In the deep dark of the night…

Sunday, August 1st, 2004

The snores were sonorous, rounded, baritone-going-on-bass, vibrating with a deep and resonant tone as if the snorer had practiced for years and perhaps earned a certificate of excellence in night-time noisemaking. They were snores that could not be defeated by the pane of glass between me and them, nor by the loud television in the same room as them. They were snores that explained a great deal.

I got home from work at about 2.45am today, and couldn't settle down to sleep until nearer 4am. We have the futon set up in the living room at the moment, so we can sleep with the balcony door open – it's far cooler than the bedroom, which is as well-ventilated as a bread bin and is the room where the smell of yesterday morning's fry-up lurks, waiting to jump out in ambush.

It was a clear, still and very muggy night, and noise travelled loud and far. The tiny trickle of water into the pond at the centre of our flats, usually a barely audible gurgle, took on Niagran tones. And someone had a TV on, at 4am. It was just at the edge of hearing, and ignorable, except during the adverts when it blared out. It made sleep impossible, so I went to investigate.

I found it was coming from a ground-floor flat diagonally opposite – our flats are arranged in a 'U' shape and it was in one of the right-angles. The curtains were open and electric colours from the TV were casting the terrace, and the underside of the balcony above it, in strange blues and greens. A figure was slumped in a sofa, snoring.

I thought about hammering on the window. I thought about knocking on the front door. I thought about testing the glass door onto the terrace to see if it was unlocked, sneaking in, and unplugging the telly. I did none of these things – all my resentment had drained away and I crept back home, amused, and finally went to sleep.

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I'm Andy Darley. Sometimes I want to say things. This is where I do it.