Published: Wednesday January 7, 2015.

Was it cows?

In early December I asked a question of Hacker News as to what book(s) changed their life in 2014. The feedback surprised me, and my research that followed has already helped to shape my reading list for 2015 and beyond.

For the first time in, well, let’s agree on a long time, there’s a stack of books on my bedside table and as of last Saturday night I have a glimmer of hope that it’s not going to gather dust and embarrass me. I read a few pages of a book that’s not mentioned on that list before bed on Saturday. I only managed small progress because I’d got to the point where the author sounds like a pompous, swaggering tool, and I only (occasionally) suffer that in my job. Ahem.

Saturday was also the day I decided to go phone-less in bed. That is, I left my phone downstairs, in the office, on my desk. I checked my email before bedtime, and by 10pm I was upstairs and settled. There was nothing to charge up for the morning, and I had no last-minute pangs or guilt. Neat. Aside from my usual fidgeting to find the right temperature I didn’t wake up prematurely. Actually, I slept well, which surprised me.

I awoke just after 6am, convinced I could hear some far-off animal or livestock noises. I live near numerous farmer’s fields, so it’s not unreasonable that the local cows were wigging out about something or other. There was one time when a bunch of them figured out a gate was wonky, duly escaped and wandered through the village in the middle of the night. The drama.

It wasn’t cows. It was my phone buzzing. I’d totally forgotten to turn my phone alarm off. It buzzed and tinkled for about ten minutes and then, presumably, figured out it was a waste of time and hushed up. It wasn’t until I got out of bed after 7am that I worked out it was my phone. I went for a solo walk on Sunday morning, about a mile or so, and didn’t see a soul. No moving cars, no dog walkers, no cows, nothing.

The plan I’d hatched on Saturday night for the rest of my Sunday didn’t resemble what actually happened, but I’ll happily take the win. My alarm clock is apparently being dispatched soon, so I’ll have something to wake me up at the appropriate time. I will admit to perversely enjoying the minutes after I woke when I tried to work out what time it was, and whether I’d be better off getting out of bed (7am) or rolling over for another 4 hours of sleep (3am).

It was the birds singing that sealed the deal for me to get up, that and the noise of a few cars. I have to wait until mid-June before the birds start chirruping at 3am, and then it’s all magical and dawn chorus-y, etc.

I’ve turned the alarm off on my phone, now. And, no, I haven’t figured out to check my email from a £5.50 digital alarm clock. Perhaps with the Internet of Things that’ll be possible in a few years.