Saturday, 7 November 2015


I have carried this curse since my days in the Royal Air Force. It started in Germany, during the late Spring/Summer we were involved in a series of N.A.T.O. Exercises colloquially as "The silly season." 

The exercises ranged from Minevals that lasted only a few hours - designed to test how quickly we could be mobilised. Next in line where the Tacevals. Tacevals were designed for RAFG and could last from a few hours to a couple of days. The largest exercises were the Maxevals these didn't only involve RAFG; these exercises included N.A.T.O. bases in the USA. 

Whether it was Mineval, Taceval or Maxeval they shared one thing, they started at 03:00 and left you exhausted from lack of a night's sleep. It was during one of these exercises I had what I call a "Beau Geste moment" but that's for another time - if you're interested.

 I was 21 at the time and on my first - and only - overseas tour. After two or three of these exercises, I began to stay awake longer in case an exercise was called. It took me half of my two-year tour to realise that no matter what I did, I wasn't going to change anything; by that time the damage had been done - insomnia had set its roots. 

Since then I have been plagued with insomnia, if I get two night's sleep a week, I'm pleased. Believe me, being a writer with an active imagination is no blessing it's a curse. Like the people in the #Fringe episode where a person's dreams get stolen, I cannot rest my mind. A few years ago, friends of mine were so worried about my health they demanded I take a few days off from writing. At that time, the writing was my drug of choice, I was writing three or four short stories a week; each story was at least 3,500 words and often more.

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