06 Jan 2005, Yorkshire, England
I've been reading up about Ellen Macarthur, the round-the-world yachtswoman, and how she has worked with Dr Claudio Stampi to train herself to sleep less. While she's racing, she gets about 4 hours sleep in 24, taken in short naps. It's called polyphasic sleep as opposed to the usual monophasic. It's also known as the Uberman Sleep Schedule.
Apparently Leonardo da Vinci, Albert Einstein and Winston Churchill all thrived on napping (although Winston Churchill also allegedly thrived on two bottles of champagne a day, and I don't propose following his example in that respect.)
I'm keen to experiment with it - in the lead-up to the transatlantic row, having a few extra hours in the day would be seriously useful. And once the race starts, it would be handy if I can sleep less and keep lookout more - a big disadvantage of being a solo rower is that while I'm asleep, there's nobody looking out for big ships looming on the horizon.
There are quite a lot of weblogs by people who have tried it out - mostly nerdy male computer programmers in the American Midwest. Whether it's going to be compatible with my lifestyle is debatable, but it's worth a try!
28 Dec 2004, Leeds
I haven't really ever found a place that I call home
I never stick around quite long enough to make it
I apologize that once again I'm not in love
But it's not as if I mind that your heart ain't exactly breaking
I've always thought that I would love to live by the sea
To travel the world alone and live my life more simply
I have no idea what's happened to that dream
Cos there's really nothing left here to stop me
It's just a thought, only a thought
Dido, Life For Rent
11 Dec 2004, Richmond, Surrey
'Hey, Gordon, what were the police doing in your pub?'
'I had to give them a call. Someone had left her bag under that table, and you can't be too careful this time of year. Could have been a bomb, so I thought I'd better get them to check it out.'
'But it wasn't.'
'No, just a bag. But she had everything in there - passport, driver's licence, everything.'
'How on earth did she manage to forget it? Probably over-celebrated at the office Christmas lunch or something. Silly girl.'
'Yeah. Anyway, the police have taken it away now.'
Half an hour later....
'Shaun, when you moved my coat and stuff from that table to this one, where did you put my bag?'
Ah. 'Hello, officer, you know that bag you picked up from the Cricketers....'
10 Dec 2004, Clapham Junction
Last night I finished reading Adrian Gilpin's book, [%B00030US2C* Unstoppable: the pathway to living an inspired life%a], a present from my old rowing buddy Dee.
Great stuff - a useful summary of what I learned from the books I read during my retreat in Sligo last March. And thankfully British as well, so without all the Californian claptrap.
A couple of quotes that rang especially true - the first one reminds me of my bad old days as a management consultant:
While I had been climbing up the ladder of success [although, in my case, I didn't get much beyond the first rung], it had been leaning firmly up against the wrong wall.
And another one, more relevant to my current Atlantic rowing project:
There is one quality which one must possess to win, and that is definiteness of purpose, the knowledge of what one wants, and a burning desire to possess it.
Burning desire - blimey. But it's got to be. Rowing an ocean isn't the kind of thing you decide on because you can't think of anything better to do for a couple of months.
Burning desire - that's what's getting me down to the gym twice a day, made me quit smoking (2 weeks and counting) and gets my enthusiasm fired up before I make my pitch to a sponsor.
Burning desire - bit of a corny phrase, vaguely reminiscent of Mills & Boon, but don't knock it. It works.