An experimental investigation into the sleeping habits of my mother

Middle aged humans are a common phenomenon that can be observed at a wide range of locales. From the wine aisle in Waitrose to that at Sainsbury they can be identified chiefly by the appearance of moderate wrinkles on their faces and bodies and by their possessing an often timid demeanour.

This study is concerned with the development of a new methodology for measuring various character traits by the control and disruption of their sleep. Specifically, we observe the fifty five year old human female Sharon Shirley (herein referred to as SS Old Bean) by means of an observation deck concealed in its bedroom.

Recent advances in toilet design (Figure 1) allow the scientist continuous access to the bedrooms of the middle aged for the first time. We employ such a shed/toilet approach using the older Prod With Stick (PWS) method for waking my mother.

Figure 1 Experimental setup.

Results and Discussion
The most striking aspect of this work is surely the violent reactions from Mrs Shirley upon being woken (See Figure 2).

Figure 2 Swear words per sentence as a function of time of sleep disruption. The red squares show a fifteen week average. Blue squares show the night of the burglary. The green square is clearly an outlier. The ‘leisure time’ shown in yellow was occupied with basic literature, tv and reminiscing about teenage sexual exploits.

Specifically, the PWS method produced massive eruptions of swearing and violence when repeatedly applied between the hours of 03.00 and 05.00 GMT. Indeed, the author had to resort to the hose to keep his mother at bay on three occasions. The first being coincident with the burglary, which was left to take its natural course in order to avoid any possibility of artefactual data. The other two showing no coincidence with experimental conditions but both accompanied by identical protestations relating to ‘work in the morning’. Clearly, the middle aged are a strange animal with complex behaviour and oral communication systems.

The middle ages are some of the toughest in our lives. Here, we show how a modern approach to them can increase hostility between family members under certain conditions.

Thank you,





One response to “An experimental investigation into the sleeping habits of my mother”

  1. David Avatar

    Dear Raph

    As a child (approx age-10) I use to take a delight in moving cutlery from its allotted section and changing them around (i.e. forks in spoon section etc) this used to have interesting results when a older herd member, at the time a male weighing 15stone with a rough age of 58 years would try to prepare the breakfast table.
    Soon after this I took every label off every tin in the cupboard so we never new whether we would get tinned tomatoes, baked beans or tinned soup.
    I moved on from this to high stress times in the herd calendar with Christmas being a favourite time for me, I would remove vital kitchen equipment on early Christmas day.
    Just to take and hide one of the electric carving knife’s two blades or putting the prepared stuffing to the back of the freezer could and did provide me with enough entertainment to see me through a regimented stuffy day.
    As an aside I have moved on (now aged-33) to going for meals with friends and sneaking spoons or other small random table items in strangers coat pockets or open handbags that maybe near by.
    These things have the ability to increase herd hostility but also high levels of flummoxisation that could be of use to you.

    If I can help you in any way in your investigations please let me know.


    Ps A***** B***** is a close colleague and mentor.