I don’t make the Rules

I’d like to change the names of the people in this story but sadly if I did it wouldn’t work, you need to know the family connection to know I’m telling the truth.  So what I’ll do is just say it was one of my sons but I won’t say which one.  Anyway, my eldest son, who had left home, had been out all day on his push bike. We had bumped into him down at the front.11880644_1152782261403979_8191751420000732480_nThe Swansea Promenade

He was a busy lad with his own life and commitments so to be honest we were just glad to come across him now and again.  After a lovely catch up we said our goodbyes and he left us.  Not long afterwards we also left by car and as timing would have it we ended up following him back into Mumbles.

As he passed one of the Cafe Valance, the cafe with a terrace I noticed he got slightly distracted.  In that split second he didn’t notice that the car in front had stopped and before he knew it he was forced to make an emergency stop.

(See the terrace for yourself at the start of this video)

Slamming on the brakes he just avoided colliding with the car but it did mean he flew over the handle bars crashing to the floor.  His mother was beside herself. I also did an emergency stop and she jumped out to see what damage had been done to her boy.

Luckily all that was hurt was his pride.  In truth the fact that it was his mum tending to him didn’t go down too well at all.  Seeing he was alright I suggested we left the scene of the incident and met at a car park down on the sea front to check over his bike. As his mum fussed over the lad I asked him what had happened.  He said for some reason he had got distracted and lost concentration.  It was then I asked him did his momentary lapse have anything to do with the very pretty blond  waitress who was cleaning the tables at that terraced café.  He looked me in the eyes and with a cheeky grin said…’I don’t make the rules!’


A bad night’s sleep

It makes you think, how much of what we say and do and think and act is really outside of our control.  How much is down to genes and hormones? Not only that how much of our actions are down to something as simple as lack of sleep.  The phrase ‘getting out of the wrong side of be’ has long been used to describe someone who has a bad mood first thing in the morning but recent research proves it might well be true and also affect a lot of other things too.

A recent study published by the Rotterdam School of Management says that lack of sleep, even for a single night, can really change people so that they will react and behave in ways that are completely out of character.  We are not just talking about being grumpy here, although it can make people to be ruder to each other, in certain circumstances it can lead to criminal activity like theft from the workplace.  The thinking is that this destructive cycle is down to us losing self-control.  Being tired means those built in mechanism which control our selfish impulses don’t work so well.  It could mean that we are less tolerant of other people and instead of letting a perceived slight go over our heads we confront another person leading to a fight.  When you’re tired you are less lightly to be selfless; if you want the last biscuit with your tea you’ll have it and you won’t care if someone else wanted it too.


Where is my packet of chocolate biscuits?

All of this sounds pretty much like common sense.  Anyone who has had a child will tell you that the we’ve all used the excuse that ‘he’s’ only acting like a complete and utterly spoilt brat because he’s tired’.  The good news from the research is that it doesn’t mean that it becomes an ingrained characteristic.  Again as any parent will tell you after a good night’s sleep that spoilt brat from the night before can wake up as a complete and utter angel.

He’s a bit over tired, normally he’s a real little angel !

All of which leaves me in a bit of a dilemma. Because I present the early breakfast show for BBC Radio Wales I wake up every morning at 4am.  I rarely get enough sleep and some days I can actually feel my patience levels drop as the weariness kicks in.


Mal Pope in the studio every morning at 4am

So should  I tell people up front that today, like one of the seven dwarves, I will be ‘Grumpy’ or do I continue to fight it and smile my way through every perceived slight and foregone chocolate business. The good news is that now I have solid science to back up my mood swings.  I have disrupted sleep, sometimes I am a misery guts and very selfish but as my boy once told me my excuse is now backed up by scientific research …’I don’t make the rules!’




Tim Berners Lee the creator of the World Wide Web 1989

Sometimes we are so busy living our ordinary day to day lives that we might miss the significance of events taking place in the world.  I often think back to days in history that changed the world and wonder what it was like to be alive then.  Like the 28th June 1914, the day that Archduke Franz Ferdinand was shot in Sarajevo, an event that triggered a series of events that led to the First World War.  Or what about the day Tim Berners Lee had an idea to connect computers together which gave us the start of the World Wide Web. I was alive on that day but I have no idea what I was doing when Mr Berners Lee was creating something that would change my world completely.


Sir Tim Barrow delivers the Brexit letter to European Council president Donald Tusk on Wednesday

I can’t actually remember what I did last Wednesday. It was probably something terribly  important to me.  At lunchtime on Wednesday far away in Brussels a letter was handed to the EU Council President Donald Tusk telling him and the rest of Europe that the UK was leaving the EU. I’ve got a funny feeling that one day I will look back on that day as being one of the most significant of my lifetime.