Somewhere a little shy of 4am on Monday morning, I awoke to the sound of someone energetically shovelling gravel into the back of a lorry.
Why would anyone do that?
I got up to go scowl at the window, in the hope that the sight of a naked and clearly angry middle-aged woman might stop them in their tracks. Then I realised. There was no gravel. There were no shovellers. Bloke was snoring.
He doesn’t do it often; usually it’s when he’s been ‘in drink’. On this occasion, it was caused by his cold or should I say my ex-cold – and admit, right now, that therefore, his snoring was all my own fault?)
He doesn’t snore as much as the first husband, the man on whom I discovered a sure-fire way to tackle the problem.
I am most certainly not recommending you do this at home (I can’t afford the litigation), but pinching a puffing, grunting Billy’s nostrils together has always worked for me.
What happens is this: I get a few seconds of blissful, absolute silence before the snorer’s survival instinct kicks in. Deprived of oxygen, he suddenly opens his mouth and gulps a huge breath (all without waking up).
At this point, I gently push him over onto his side where, amazingly, the still-slumbering beast quietly breathes away. No tonsil-gargling for a few hours at least.
It sound like waterboarding, the CIA’s preferred method of torture on alleged Al-Qaeda suspects, only without the water, a colleague opined.
He insinuated I was cruel, but sleep deprivation makes you resort to desperate measures. And as if I don’t get woken up enough in the middle of the night. There are the hot flushes still threatening spontaneous combustion and the trips to the loo.
Then there are the muffled little wimpers and wups from the dog, who has taken a liking to sleeping in our bedroom.
Mid doggy dream, his little legs do a mock run and he does this internal barking thing. It’s cute in the daytime; you imagine he’s imagining rabbits. At night, it’s not. You lie in the dark, imagining how peaceful life would be without a dog.
And then, I must confess, there are my own snores. Every so often, I’m aware that I’ve uttered a little noise.
It’s not anywhere close to my husband’s spade grating on Tarmac as it scoops up stone chippings impersonation. But that impromptu sound wakes me up in a panic; did I rouse any of the slumbering creatures to right and left? Am I about to get my nostrils clamped?
In the same way we should never sweat or pass wind for fear of being unlady-like, women aren’t supposed to snore, so a cure has been recommended by a sage from Mexborough.
A snorer should go to bed in a back-to-front T-shirt with a tennis ball in its breast pocket. Presumably this makes them so uncomfortable they can’t get to sleep.
This could only work in Mexborough. It’s full of impressionable folk and is the last bastion of the practical, pocketed T-shirt.