Good thick porridge.

Cup of tea.

It’s four in the morning.

Don’t worry.  If I keep my cool, I’ll get through this.  The idea is to slow down to get to a point as close to standstill as is consistent with – living itself.

I mean, generally, at this time, not just over this night.

I have the practicalities – the shopping, the housework – those things you must do to keep on eating – and be able to continue making your way through the mire, to your back doorstep, and your garden – careful does it there – watch your bones.

And – most importantly – so you can make it upstairs to where your computer is – your work station, in effect, where you chip away, chip away, hoping that not too many trains come through.  (I have had nightmares about trains.)

There has been plenty of bright sunshine, showing up old cobwebs.

But – do a bit here, a bit there – piece things together – start at one end, but don’t stay there – as it suits you – as you can – as you must –


‘The Dave Clarke Five’ – ‘bits and pieces . . . bits and pieces’ – how did it go?

And I had the ‘pieces’ thing.

And the ‘bit’ thing.

I must have been thirteen when that came out – some age like that – my Maths isn’t so good – I was born in 1951.  Maybe I was fourteen.

Mam used to say ‘fourteen’ was a funny age.  I don’t know about that, myself, and I knew I was a kid, and yet I loved Dave Clarke.

Having thought of this, and put this together, in my mind, with other ‘bits and pieces’ discourses that I’ve been telling myself – it does matter –

It is another brick in that brick wall my therapist said I’d build.

No, no – I’ve got that wrong.  She said I would knock one down.

I’m pretty much not sure what to write next, so disrupted do I feel.

The insomnia, yes – but that was a three-pronged point of culmination.  I had a cold.  It was a worse cold than I’d had for some time.  Colds were doing the rounds.  It was a knock-out one where I’d go for a ‘little lie-down’ and – bang – I’d be away, sleeping for hours.  And then again – I’d go and lie down and – bang –

My lack of consciousness over this was weird – I didn’t seem to learn from past – recent – experience.  It was as though the cold itself took over – if I’d been out in the street I’d have dropped down –

No.  I exaggerate.

But it was a strong cold.

And I couldn’t eat!

I ‘made myself’ eat, but the spoonful of cauliflower cheese in the middle of a vast plate – it looked alien, as though it could never belong to me, never become a part of me.

Oh – all this only lasted in its ferocity for a few days – but it did put me out – and then there was a long recovery of a few weeks where a sore breathing tube extended its distress to my chest from which . . .

Sorry.  (Got to apologise.)  You probably feel sick with all this detail.

Maybe that was why, with all that sleeping over two or three days – yes, that, I see, saved to the other extreme – insomnia, full blown, for three nights running –

I’m making this up as I go along but I think it sounds plausible – maybe that was it.

I’m in the process of filling in my old pond in the garden.

There is a lack of soil but the two pot-ponds are almost in, and I have discovered, at the other end, a lined sunken bit that was going to be, I remember now, my bog garden.

That didn’t exactly work out all those years ago – which reminds me – I did have a candleabra-whatsit-whatsit there – looks like I’ve lost it.

You can’t harbour them all.

Anyway – there was compacted soil in that dread spot, which I have dug out, and put in some of the old-pond space.

I have many and varied pebbles from a (nearby) sands, which should not have been taken, but there was the cat then, and the fish in the water, and something of a barrier had to be made between the two – but I am getting into my history too much – that is already written – somewhere.  I need large coffers – no, that’s not quite it – chests – to keep my writing pages in – yes – I have it all on paper as well as on USB sticks and on the computer-proper – no, it’s a desktop –


Insomnia.  There is medication that I take for it (herbal) over there in that drawer.

I was going to say that I’m not going to take it, but I just have.  I’m sick of medicating myself, but that seems preferable to seeking anything stronger – oh, I am being so – ordinarily – sensible? – even thinking of that – look, words fail me because I am so tired.

No.  I’ve been through the whole gamut of sleeping tablets from the doctor – they give you those – ‘just-to-make-you-drowsy’ (they say it in a ‘comforting’ voice – there, there – you’ll be all better again soon . . .)

But this has been years that – I can’t think straight – I am so tired –

Doctors haven’t done so well with me with the sleeping-thing – and I prefer to find what I can elsewhere now – bricolage – an art of – what was it? – things found – herbal tablets found, as it were – in a health shop – in that – there’s a sense that – there is no guarantee with them, you see – there is something of a guarantee with the doctor-medication – it is officially endorsed – except that is worthless, that guarantee, as guarantees often are – with me, in this case – I don’t want to give my entire medical history, but I had that exquisite sense of misery – was it yesterday?

Which I batted aside – I can’t afford to let that linger.

I’m supposed to be looking after myself here – don’t you worry; I can do it – just need to empty anxieties on to this page.

But it changes everything, insomnia, you know.  This may be the third night running I have been awake – and if I wake enough to go downstairs and get the cup of tea (already done that), then it’s a couple of hours up.

Hello, birdies!  Yes.  Dawn chorus now – oh the wonders of nature – I’m too hot – window is open, but the birds sing so nicely just outside it.

Yes.  You don’t function the same if you have insomnia.  You can be going along in a certain direction.  Insomnia changes it.

I haven’t been troubled by it for ages – assurances now – I’m okay – I am – but you get that panicky feeling if you think you’re going to become stuck with this insomnia-thing again.

No.  I don’t want to tell you everything about it – I want some shreds of privacy.

There’s nothing else for it.  I’m aching – yes, I get the proverbial aches and pains.

Painkillers.  Whatever will knock me out.  Must sleep.

What was I thinking just then?  There was something that is preventing me from sleeping.

It is late at night, maybe at the turn of midnight (late for me) and I am handwriting this, sitting in my chair beside the computer table – oh, there is too much to explain here, and they say you should trim, but I want this continued flow that will surely make me feel better.

It was some man I have known that I was thinking about, when I was lying there, in the bed.

And now I come to where I can’t disclose – I thought I should – I wrote it – but I got rid of an entire potential post because there was too much disclosure there that I didn’t want to make.

This man – I can’t remember now but I know I felt that he did not, for some reason, deserve to be thought of kindly by me.

Until I can think of who I mean, this writing is pointless.

I feel.

But it brought back memories, this thinking of him, of when, for quite a few years, I allowed myself – wrong word –


The wind is up, outside – gusty.

And – I daren’t look at the time.

Insomnia.  I have – no – this isn’t real, as I write.

I must take another painkiller.


In lieu of saying nothing – and here is the title.