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2:08pm on Saturday, 18th January, 2014:

Blissful Sleep


Ah, what a pleasant night's sleep!

For the past three or four days, we've been hearing an occasional clanging noise in the house. It sounded like someone throwing a bundle into a metal skip, or hitting an empty oil drum with a shoe. We had no idea where it was coming from, and sometimes there were periods of several hours when it didn't annoy us at all. When it did assert itself, though, it was never for long, meaning it was very hard to get a lock on its source. I can't tell where sounds are coming from at the best of times, but my wife can and it flummoxed her, too.

We eventually decided that it must be the plumbing, on the basis that it was intermittent and happened in the dead of night as often as it did during the day. To remedy it, I therefore bled all the radiators and adjusted the water pressure in the boiler.

It didn't do the trick.

The only pattern we'd noticed was that it seemed to happen more when it was raining outside. However, we couldn't tell if the noise itself was coming from outside or from the inside the house. Sometimes it was loud, sometimes it was not so loud. However, it was always loud in our bedroom, which meant we were getting woken up every few hours in the dead of night.

Yesterday, my wife was able to track it down. She was getting something out of the washing machine and heard the clanging noise outside, close by. It was coming from a small, walled-off courtyard we have that's about 2 metres square, which we suspect was originally built to store dustbins. Ever since we moved into the house, we've had plastic bags rather than old-fashioned dustbins, though, so we seldom venture into this courtyard. Nevertheless, there was an old, steel dustbin there, which has seen use maybe 3 times in the past 20 years if some horrible smell was coming out of a plastic bin bag and we wanted somewhere remote until the refuse collectors came to take it away.

The bottom of this ancient dustbin had rusted off and the cylindrical part had either been blown over or knocked over by a cat or other animal. The cylinder, now on its side, was rolling about whenever there was a strong enough wind. When it hit the wall, or its handle hit the floor, it clanged. Standing it back up fixed the problem.

So, that's why I was able to sleep the whole night through after three days of being woken up by a rolling dustbin.

Hmm, I wonder if it was keeping our neighbours awake, too?

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Copyright © 2014 Richard Bartle (richard@mud.co.uk).