The sound of silence - Karen Bush
It's a well known fact that dogs prefer Bach.
Yes, really. They've done studies on it.
When I was surrounded by noise I longed for quieter, more tranquil surroundings: how much easier it would be to concentrate, I thought. How much more productive I would be ...
Well, dear reader, it turned out that when my wish came true, that wasn't the case at all. I found that I actually missed the background noise. And without it, the need to grimly enforce a bit of concentration on what I was doing evaporated: without the background distractions, ironically I became more easily distracted.
I tried to artificially reproduce it by turning on the radio. Music stations didn't always play selections I liked, and the chat ones were a disaster as I found myself listening to them rather than working, and during phone-ins often shrieking outraged retorts at it. Playing CDs wasn't much better as I tended to slow down and listen to the music - well, it was stuff I liked, after all.
Going to the pub or a café was out - the tables are never big enough for my clutter (I'm not a stripped-down 'my Notebook is all I need' sort of person) and anyway the likelihood of my knocking a pint or a frothy coffee all over it is pretty high, given my clumsiness.
But I finally found the perfect solution: TV. But not any old programmes - there must be just the right amount of noise, and not be so absorbing that I stop everything to listen. The perfect programme, I have found, is Time Team. I've seen them so many times before that I virtually know the script off by heart, so no danger of downing tools in favour of goggleboxing. It has a certain cosy familiarity, like my previous noisy working environments, and fortuitously is on for at least three hours during the day at around the time when I try to get a bit of work done.
Heaven help me if they ever take it off: I suppose I'll have to buy the DVDs ...
So what works for you? Silence or noise? Empty house or bustling background?
Midsummer Eve will see the publication of our third collection of stories ... more news soon ...