I didn't sleep well last night, which is unusual for me as I normally sleep the contented sleep of the righteous.
In fact last night I got less sleep than when Ben was last here and he went to bed later than the rest of us. Tucked up safely in our pits we could hear him trying to negotiate the perils of Rock HQ quietly and in the dark so as not to wake anyone. Eventually the house settled as the noise of him tip toeing up the bare wooden stairs faded into the distance and once we all got over the sounds of his metal door latch finally slamming shut we were able to concentrate on getting some serious shut eye.
Seconds later there was an explosion of swearing and a noise akin to Ben murdering an elephant in his room. I leapt out of bed to assist crossing the landing hoping that he had not brought a girlfriend home and that I wouldn't be interrupting any strange night time games they were engaged in. As I opened his door the barrage of swearing continued and Ben was stood, or rather, was dancing in his boxer shorts on his bed, thankfully he was alone in the room and the cause of his distress was now smeared across the wall. Ben had got into his bed and discovered that a very large wasp had also taken up residence. It took umbrage at having to share and so had retaliated to having its sleep disturbed by stinging him along his leg and back. This came as quite a surprise to Ben and had provoked the response that woke the household. Still, as I helpfully pointed out it was a good experience prior to his jungle training, which is where he is now, he is no doubt sharing his pit with dozens of bitey insects.
Back to last night and my insomnia.
My attempt to sleep didnt get off to a good start when, as I got into bed with my gorgeous wife she snuggled up and whispered "Have you put the birds away?"
The sudden realisation that I had in fact completely forgotten to shut the poultry away was a hammer blow. I dutifully got out of bed and set about the task. An advantage of living in such an isolated rural location is that no one was concerned that an overweight forty something man was wandering about the countryside in his underwear and wellingtons as he rounded up the geese, ducks and hens. Head count over I returned to the warmth of my bed and my now sleeping beauty.
All was well until about 2am when I woke up. Nothing I did could get me back to sleep. Tracey on the other hand was dead to the world. I tried counting sheep but kept focusing on how funny Ebony looks being sheared, she is the black one in the centre of the picture above. I wasn't worrying about anything but my mind just would not switch off and let me sleep.
I must have dozed off because at 3.15am I could see the first threads of dawns light filtering into the room. I lay for a while looking at the light patterns on the ceiling and walls realising that the sunrise takes place the other side of the house and doesn't alternately flash red and blue. Neither does the sunrise to the accompaniment of human voices, boots scrunching in the gravel and diesel engines. Tracey got to the window first. A collection of emergency service personnel were wandering about our yard with powerful torches and an assortment of reflective clothing. A beam of light illuminated Tracey in the window as she called out to them.
"Have you got a sixty year old man up there?" someone shouted. Tracey looked across at me, OK I didn't look my best at half three in the morning but I didn't look that rough to be mistaken for a sixty year old. She shouted down that she didn't and really at this stage she didn't want one, she was alright for men at present. The collection of paramedics, police and mountain rescue personnel having searched the grounds for missing men of pensionable age climbed back into their vehicles. By now the dogs and horses were voicing their opinions loudly on the subject. There was much too-ing and fro-ing of emergency vehicles, eventually the mountain rescue Land Rover reversed down the track and a very apologetic paramedic asked if we could move Rene so they could turn the ambulance around. They disappeared off down the lane leaving us to wonder what on earth was going on.
Perhaps The Oracle, our neighbour was ill again. We have before now driven past to find the air ambulance parked in his garden. This occurs so often that the last time the aircraft was just passing and decided to drop in for a brew. The Oracle has had quadruple by pass surgery on his heart but insists on running his farm, which at times places a bit of strain on the stitches holding his arteries together which leads to another emergency flight across the county.
Eventually we settled back to bed. Tracey fell asleep almost immediately which no doubt she will deny later on and I lay pondering the plight of who ever the emergency services were looking for.
The Bernese alarm clocks decided at 5.34 that they needed to visit the little dogs room in the garden so I gave in and got up.
Currently they are sleeping at my feet, Tracey is fast asleep and I feel like I should be. Especially as tonight I am going out with a gun to wait for the fox.
Me, tired, armed with a lethal weapon, what could possibly go wrong?