The first week of a new year is always a hard one, things come thick and fast with a heavy bump after the pleasant nature of the holidays. Tuesday I was back to work and straight back into the thick of things with assignments needing to be written, presentations to complete and an big away day to organise.
In amongst all this I’ve not been sleeping well. Whether it is ‘holiday jetlag’ as they say where you get used to going to bed and getting up when you want (for me, that is very late on both counts). Usually I need some background noise to send me to sleep quickly, before Christmas BBC Radio 4’s Test Match Special coverage of the cricket did the trick quite nicely. This side of Christmas it did anything but.
It would be foolish of me to rule out the possibility that the thrilling conclusion to the series had an effect on my sleeping pattern. It was spectacular. The Ashes themselves are famously the burnt remains of the bails from the match in 1882 which declared “the death of English cricket” in a full page advert the Austrailains took out in an English sporting newspaper. (talk about being bad winners!) After years of being humiliated, England have slowly become more competitive, taking the ’05 series 2-1 but then being green and gold washed 5-0 in Australia 18 months later. Another 2-1 series victory for England on home soil in ’09 and a capitulation of the Australian team gave us our best shot in 24 years to win the Ashes on Aussie soil this winter.
It wasn’t even close. 24 years of hurt were ended emphatically in Sydney on Thursday with 11 Englishmen dancing on the wicket that 4 years ago brought them so much misery. The Barmy Army (the crazy English cricket supporters group) mercilessly taunted the Australian team and the Aussie press turned on them in a way reminiscent of the English press on the national football team. It was a complete dismantling of the aura of invincibility the Aussies had, records tumbled, reputations shattered. Other than Mitchell Johnson finding his line and length for more than 3 consecutive balls in Perth it was a resoundingly one-sided series.
I have a habit of getting insomnia for a good few weeks when jet lagged, fortunately I don’t currently jet set enough for it to be a huge problem. People find all sorts of ways, gadgets or rituals to try to send themselves to sleep. I’ve found quite simply sticking a dvd of something I have watched hundreds of times, something relatively mindless yet amusing just sends my head to sleep and then the rest of me follows. So now the Test Matches have finished Futurama is my weapon of choice, it is incredibly effective. Less than 20 minutes after putting an episode on I am out for the count.
Hopefully now all the excitement is done I can get some proper sleep and crack on with the working week!