Monday, August 18, 2008

Sleepwalking

Dear Wifey,
Holiday season so far slightly disastrous. A week in France. Hmm, well, on the upside there was one day when nobody vomitted or wept courtesy of strange viral headache. So that was good. Seven-year-old's vomitting into tupperware box (luckily we had a lid) so extreme we were forced to divert into Accident and Emergency en route home. Finally arrived back in Northumberland on Sunday night, only to come down with bug myself Monday. That marks the end of holidays abroad until the children are teenagers and refuse to go with us anyway.

Week back working including pre-recorded appearance on the Steve Wright In the Afternoon Show. Steve Wright was very nice. Think I may have seemed utterly scatty on account of being in the grip of a protracted spell of insomnia. Arrived at London hotel around 1am, got to bed at 2am, got to sleep at 5am, woken up by hotel fire alarm 7.30am. Consequently so zombied out, I had to drink entire pot of tea with hotel breakfast then staggered into a cafe for a double espresso and a cappuccino chaser, followed by a BBC black coffee. This was not a good move. I pogo'd into a place where I completely lost my short-term memory. That is to say I would answer a question and, seconds later, be entirely unable to remember both my answer and the question itself. Later, over lunch in a dark Soho basement with my agent, he said "Pass me that bottle of water", pointing at a bottle of water slumped on the bench between me and the man sitting next to me. I shook my head slightly and said to my agent: "That's his water." I thought: "Why would you want to drink a stranger's water?" My agent said: "It's our bottle of water." I said: "It's his water." He said slowly: "It arrived on the table at the start of the meal and you put it on the bench. Can't you remember doing that? I am so not buying you any more coffee." That was the point I started worrying about what I might have said during the interview (time code o2:39ish on Wednesday, 13th).

Third week then - a wet week in Yorkshire. Despite various media attempts to paint me as a Cockney sparrow, I was born and bred in inner-city Leeds. When I was growing up, we would take the Jack Russell for a walk in the countrypark at the top of the hill, and whirl him round and round as he hung by his teeth from a slavery yellow rubber ball. Why would we drive to the Dales or the Moors? It was never thought of - watching Emmerdale was as close as we got. Now I am all grown-up, I thought: "I know we will go to Yorkshire for a holiday." I do not find staying in a hotel or holiday cottage with three children entirely stress-free so we decided instead to swap houses with friends. It is quite strange living in someone else's family home. It is as if you have woken up in someone else's life. Someone who has travelled more than we have (lots of mementoes from far away places), someone who is more musical than we are (three guitars and an electric piano), someone who doesn't watch as much TV as we do (no Sky). I thought: "Next time we do this, I am laying a false trail. I am hiding the widescreen TV and leaving lots of really heavyweight books on the state of the economy lying around the house. I am buying in health food that needs to be sprouted, and leaving a sex diary out in black leatherette all marked up with red asterisks and acronyms." That is, if I ever go away again, of course. I think I would have been more relaxed had my insomnia still not been so bad. My husband has started to complain that at the point I wake up (which tends to be around 1.30 to 2am), I have started beating a tattoo on his head (till I go back to sleep about three hours later). I do not mean to beat a tattoo, I am merely thinking about everything I have to do and occasionally I gesticulate. I need to turn off the narrative, but I wake up and the voice starts. Not voices. I do not hear voices. Just one voice - my own, talking about what it is I should be doing or have been doing or have entirely forgotten to do. I am incredibly dull company and outrageously persistent as dull company often proves to be.
best wishes
Wifey

17 comments:

Crystal Jigsaw said...

Enjoyed listening to the interview, you didn't sound scatty at all, you came across brilliantly. As always.

CJ xx

Kitschen Pink said...

I recently ran around Tesco car park in a panic. I had just parked the trolley and now my child was not strapped in his car seat where I had left him - turns out I had returned to the wrong car - I can't even blame insomnia, but I might start to do so! Can you give me a ring around 2am? t.x

Fat, frumpy and fifty... said...

Yes!! I call this voice my MENTALIST MIND...so full on, I'm in danger of imploding..itslike an auto self distruct mode..UNLESS ....

you realise it...and then you're safe..or at least l think so...swat l'm telling myself...see..mentalistic thinking..good innit!? LOL

btw I was on steve wright once, (pure muppetry my dear!) and I waffled and fled...he the ultimate pro...edited the piece and I was humbled and grateful...mentalist muppet mode...!!

softinthehead said...

Welcome back - reading your book here in Canada and loving it :)

Potty Mummy said...

It's a boring suggestion but have you tried keeping a notebook by the bed (or, in a Madonna styley, a Blackberry). And it definitely helps to stop blogging at 9pm. Shxt. It's 11.30.

Heather said...

I agree with FF&F. We all have muppetry moments (I blame mine on the hot flushes).
However, as a psycho(therapist, that is), I am rather worried about you and would recommend you 'get a grip' before it's too late. LOL

We're all loving the book - but don't want you entertaining us at the cost of your health.

Jeff said...

What day was the Steve Wright interview (so we can listen to it on delayed playback)?

wife in the north said...

re heather: am trying. can't you just send pills?

re jeff: played out
wednesday 13th august. You can go to home page of Steve Wright. At the minute it is on Listen Again but they will take it down today probably (time code 02:39ish to 02:45ish). Trying hard to get hold of audio and put it up on site.

Flutterby said...

The interview on Steve Wright sounded just fine. Looking forward to the next interview you do.

lucy lowe said...

hi there
I love your blog, just found it via Reuters. It's great to hear that someone else who relocated made a success of their new life too.

BTW, I also get whirlly brain insomnia and it's no fun. I use valerian to break the cycle, you get the pills in boots, health food shops and online. I find a few nights without sleep makes me ill, so I use this for two nights or so and it helps to calm me down.

And back when we were wise women living on the edge of the settlement, people who couldn't sleep were given valerian tea to help them calm down.
http://www.medic8.com/complementary/valerian.htm
Well worth a go.
Cheers
Charon

ros said...

hi judith, have just finished reading your book, really loved it, very unputdownable! any more in the offing? pleeeeaaaasssse !
thankyou for your book. ros x

Frances said...

Finished reading your book on the sandy shores of Lake Tahoe, on my week away from the home-based writer's life with my two teenage boys and ten year old in tow, plus two extra teens. Loved the book and how honest you are - especially the part when the vicar had you in to smack your blogger's hand over tea and biscuits. I also blog from a transplanted, writer mum's perspective (only I ended up leaving the UK for California) and am very conscious of blogging within a close community and the implications of being critical of local life. The biggest amount of trouble I have made so far is to slam the local 'Victorian' style tea room, which is hideous in the extreme. Launched a whole new Boston Tea Party feud with a couple of anti-British broads.

what happened ?how did i get HERE? said...

I cannot switch my brain off. Can pretend to when boyfriend stays over...takes great will power to pretend to be asleep...and not to fidget...however when he isn't there, I thrash about, make tea and listen to radio 4 and then the world service till dawn...merlot in large quantities helps, but this solution needs to be rationed or therein lies liver failure...! sign of intelligence I say...and a slide into madness!!

DogLover said...

WITN has burst into print again!

Welcome back! Enjoyed the interview and the book has explained a lot of things I was too lazy to go back into your blogland to read!

MsCatCalls said...

Melatonin , which Ive been taking recently for migraines , gives a great night's sleep . Might be worth trying for a few nights to break your pattern . Thanks to Aims btw who put me onto it in the first place !
Love the blog , must read whole book soon its on my list ....

Swearing Mother said...

Dear Wifey,

As you will see by the time of this comment, I too am suffering from the dreaded insomnia but in my case it isn't because I've become a famous best-selling author and have a list of things to do, places to go and interesting people to see. I am just plain mad with sleep deprivation for no worthwhile reason at all.

Unfortunately.

Thank goodness you're blogging again, at least I've got something to read at this godforsaken hour.

BTW, hope the USA book launch went OK. I wish I hadn't read it so quickly because now would be a really good time to have a book I enjoyed as much as yours.

purpletrumpet said...

you're perfectly normal Wifey and don't get a grip coz you're jsut being you. You remind me of me with the coffe and absent mindedness and stuff. I work nights and fell like that all the time. It's like being on some sort of obscure planet.a nd it feels rather nice sometimes!