Waking The Dead – The Cockerels in Our Lives

Giving a post the title ‘Waking the Dead,’ and then subtitling the same post, ‘The Cockerels in Our Lives’ probably needs some qualifying. But this will become clear shortly. If it appears a little surreal at first then welcome to our weird world of early morning wake-ups in the big city.

Just for the sake of scene setting and to expand on my opening paragraph, I would like to mention that we live in Wanstead, a nice little area in north-east London. Now for those of you who do not know London, there is actually quite a lot of greenery here: trees, parks, even several inner-city farms. Now although we live in a built up area, we also live near several really nice parks and have quite a lot of grassed and tree-lined areas nearby. However, and I want to make this absolutely clear, we do not live anywhere near any of the farms. What we do live near, however, is a fully mature cockerel.

Yes, a cockerel. We live in a built up area and someone keeps a cockerel in their back garden. As if the endless sirens in London weren’t enough, we are greeted at 6am by an overenthusiastic cockerel. And because of the surrounding buildings the cockerel’s early morning crowing is delivered with a nice little echo!

So that’s nice.

However, that’s not my gripe. Although it is the gripe of many a neighbour, and rightly so. After all, who in their right mind keeps a cockerel in their back garden in town or city. Why would you? What would possess you to do so? So, I see my neighbours’ anguish at the situation quite clearly. And, in truth, because of that, I’m surprised the cockerel has lasted as long as it has. So the general consensus is that the cockerel in our midst is a pain in the butt and needs to be relocated. The neighbours’ gripe stands – and it’s upheld by all the locals. So, if it’s not the cockerel I have a gripe with, then what?

Well, my gripe is that we (we being my partner and I) are not woken by the cockerel at 6am, we are woken by two other little cockerels in our lives, Fidget & Little Man, every morning at any time between 5 and 5.30am when they start crowing. Being woken by the actual cockerel would mean us having a lie in. In actual fact I’m sure the cockerel is probably fast asleep when Fidget & Little Man surface full of smiles and voicing their noisy expectations for the day!

Now because I came to fatherhood quite late in life – I’m north of my forties – my recovery rate isn’t what it used to be. It would probably take me a week to recover from a half mile jog to the shops. So getting up before 5.30am each morning may be good for me getting to work on time, but it’s absolutely killing our social life. By 9pm – and I know a lot of parents relate to this – we are shattered. Our last date night, for instance, consisted of us finishing our meal by 8.30pm and heading home because we’d let our guard down and relaxed, which finished us off for the evening.

The weekends are worse because you naturally let your guard down, because you listen to a little voice in the back of your mind that whispers about having a lie in over the weekend. As working parents, we even try to plan who will sleep in on Saturday and who gets Sunday, but it’s hopeless. We may as well spend the time we take discussing who is having a lie in by taking a power nap. Fidget & Little Man are attuned to us trying to sleep in and will wake us anyway. They are relentless in their ability to wake us from what appears to be a coma-like state. You actually have to admire their tenacity and their ability for waking the dead, because as parents that’s where our sleep pattern is set – we hit the pillow and die. We are then resuscitated by the kids way before our time.

So to you, Fidget & Little Man, who like waking the dead, I have this to say: there will come a time when you want to sleep the day away, but that is when I shall strike; I will be setting my alarm clock to ‘payback’ and the fun will begin. I for one can’t wait!

(And on a side note: the resident cockerel has gone very silent recently. What could have happened … my neighbours apparently know nothing!)