Sunday with Jon Ronson: ‘Around 5.30am I feed the birds’

What time are you up? Around 5.30am. I feed the birds. My favourites are the cardinals. They get bullied by the blue jays – thuggish, corrupt-cop-looking creatures. The doves, in turn, bully the blue jays. It’s wholly wrong that they are known as birds of peace. I’m no ornithologist; this is all based on what I’ve observed from my window.

What’s next? I’ll empty the dishwasher, make myself a coffee, then I’ll work. I figure working four or five hours every day is the same as Monday to Friday, 9-5. If I’ve got the mental capacity to write, I will. If not, I might finesse a single sentence. Nothing gives me more satisfaction than making a piece of writing work.

What’s for lunch? Unfortunately I have diverticulitis; all I can eat is fruit, vegetables and grains. Sunday lunch is no different – lots of wheat and barley.

How do you relax? A long hike. There’s a 12-mile walk along country lanes beyond our Upstate New York village, passing forlorn farms, views of the Catskills, and increasing gentrification. I see exotic animals: chipmunks and groundhogs. Have you seen a racoon lift itself out of a dustbin? The first thing you see are its weird, humanlike hands.

Sundays growing up? The best you could hope for was something being sold for more money than you anticipated on Antiques Roadshow. Through my teens I was forced to work at my father’s Cardiff warehouse. Afterwards, I’d go – underage – to a casino and play the slot machines. When I told my parents, my father forced them to return all the money I’d lost.

Sunday evening? Me, my wife Elaine and the dogs watch TV. At the moment that’s Boardwalk Empire, which is brilliant – although it kills off all its interesting female characters. Then I do certain things to help myself fall asleep, which I probably shouldn’t be explicit about.

Things Fell Apart is on BBC Radio 4 on Tuesdays at 9am and on BBC Sounds




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