Ruth Walker: Some of the things I learn at 4am

Ruth Walker. Picture: Ian Georgeson
Ruth Walker. Picture: Ian Georgeson
Share this article
Have your say

I BLAME the wine. Not quite enough to knock me out for the night, if you know what I mean, but enough to mess with my system.

I remember reading somewhere (actually, maybe I wrote it – it’s all a blur) that the liver cleanses itself in the wee small hours, so that unasked for early morning wake-up call is your poor organs trudging through the toxic car crash of cheap alcoholic beverages and canapés that make up the bulk of the festive diet.

The result is that, while I’m drooling contentedly into my pillow by 9.30pm, by 1.52am I’m tossing and turning, acres of excess Egyptian cotton (the super king-size cover was a TK Maxx bargain of the decade but, much like the size 4 Hunter wellies I got for my size 6 feet on the same shopping trip, entirely unfit for purpose) twisted round my legs like a boa constrictor with a bad case of trapped wind.

Hello Christmas party season. When will you be finished with me? (Answer: not yet.)

It’s happened for the past three nights on the trot. Wide awake, house in darkness, cat snoring peacefully in the crook of my knees as I wonder what to do with the hours stretching before me.

So I do, obvs, what any other sane, modern person of the world would do. I check Twitter. Facebook. Emails. I think about what I’ll wear that day (and that night – Lord help my liver, another night out). Try to get back to sleep. Fail. By this time the cat’s getting fed up of my fidgeting so decamps to one of the children’s beds – they slept through the Red Arrows doing a fly-past about 100 feet from their bedroom windows a couple of years ago so are unlikely to be disturbed any time soon.

I must snooze a little, because the next time I look at the glowing numbers by the bedside, it’s 3.44am.

I check Twitter again.

Here are some of the things I learn at 4am. The average child is able to lie convincingly at four years old. Depressed people are more likely to get colds than happy people. I can get 70 per cent off at Marc Jacobs NOW!!! People who spend more time checking Facebook, Twitter and emails are more likely to be depressed. You can dress up a cat with an elasticated mane to make it look like a lion (it’s really very cute – note to self: hunt down cat in the morning).

Scrolling further down this random selection of mind-expanding non-information, a word catches my eye. A word from some other insomniac hack’s nocturnal musings, and before I can stop myself I’m on iTunes downloading tracks from my past; tracks I’m certain will make me a mahoosive hit at the office karaoke party. Rock on.

It can’t be long before I fall asleep again, because next thing I know the radio’s on and a grey dawn is squeezing through the shutters. Bleary-eyed, the morning routine kicks in. It’s not till I’m walking to work, iPod on shuffle, that the night’s adventures come back to me. Seriously? Pat Benatar? Hit Me With Your Best Shot?

The office party won’t know what’s hit it.