Somchai – Super Dog!


Recently, I have been enjoying a resurgence of enthusiasm and my daily output of creative writing has increased dramatically; so as far as my novel is concerned, I am now quietly confident that it will be wrapped up by the New Year.

Why this resurgence? Well, I actually put it largely down to my somewhat long and protracted efforts to make an earlier start to my days. I know it sounds silly, but it is the truth.

For some time now, I have slipped into the habit of sleeping late, waking late and getting up even later. This means that by the time I get to my computer to settle down to do a bit of writing, it can often be as late as 11  a.m., sometimes even later. Then, quite often, I will procrastinate further by reading my emails or reading the news an so on , so it can be lunch time before I actually get into proper creative- writing mode. Quite frankly, by this time, my inspiration and enthusiasm has often all but evaporated.

Looking back over my life I think I have always been a bit of an early morning person, which may help to explain why getting up late seems to bother me and even depress me.

Way back in my school days I used to have to rise early, and from my teenage years onwards I rose  even earlier as I had a long newspaper round to finish before I went to school.

The work years always required me to rise early and as my career progressed I got onto the habit of rising and getting to my place of work earlier and earlier. During my final years of working in the City of London, a typical working day would start at 7 a.m., which necessitated me rising well before 6 a.m. in the morning. I use to manage this, even though on most mornings I was horrendously hung over from the previous day’s drinking excesses.

I suppose the rot started to set in when I retired and moved back to Thailand in 2002, although I still recall rising quite early when I first moved to Pattaya. I well remember taking dear Cookie for early morning walks and I even used to have the odd early morning swim.

But as my marriage became a war zone, my alcohol intake increased alarmingly and my ability to recover from horrendous hangovers became ever more difficult, I would spend longer and longer under the proverbial quilt. Many were the times during the final few years of my drinking career, when I wouldn’t rise before midday – sometimes much later.

I have been sober now for almost two years, and for some time I have been thinking that I really must make a supreme effort to get out of my ‘sleep late, wake up late’ vicious circle. Maybe my desire to get up early doesn’t strike much of a chord with those who have no particular reason to rise early; but for me, getting up late just doesn’t seem to sit well with my persona. Much as I enjoy the comforts of lying in bed, watching TV and sipping my coffee of a morning, the joys of being out and about when the day is still relatively young is even more satisfying– especially in Thailand, when the mornings are cooler than the rest of the day.

Of course, my open heart surgery back in June has been an additional impediment to getting up early; as not only was I still in considerable pain until relatively recently, but even moving around in the bed was painful. In particular, the act of getting up was the most painful of all, so I would tend to put it off for as long as I could.

I am still not completely pain free, and getting out of bed still produces a few twinges in my chest, but the pain is now at a tolerable level and it really doesn’t bother me.  (Except when I sneeze!!!)

So to make a long story even longer, over the past few days I have finally bitten the bullet and made a huge effort to change my sleeping habits. Like most things that are worthwhile in life, it wasn’t easy to start with, but every day it gets easier and easier. For the first couple of days, I managed to make it out of bed by about 8 a.m. but for the past 3 days, I have been awake soon after 6.a.m, and up by 7.

Upon rising, the first thing I do is take Cookie and Mickey, my two retrievers, for a fifteen minute walk along the lakeside. If the sun is up, I stick to walking  near the lakeside houses and hedgerows, so the grass is still in the shade, and it has proven a very pleasant start to the day for both man and dogs. Back at the house, I take my morning shower, enjoy my first cup of coffee before settling down at the computer to commence the day’s writing.

Starting the day much earlier feels absolutely great! I am full of ideas and energy and quite often by as early as 10 a.m. I have already written a substantial chunks of text. By 1 p.m. I am often more or less done for the day, which leaves me the afternoon to tinker around on other matters, or maybe go out somewhere with my lovely Noo.

So all in all, I am writing more vigorously and am enjoying a higher level of  satisfaction. This book will surely be out of my hair by New Year.

Getting up early really works!

Somchai – Super Dog!

I am sure that Noo and I must look like a bit of spectacle when we take our dogs out for their late afternoon constitutionals.

Noo walks the two shih tzus on their leads, with their tiny little legs racing along the ground at the rate of knots, with me – Mobi – just behind, struggling with Mickey – the two year old Labrador – who is on a short lead and is often close to pulling me over. Dear old Cookie, ‘lead-less’ and leader-less, makes her own way amongst us at her own pace, with her poor rheumatic back legs limping along, propping up the rear of her beautiful, shaggy body.

Everything is fine and dandy until we pass one of the many houses where dogs are lurking. Then all hell breaks loose. The dog (s) inside the gates let off their usual blood curling barks and yelps and our little troupe tries to pass with the minimum of fuss. Cookie – an old hand at such occurrences – completely ignores the growling and barking, Mickey is kept more or less under control by yours truly and little Yoghurt show no interest in becoming involved with these angry, vicious looking dogs.

But little ‘Somchai – Superdog’ is a totally different matter. Despite his tiny size, his bravery knows no bounds. Whenever he encounters a canine enemy – be it a single, mangy street dog, three times his own size with teeth the size of a sabre-toothed tiger, or a whole pack of the buggers – either in the street, or slavering behind someone’s front gates,  Somchai – Superdog shows absolutely no fear. He tries to put the fear of God into them with his high pitched yapping, and his snarling, frightening face is a wondrous terror to behold.

If Noo was to let Somchai – Superdog off his lead, woe betide any hostile dog that crossed his path – even the neighbourhood pit-bull, who certainly puts the fear of God into me – but in Somchai – Superdog? – never!

‘Let me get at’im!’, he seems to be begging us.


Cookie – Senior Citizen

Mickey – young blood

Yoghurt… Yoggy! Yoggy! Yoggy!…Oi! Oi! Oi!

Somchai – Superdog! – In pensive mode

Cookie – in all her  shaggy glory