With winter now in full bloom, it's not uncommon for many of us to be up and about before first light.
This poses something of a problem, particularly if you have a partner who wants to eke out every last second before their alarm clock screams at them to wake up, often in a grumpy mood.
To avoid this in our house that means being very quiet and going about my normal duties – such as getting dressed - without turning the lights on while Mrs P gets that vital extra 15 minutes.
Now, this particular dressing in the dark lark is not exactly new to me.
In a past life, an early morning shift for me would begin several hours before the sparrow even thought about farting.
Naturally, this meant an even earlier departure from home and getting quietly dressed in the dark so as not to wake the household.
The best way to avoid such a catastrophe was to be showered and well organised the night before but Friday mornings, particularly after football training and a few drinkies on a Thursday night, were fraught with danger.
Many is the time I'd turn up with a jersey on inside out or odd socks, that sort of thing.
My work colleagues were not immune to the odd clothing faux pas either.
I distinctly recall the boss turning up one morning in a thick, woollen polo neck jumper.
Ordinarily, this would have been perfectly appropriate attire for the middle of winter. But it wasn't. It was late January, in the height of summer.
Needless to say, as the shift wore on and the temperature started to rise, he started to cook. Eventually, he could take it no more and bolted from the room.
Being the sensitive soul I am, I went to find him to see if he was okay.
I found him in the deserted boardroom of our building, naked from the waist up with arms akimbo in front of the air conditioning. The woollen jersey was laying in a heap on the floor.
To cut a long story short it appeared he been running late, was dressing in the dark so as not to wake "the dragon" (his words, not mine) and had grabbed the first thing he could lay his hands on as he reached into the wardrobe.
I've always wondered how he would have explained it if he'd reached into the wrong side of the dark wardrobe and ended up wearing his wife's blouse or something similar.
And, just to show I'm all about equality, another colleague (female) turned up in the dark early one morning wearing a fashionable pair of trousers.
Now, this young lady was a lot younger than the rest of us old fogies and had a very trendy approach to fashion, often putting us all in the shade with a spectacular array of garments so, consequently, none of us batted an eyelid at the said trousers.
It wasn't until an hour or so later the other young lady in our team turned up and burst out laughing at her colleague.
She had her trousers on inside out.
Anyway, I digress. Getting dressed in the dark.
So, there I am downtown the other morning and I bump into the Scottish Plumber. And he looks like he's been dragged through a hedge backwards by the scruff of his neck.
"Dishevelled" and "exhausted" would most aptly describe his appearance.
I've not caught up with him for a while and naturally, I want to know what's been going on.
He stifles a yawn and then explains he's had a daughter and her husband staying for a while. And they've come with their wee cherub.
As a result everything in his humble abode no longer runs like clockwork. Any new parents/grandparents will probably relate to what I'm talking about.
He is under strict orders not to "clonk" around the house in the morning while getting ready for work or do anything whatsoever to wake the baby.
His house isn't that big so any noise from one end is picked up at the other.
Accordingly, he's had to stop turning Sky Sports on first thing to see how his team got on.
He can't put the jug or microwave on - presumably to cook his haggis - and he can't hum Flower of Scotland when he walks down the hallway.
By all accounts he'd done quite well the first couple of days but it all came crashing down the night before I met him.
He'd decided to hit the hay slightly ahead of Mrs Scottish Plumber and was quietly disrobing in the dark so as not to wake the baby in the room next door.
Now for some reason known only to himself he'd pulled his shirt and jersey over his head together rather than individually as he would usually and the whole thing had somehow managed to get stuck in the chain he wears around his neck.
As he tried to sort the mess out he knocked something over. This caused Mrs Scottish Plumber to come and see what was going on in the dark.
And that's when she screamed. I mean you would, wouldn't you? Seeing a headless monster flailing around in your dark bedroom where your husband should be. Anyway.
The scream woke the baby who then decided to try and make a similar racket all by herself.
According to the Scottish Plumber she has a great pair of lungs and exercised them for the rest of the night. Nobody got any sleep. And that's why he looked like he did.
There was little I could say or do by way of consolation so bade him on his way, wished him well and told him to just enjoy the baby while he could "because they grow up so fast" which is what you say in such situations when you can't think of anything else.
I didn't have the heart to tell him his football team had lost, again, or that he looked like Worzel Gummidge on a bad day for a scarecrow.
But I think I would have told him if he'd had his trousers on inside out.