Whirlmind

My brain’s in a whirl this morning. I had a difficult phone call last night and of course woke around five and started mulling it over, composing emails in my mind and making speeches to the darkened air. I wish I could find a way to control my brain but I guess that’s the price you pay for creativity. Some people worry about the gas bill; I compose limericks and try to rhyme weird words with other weird words. Though I have been known to worry about the gas bill as well.

I’ve been making more of a conscious effort to be eco-friendly of late; I go round the house turning off radiators and putting on more layers if I’m cold. The pandemic has been good in that I haven’t driven anywhere – my mileage in the last year must be less than 300 and since December the furthest I’ve been is down to the supermarket for my ‘click and collect’ order. Which reminds me, I need to put in another one… but I’m starting to worry that the battery will go flat, so today I’m going to take her out for a short spin and blow-dry and have a walk by the canal to clear my head.

That’s all for today. I can’t assemble any thoughts. So how have you been?

Kirk out

A Heroine? In My Dreams!

I had one of those nights last night. I woke at 3.30 needing to pee (it’s a constant aggravation having to empty one’s bladder in the middle of the night) and instantly my brain did that standing to attention thing and saluted smartly at some incoming ideas. Why do ideas choose the ungodly hour of 3 am? Don’t answer that – I already know why. It’s because there are no distractions, and because the brain has been chuntering away during the hours of sleep and like an eager intern who’s been working through her lunch hour, presents me with a whole sheaf of new thoughts.

I know this kind of wakefulness. I know it has to run its course and that after a while you may get a window of opportunity to try to sleep some more. So I lay and sifted through the ideas – a process which of course generates more ideas – for about an hour and a half. I can’t absolutely swear I didn’t nod off for a bit during that time but I don’t think I did; after a while I’d had enough and decided to hit the old noggin with some sleep techniques. I have a few of these, garnered from Paul McKenna’s book, so I started with counting down from 300 to zero – and by the time I’d got to 99 I was in a swimming pool. I’d finished my swim and was just about to get out. There was another woman in there but nobody else, just the male lifeguard. Another man came in and both men began to harass the other woman. Right, I thought. I climbed out of the water and strode towards the exit where the men were. ‘There’s a door there,’ I said to one of them. ‘I’m going to walk through it and you are going to let me.’ I wasn’t entirely sure this would work, but he just said nothing and let me pass. Out in the corridor I called the police.

Next thing I remember, a police officer is congratulating me. He’s played by an actor from the schlocky drama I’ve been watching, Industry. This does not seem strange to me. ‘Well done,’ he says, ‘you’ve just saved a woman from being raped.’

Then I go to work and everyone stands round applauding my actions. This is very gratifying. Next thing, I’m on my way home and preparing to tell OH all about it but before I get there I wake up and realise it’s not real.

And the moral of the story is… if you’re going to have a disturbed night it’s always better to end up with a vivid dream, especially one where you’re the hero.

Kirk out

Just When You Think It’s Safe…

Just when you think it’s safe to get back into bed at 4 am after doing a pee, you get bashed on the head by an all-lights-blazing, 100% full-on supercharged bout of wakefulness. At four o-bloody clock! What sort of time do you call this? I asked my brain as it insisted, like a toddler on Christmas Day morning, that it’d had quite enough sleep and was now bouncing around ready to start the day and unwrap all its presents. Except that there weren’t any presents. Go back to sleep! I told it grumpily. It’s not time to get up yet. So I lay down and tried all the usual tricks: putting my hands in the sleep mudra:

https://lizardyoga.files.wordpress.com/2020/06/077fd-shaktimudra.jpg
Image removed on request https://lizardyoga.files.wordpress.com/2020/06/077fd-shaktimudra.jpg

counting down from 300 and reliving yesterday backwards whilst talking to myself in a very drowsy voice. Nope. Not having it; nothing worked – until about 6.30 just after OH got up when I finally lapsed into a sort of hallucinogenic doze with some spangled dreams which I can’t now remember, then when OH came in with the tea trying to calculate how much time spent in spangled hallucinogenic dreams counteracts two and a half hours of solid wakefulness. I am not a happy bunny.

In other news, after a long war of attrition in which OH tried every which way to debate with a friend on Facebook about BLM and other issues (I unfriended this person after they made rude jokes about orthodox Jews) OH has finally broken ties and unfriended them! Kudos to OH; this was a long time coming and whilst nobody wants to live in an echo chamber, this particular guy had crossed so many lines that he definitely had it coming. Would that it were so easy in real life… I’ll leave you with Al Stewart’s thoughts on the subject.

Kirk out

Sleeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee

How and why does the time so fly?  It has been six days since my last post and I don’t know where they went.  The days whisk past like leaves blown off a calendar: I can hardly remember what I did during those six days apart from hosting a 60th birthday party – the rest is a bit of a blur.  Perhaps because of said birthday party…

But alas!  The same cannot be said of my nights.  The nights do not fly by.  The nights crawl on bloodied knees like penitents on pilgrimage; they slouch towards Bethlehem like Yeats’ rough beast; they ooze and creep like lava: in short, I have only to lie my weary bones down in a darkened room for the brain to get up and stand over me with a long to-do list and insist on checking off every item and discussing them in detail.  Then, having allowed me to doze fitfully until the small hours, it wakes me again with a completely black canvas labelled ‘The Future’.  There’s no arguing with this blackness: I know very well that at this hour the blood-sugar levels are lowest, conspiring with the lack of daylight to produce Unbalanced Visions, but still it refuses to go away.  And once I’ve spent an hour or two wrestling with it, the clock is creeping uncomfortably close to seven.

374px-chronic_insomnia-_ask_your_doctor_6798221560

At such times, catching up with sleep becomes the main purpose of my day.  Normal life is gone and will resume at that point where sleep is sufficiently caught up with: but that point recedes like a desert horizon as I advance towards it.  It’s as if my mind is being managed by the most tyrannical of bosses.  Whatever I try, he’s got the answer.  Meditation? – all I need to do is hit you over the head enough times and you’ll soon stop.  Relaxation?  Fine, go ahead – you’ll never manage to relax me.  And so on.  I feel for insomniacs, I really do – because it takes over your life.  Sleep becomes your raison d’etre.  Sleep and only sleep.

And yet no-one really knows why we do it.  It’s not just in order to rest: if it were, we’d feel sufficiently replenished after an afternoon’s sun or an evening’s telly.  No; as a yoga teacher of mine used to say, the body needs rest, but the mind needs sleep.

Everyone knows that without sleep you eventually go mad.  It’s the easiest form of torture and nowadays sleep seems harder and harder to get: we are more stimulated, more subject to noise and stress than ever before, and our sleep suffers.

I’m not like this all the time.  I have periods where I sleep quite well: I know what it is to wake in the morning feeling refreshed.  And my techniques do work – at least some of the time.  But when that bastard brain gets it into his head to torment me – well, then I’ve had it.  But I’m not giving in.  I’ll beat the bastard yet.

Kirk out

The Tumbleweeds

Once upon a time there was a terrible comedy troupe called The Grumbleweeds.  They were utterly corny and combined music and comedy in a new and awful way.  They were nearly as bad as the Barron Knights, who did song parodies.  And apparently the Grumbleweeds are still going.  It’s hard to know whether the blurb on their website is for real or ironic when it talks about them having ‘dominated the UK comedy scene since the 1960’s.’  You could have fooled me.  Any number of comics are around nowadays and I haven’t heard a whisper of the ‘Weeds for decades.  Apparently, for The Grumbleweeds, who continue to enjoy tremendous success in the business, 1998 marked an exciting change in their career. After 25 yrs in show business, as a five piece musical band, the group decided that the time was right to make a major change in direction.
Drawing on all their years of experience and know how, they developed, up dated, and introduced a sparkling new, fast moving act, embracing the entire spectrum of entertainment, to take them into the millennium with a vengeance.’

So now we know.

Oh dear oh dear.

http://www.thegrumbleweeds.co.uk/us.html

And why am I so grumbly this morning, you may ask?  Well, it may have something to do with the hours of sleep I’ve missed.  I keep waking around four and after peeing my brain starts hammering away at something and then I figure I might as well sit up and start writing my diary.

At around four am I tend to be grappling with fears: and one of them is what you might call a tumbleweed fear.  It goes like this: my dreams come true and I’m a famous writer: I’m on TV being interviewed by Andrew Marr after winning the Nobel Prize for Literature.  Out of nowhere I say something so unbelievably idiotic that everyone just gapes.  The silence stretches on and on; a tumbleweed moment.

Hence the title.

So once I’ve grappled with all that stuff it it gets to about six and there’s not much point in going back to sleep.  So at the moment I’m deciding to go with this pattern and try to sleep a little in the afternoons.

It’s not much, but it’s a life…

Incidentally I once saw Stephen Fry deal very cleverly with stage-fright: he came on to rapturous applause and immediately (and comically) began to reel off a list of all his worst fears: fainting, vomiting all over the audience, saying something deeply inappropriate…  That last one is my worst fear.

So that’s it for today my little sugar plum fairies.  I wish you all a very sparkly Wednesday.

Kirk out

Today’s Guest Poem

As promised, here is today’s guest poem by Graham:

A Poem in Your Head Can Keep You From Your Bed

by Graham Gee Connolly, mentored by Liz Gray

When the lights go out, next thing I’m writing a rhyme

for it has to be in that moment of time;

if I don’t, the words go away –

write them down or they’ll be gone the next day;

my brain just works that way,

it’s just day after day.

Poems can be written from the past;

putting the words on paper they will always last;

poems can be instantly written

for words are never forbidden,

just seize the moment in time,

not recording them is a wasteful crime.

I try to go back to sleep

but my brain has been working for week after week

I go to JCB: my brain is tired –

I wonder if my brain’s retired?

I pretend to keep my mind on the job

I have to be professional: I can’t be a slob

I have to be at JCB all of the day

that’s how I earn my monthly pay.

Write the poem out of my head

it can be adjusted, then read.

Poem’s just like a machine,

it can run like a dream;

flow of the engine will show

enjoyment of the poem will grow

if you don’t put the words on paper it’s a wasted rhyme.

(c) Graham Gee Connolly, 2014

A Poem for Proust

I did not sleep well: woke up at please-don’t-let-it-be-4-am-again-oh-clock! and couldn’t get back to sleep for several aeons.  While lying there my consciousness began thudding.  You know how it is: you tell yourself you need to pee and go straight back to sleep, but in defiance of your every wish, your brain begins to stir.  You watch it in horror, like some rough beast, its hour come round at last; some monster in a cave that you’ve awoken by shouting too loud.  The monster stirs; it blinks: it stretches and yawns.  Noooooo! you think.  No!  Please stop!  Go back to sleep, nice monster!  You give it some medicine to help it to sleep, you sing to it, you try to lull it to sleep, but it’s no good: the monster’s awake – and while it’s awake, it decides – just of the top of its head (that’s your head) that it might as well give you a couple of lines for a poem.  Perhaps it’s thinking of that other great insomniac, Marcel Proust, because you find yourself searching for a rhyme for his name and coming up with ‘roost’.  The monster wants you to write it down, but you tell him no, you’ll remember it in the morning and now you REALLY, REALLY need to sleep.  So you lie down motionless, developing that super-consciousness of your partner’s every breath and twitch.  You swear you can hear the blood circulating in his body and the air entering his lungs.  You know you can hear the air exiting his colon….  and thus passes a very entertaining hour or so before you fall asleep just in time to be awoken with tea.

To be fair, Mark does get up and make the tea every morning, so I get tea in bed when I wake.

Which is nice.

So that was this morning – and now, having cleaned the bathroom and sliced up a Christmas tree (same old same old) I am ready to start work.

Mark’s strategy for sleep is to listen to the radio; in fact he sleeps like one hooked up to a monitor, with a white wire coming out of his ear and connecting him to the ether.  I could never sleep listening to the radio; it would set my monster off on a journey and he’d never come back.  Soooo…. today I shall be mostly trying to re-format a play wot I wrote last year about a Richard Dawkins-type character who starts to hear the voice of God.  And then I shall probably get on with the Ian Rankin I borrowed because it’s due back on Friday.  So far, it’s pretty good.

Reader Interview

So, now that I’m awake, here’s another reader interview, this time with Facebook friend and Home-Educator Sue Pamp:

Lizardoga:  What would you say was the most important thing about you?

Sue:  Two things – my family and my business.

Lizardyoga:  Who’s in your family?

Sue:  My husband and I have two girls, aged six and fourteen.

Lizardyoga:  What made you decide to home educate?

Sue:  I always wanted to but work kept getting in the way.  Eventually I had the time to do it.

Lizardyoga:  What approach have you taken to HE?

Sue:  I guess you could call it eclectic.  It’s semi-structured with some autonomous learning.  There’s a whole debate around autonomous versus structured learning and we’ve kind of taken a middle course.

Lizardyoga:  Have you got as far as exams?

Sue:  My older daughter is doing IGCSE’s in May

Lizardyoga:  What subjects?

Sue:  English, Drama and History.  For History she has chosen some American topics such as the New Deal and race relations.

Lizardyoga:  Where are you from?

Sue:  I’m Canadian but now settled in Stockport.

Lizardyoga:  What about the business side of things?

Sue:  I’m an entrepreneur.  First I was a freelance nanny, then I did cleaning, office work and admin support before going into Complementary Therapies.

Lizardyoga:   Which therapies did you study?

Sue:  Aromatherapy, homeopathy and herbalism.  But my real interest is in Life coaching and Aromatherapy.  I’m also a mobile nit-nurse using neem-oil to combat headlice.

Lizardyoga:   Headlice are a menace.  I know ours had them.  Anything else you’d like to mention?

Sue:  I’m very keen on Flat Travellers

Lizardyoga:   What is that?  Some kind of flat-sharing?

Sue:  No!  It’s a  a character that is made of paper and fits in an envelope. They are sent to a host family, the host family takes your traveller around with them on everything they do and take some photos.

Lizardyoga:  So I guess it’s a novel way of telling people about what you’re up to

Sue:  Yes.

Lizardyoga:  You seem fairly settled in Britain.  Is there anything you find strange about us?

Sue:  Allotments!  Can’t get my head around that one

Lizardyoga:  LOL!  Anything else?

Sue:  Driving on the left.

Lizardyoga:  Fair enough.  Well, thanks very much Sue.

Sue:  Can you put the links up to my various activities?

Lizardyoga:  Will do.

And here they are:

http://flattravelleradventures.blogspot.co.uk/

www.complementary-therapies.biz

And you can find Sue’s blog at:

http://talesofeducationathome.blogspot.co.uk/

If you would like to be interviewed for this blog, just comment on this post or contact me on Facebook.

Kirk out