So a few weeks ago I fell off my bike (stop sniggering at the back, you petrolheads). I’d like to say that it was some exciting high-speed crash, but I was dawdling on a downhill slope and leaning forwards to look at the map on my phone.

I put my foot down to stop, but the floor was just that bit further away than anticipated. I did a sort of slow motion topple to my side and cracked my rib in the process.

If you’ve ever suffered such an accident, you’ll know how both infuriating and disappointing a cracked rib is as an injury.

Disappointing, because externally there’s nothing to show for the pain you’re going through: no bruising or heavy bandaging to help elicit sympathy. And infuriating because it takes six weeks to heal and there’s nothing you can do but wait for nature to take its course.

A few weeks in, the rib is now bearable during the daytime, but at night it is a different story.

To begin with, I go to sleep without trouble. But because I’m not moving around, I stiffen up. And as soon as I roll over in the middle of the night, I’m bolt upright with a stab of pain. I’ve got various issues on my mind at the moment, so once I’m awake my brain starts whirring, and I can’t get back to sleep.

My daughters are both at secondary school now, but the ongoing run of broken nights has taken me right back to when they were newborns.

I’ve tried various things to switch my mind off. I had a go with Calm, a bestselling app that offers to soothe your way back to sleep, but their middle on the night meditations didn’t do it for me.

Then a couple of friends have suggested listening to audiobooks. All I had was a load of Harry Potter, which my youngest daughter loves, but Stephen Fry’s narration was a bit too enticing to help me switch off.

Try something like Pride and Prejudice, another friend suggested. The next night I downloaded that but it perked me up even more than Harry Potter.

I looked to see who was narrating and it turned out to be Rosamund Pike. Enough said.

I then tried the opposite tack and tried to choose the most boring book possible. After another 3am trawl, I settled on Riding the Waves, the autobiography of reality TV star Jane McDonald. That, however, turned out to be too boring and I found my concentration drifting.

What I need to find, I now realise, is an audiobook in that precise sweet spot between dull and absorbing. All suggestions appreciated.


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