Wednesday, 13 October 2010

The upside of an early start

After yesterday's post about the first early, I only think it's fair to point out the upside to being up at this time of day. On the second day of a run of early shifts, your body is adjusted to the new schedule and you are somewhat less grumpy. It allows you to appreciate something beautiful, Sunrise!

It may not be attack ships on fire off the shoulder of Orion ... But it's as close as you can get. I am reminded once again how lucky I am to be doing this job.

-Blogged from my iPhone

Location:35000 feet

Tuesday, 12 October 2010

I am NOT a morning person

I'm pretty sure that this is a problem shared by all shiftworkers, the curse of the "First Early".
These are especially tough after a block of leave (like today) when your circadian rhythm has slotted back into real days and real nights, like a real human being. What happens is this:
You know that you have to be up at 3 or 4 am, so you have tea with your family and go to bed early, (with a full stomach, which doesn't really help). There you lay, in bed, with the noise of a family evening going on around you. TV downstairs in the background, Kids playing in the bath, having a tantrum about putting on pyjamas or which story is going to be read.
After half an hour, of no sleep, you pick up a book or read Twitter. (Actually Twitter is the worst possible move at this point as you get to see everyone else's normal life and get jealous. Or a contentious political link and get angry. 20 minutes later and you are nearly an hour down on the sleep you planned.)
So you try again, and another half hour later, just as you are staring to get drowsy, someone else will start their bedtime routine. Not noisy, they know you news your sleep. But just that quiet hum of an electric toothbrush will at this point keep you from proper sleep. Or the sound of the shower will make you want to go to the loo. None of this is avoidable, and none of it would rouse you when you are tired enough to crash at 6pm for your 2nd or 3rd early shift. But this is your first attempt to change your body clock, so you are doomed!
Once the other half is in bed, you eventually drop off, no earlier than you would on a normal evening. But this is your first early, so you are subconsciously waiting for that alarm clock. As a result, your sleep is lighter, you hear everything, and it will wake you. A faint car alarm over a mile away, a couple of cats fighting, your other half snoring. Everything will wake you up, even if you would normally sleep through a bomb going off. The less sleep you manage the more annoyed you become. The more annoyed you are, the harder it is to sleep!
Of course you do eventually get to a proper sleep, but it will be around 45 minutes before tour alarm goes off, right in the middle of the deepest part of your sleep cycle.

Then at work there are always the smug buggers who "like earlies because you get the afternoon off" which is fine if you live just round the corner from work, but I don't, and I prefer to spend my afternoons NOT feeling like a Zombie, thanks!

Edited because this is important:
To clarify, I would not fly if too tired to do so. I take my responsibility to my passengers (and the rest of the crew) very seriously. I would (and have) called in unable to operate because of disrupted/inadequate rest.
This is a comment on the occasional difficulty of obtaining that sleep and the fact that I always find it hardest at the start of a run. I'm often tired, never too tired, but always grateful that the coffee chains are now 24/7 in most airports!
-Blogged from my iPhone

Thursday, 7 October 2010

Ode to Paul Chambers

Here's my effort for National Poetry Day, inspired by the #twitterjoketrial

An airport was closed coz of snow
So to Belfast poor Paul couldn't go
Angry tweet, CPS
Yorks police, what a mess,
Jack of Kent, Robin Hood, Sky High Blow

- Blogged from my iPad

Wednesday, 6 October 2010

The visual Arts can get stuffed.

One of the political chaps I follow on twitter posted a Blog today bemoaning the cuts about to happen in "the Arts". He's usually worth reading, but this time, I think it's nonsense. This blog is an edited run-together of my tweets to him.

If enough people think the arts are important enough to pay for, then government handouts are unnecessary. There is already a great way to collect revenue: pay to visit a gallery. Cinemas work that way, so why shouldn't theatres?

Why should the government use my money to pay for art that I have no intention of ever looking at? Let people spend their own money on the art they want to enjoy. If I have a burning desire to see a picture then I will happily pay to see it. I already pay for the films I chose to see or the show I want to see at a theatre.
Even when times were good and New Labour were throwing money at left wing causes willy-nilly, "The Arts" were always complaining that they didn't have enough of my money to spend on interpretative dance. The big problem for "The Arts" is that it's just not as important to people as it thinks it should be.
Please explain why the government should take money from me and give it to self important stars of the industry like Emin & Hirst, when it is these people who should be reinvesting in the industry that has made them millionaires.

By all means flame me. I would actually like to be wrong on this so someone come up with a better argument than "an important arty luvvie with a vested interest says so".

- Blogged from my iPad