I’VE been suffering from insomnia recently.

It happens every once in a while, that churning mind, restless shuffling about in bed, sighing and frowning and fighting with the duvet as you wait for the Sandman to rock up.

After a particularly bad night, I was rather spaced out by the following evening when I rang my mum for our regular catch-up.

Having asked her how she was, and listened to the response (not bad, apparently, the wallpaper’s turned up although they can’t get the radiator off the wall and she’s already booked in for the first of many Christmas socials), I promptly asked her how she was... again.

Explaining my lunacy, I told her I’d had difficulty sleeping the night before.

“What! Why?!” she exclaimed in the accusing tone she usually reserves for when I get a cold (“What! Why have you got a cold? What have you been up to?” Erm, breathing and living in a world where people get colds and spread them...).

She told me in no uncertain terms that I never get insomnia and it’s just not like me not to sleep well. If only mothers were in charge of the world and whatever they said came true.

She went on to tell me that she suffers terribly from insomnia, which I happen to know to be true. Although I can’t help wondering if she didn’t nod off for several hours in the afternoon while claiming to be watching a film, she might sleep better at night. But I’m not the mother in this scenario, so I wouldn’t dare share this theory.

I remember as a kid wondering how on earth Margaret Thatcher coped making major decisions that affected the whole country on just four hours a night. As an adult, I think it explains a lot.

I’m useless on anything less than eight hours. And it truly is a torment when you either can’t fall asleep, or, as happened to me last night, you wake up at 4am and those pesky thoughts start whirring: “I’ve run out of tomatoes. Where is that letter about that hospital appointment? I think I’ve forgotten how to do the double cast-on in knitting. What on earth am I going to write my column about this week? Is there really nothing interesting going on in the world? Maybe I’ve just become really boring. Have I stopped noticing life? I could write about insomnia... no, that’s a rubbish idea...”

Of course it’s normal to find your mind working overtime trying to work out life’s little problems and you would expect people with the most stressful jobs to suffer the most. A surgeon who has lost a patient, for example. Or anyone involved in Trump’s administration (I imagine Trump himself sleeps like a baby). Or movie executive Harvey Weinstein in recent weeks.

But you would think by the time you’re a dear old lady, whose life consists of housework, shopping and meeting up with an ever-growing band of friends, you wouldn’t have a worry in the world.

“You’re not like me. I lie awake for hours,” continued my mum, having scolded me for my sleep problem.

“I just can’t get to sleep for thinking about all the things I’ve got to do and how I’m going to get them all done.”

She’s 89. It seems that stress — and sleeplessness — never go away. Still, at least she doesn’t have to get up in the morning and write a column...

Leave the kids alone

UNSCRUPULOUS gangs around the UK are apparently recruiting children as young as 12 to peddle drugs.

Of course this is disgusting beyond description — although I have to admit this wasn’t my first thought on hearing the news. My first instinct was, pardon the pun, how dopey.

I remember as a child being sent to the shop by my mum for some basic groceries and all the way there I had to chant the mantra ‘white sliced bread, margarine, milk, white sliced bread, margarine, milk...’ to make sure I didn’t forget anything.

So I can’t help thinking if drug dealers are relying on kids to do their dirty work, unless they are roaming the streets chanting ‘15 an ounce, tenner a wrap...’ under their breath, it’s not the most sensible business plan.

But then selling dubious substances that at their most benign cause untold misery in the lives of all those tainted by them and at their worst end those lives altogether isn’t the best plan either.

Let’s hope the authorities pull out all the stops to put an end to this latest form of child abuse.

  • THIS one goes out to the man in the Lawns who kicked his dog.

How dare you? You don’t deserve that dog.

You didn’t kick him/her hard, admittedly, but I couldn’t believe my ears as I heard you explaining to the woman you were with how every time the dog barks, you give him a tap in the ribs to make him stop.

It’s not the dog’s fault if you didn’t train him well enough. There are plenty of techniques, all involving positive reinforcement and basic human kindness, to teach a dog not to bark too much. There are even contraptions such as citronella collars, although opinion is split on their merits.

Your dog, who looked quite elderly, has given you years of love and loyalty. Don’t repay him by kicking him. Imagine how you’d feel if every time you did something that displeased others they kicked you. I know I was tempted.