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In praise of - early mornings.

The world is divided into two types of people.

Early risers and night hawks. As a bona fide night hawk, I have always regarded early birds with a mixture of awe and suspicion. Brandishing their cheery morning perkiness, they have always appeared a generally more organised, efficient breed.

As a life-long late sleeper, dawn has remained a largely unexperienced part of the day. I've had to force myself out of bed at unspeakable hours for various jobs but have managed to essentially sleep-walk through proceedings while tanked up on copious amounts of coffee and with my senses on stand-by. Whenever a long lie presented itself, I relished the luxury of remaining in a cocoon-like state for as long as possible. Recently, however, I have found myself waking earlier, in that uncharted territory before the alarm first goes off. Perhaps its advancing age or creeping worries of the impending doom of mankind, or possibly that pesky cockerel that the neighbours insist upon keeping, but I'm now up with the larks.

When I first blink I'm invariably met with the jubilant gaze of my bearded collie, who begins a two-paw plea for an early morning walk. Which is why I now frequently find myself tramping across our local park at a time when most folk are blindly slamming the snooze button.

But there is something particularly delicious about feeling like the first person to be up and about. A smugness that comes from knowing that others still loll, unwashed, in their beds. What thrills to kick up the undisturbed dew and savour the precious, fleeting calm before the gears of the day have started to grind. To catch the morning mist aglow in the sunshine is a treat to behold. I think I'm a convert. There is a downside to all this dawn activity, however: the inevitable mid-afternoon crash.

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