk to the window. I can’t see anything, I mean I can see the driveway, but nothing unusual.
“You’ll have to go and check” she says. Right, I think. Great. “Oh, and darling” she says, turning over and looking really snuggly, “put some clothes on first, you don’t want a repeat of the 1997 Guildford flashing incident”. This is true. In 1997, I once accidentally flashed to a bunch of old ladies at a Bus Stop in Guildford by getting dressed in front of the window, not realising the curtains were not fully drawn. My wife doesn’t seem so afraid of the noise and lights anymore.
I get dressed, well half-dressed and venture outside, there is nothing there, I feel stupid as I grab a small piece of wood from the hedge and dramatically pull back the wheelie bin to reveal nothing but an old crisp packet on the floor, I am realise that I am actually quite scared. I walk round the side of the house and again there is nothing. The security goes dark again plunging me into complete darkness, which freaks me out and causes me to trip over a badly placed hosepipe. Luckily I fall over and set the security light off again, so despite having a twisted ankle, I can at least see it swelling up.
I hobble round to the front again, when something moves in the tree/hedge at the front. It’s not a human for two reasons, firstly, it’s far too brambly in that hedge for anything human and secondly, I’m pretty sure human’s don’t have four legs. I hobble over a peer through the hedge to see a fox legging it across the neighbours lawn towards the farm across the road. I swear and wander back inside.
I get back to bed and then I realise that there is a four year old where I should be. I sigh and squeeze into the space left at the end, my daughter obviously having doubled in size and length since she went to bed last night. I start to doze.
“Daddy”, “Daddy” I shake my head, my daughter is now awake, I look at the clock, it is ten past three. I have been back in bed for twelve minutes.
“Yes, darling, what is it?”
“I can’t sleep, can you read me a story?” My wife is doing the second of the scenarios detailed above by pretending to be blissfully snoozing away. I feel her grinning at me in the darkness, as I sigh and move the cuddly toy owl from my pillow.
I eventually agree to read her a story back in her own room across the hallway. It’s a good story about a dog who could fly and by the time I finish she is asleep I slowly stand up and creep to the door. It is half past three.
“Daddy” I stop. “Why could the dog fly?”
I turn around and sit back down and explain the story to my daughter. One hour later she is finally back to sleep. It has taken two games of I spy, and a further story about a cat who catches a burglar. I also realise that my daughter is holding my hand and now I am afraid to let go of it in case she wakes up. It is about twenty past four and its getting cold. I also need a piss.
It is five am when I finally get back into my bed, some two and a half hours, after the nudge in the ribs. The bed is at least warm and comfy. I lay on my back, wide awake, smiling, I feel alright, yes I have to get up in about an hour, but I have settled the nerves of not one but two people already today.
“Darling”, a sleepy voice says
“Yes, my love” I say chirpily
“The lights come back on….”
Here are the three songs that have been selected by Mrs SWC this week. All of which are marvellous, particularly the second one.
Not My Idea – Garbage
The North Pole – The Walkmen
Faith – I Break Horses