A combination of jet-lag and NYE-party-induced biological clock problems, plus a wealth of distractions, meant I didn't get to bed until 3.30am last night. Thus, at 8.15 this morning, there were few things in the world that could have woken me.
It turns out, however, that those few things include two loud and extremely excited dogs yelping and barking, alternately, at full volume, in the neighbour's garden just below my window. For half an hour.
After being woken by this and having it continue for 10 minutes, I finally dragged myself to the window to see what was going on. Turns out, in the garden opposite, there was an old guy in a big coat (for brevity, let's call him "dickhead"). He seemed to be just standing there, but the dogs could see him and it was driving them nuts.
So why didn't dickhead just go back inside? Well, he did, for 10 minutes, and the dogs quietened back down, and I began drifting back off to sleep. But then he decided to make a stand, or something, I don't know, and came back out, because the dogs again resumed their furious barking. He began talking to the dogs, and held his hand out over the garden fence where they were. I don't know what he thought they were doing, but it just drove them into a further frenzy.
At this point, the patience of everyone was wearing thin. This garden is one in a long row of back-to-back gardens between two rows of houses, so there were easily 30 bedroom windows in easy earshot of the barkfest. I was by no means the only person to be considering murder this morning. The first sign came 10 minutes later, when somebody leaned out their window and blasted a full-on foghorn-type siren. In the ensuing 5 seconds of silence from both dogs and dickhead, siren-man screamed "SHAAAAAADAAAAAAAP!" in most aggrieved tones. Dickhead replied with something defiant, apparently, and maintained his position.
Next up a woman from the same side of the row as my window started shouting at him. He seemed to want to defend his actions of waking up dozens of people early in the morning on a public holiday by winding up his neighbour's dogs. Needless to say, his defence was soon crushed.
But the damage is done. I'm awake now. And the dogs are so wound up from the barking and the shouting and the foghorn and such that now, even with dickhead gone, they are still barking at everything. Birds. Planes overhead. Each other.
I am not usually a violent man, but I can say I now at least understand the mindset one might need to be in to murder someone in a crime of passion. Certainly, if I'd had a sniper rifle today, neither dogs nor dickhead would have survived.