The dog has relinquished his hold on the day: and Phil is padding across to my office to consign the children to the land of Nod.
The light is still here, of course: these crazy midsummer nights wrongfoot us all, giving us teatime vibes right through ’till ten at night.
But rules is rules, and they’s there for a reason.
On a Saturday the children take over the big light office on the first floor. They feast on naughty bowls of crisps and the occasional contraband fizzy drink. They commandeer the iPad, and are permitted, with light supervision, to YouTube all manner of film excerpts and comedy extracts.
But even on a Saturday night, nine is their equivalent of the witching hour. For tomorrow is another golden childhood day.
If there were no rules, would they regulate themselves?
It is a taxing question. Too many rules would be stifling. None at all, cruelty in itself.
So how many rules do we need? How much should we dare to control the lives of others?
Sometimes the rules one makes will stem from what one wants. Much after the manner of William the Conqueror and that Domesday Book of his.
William wanted money. He wanted to know what was out there, across this country of England, before he sent his cronies to demand a large slice of it.
The effect it had on the people was profound, and gave the book its name. They called it Domesday: because no-one could escape this great gathering of information. The Anglo Saxon Chronicles observe; …there was no single hide nor a yard of land, nor indeed one ox nor one cow nor one pig which was there left out: and all these records were brought to him afterwards.“
They were written down in Latin. And the records were organised , too, to be searchable; you could search by landholder, by manor, by county, and engagingly, by the smaller geographical areas once called wapentakes.
William set England in stone. He had shone light into the smallest English hamlet.
I was rummaging in my favourite dusty second-hand bookshop today when I came upon a startling find indeed.
It was a tiny red book, bound in cheap utilitarian plastic. It was printed in two languages: Chinese and English.
This was the Little Red Book written by Chairman Mao.
I know there must be millions of these floating around, but I have never before set eyes on one. An historic rule book in my fingers.
Mao. The man who controlled millions using the rules in his book: the intellectuals included.
“Intellectuals,” the book reads, “often tend to be subjective and individualistic, impractical in their thinking and irresolute in their action until…they have made up their minds to serve the interests of the masses. Intellectuals can overcome their shortcomings only in mass struggles over a long period.”
The 1966 Cultural Revolution branded some writers acceptable and some anti-socialist. The wrong kind would not work again. The old was seen as bourgeoise and priceless Chinese relics and writings were destroyed. The loss of life, under this merciless enforcer of rules, was on a terrifying scale.
And all in a bid to make a new socialist society.
Control: less an on-off switch, better as a dimmer system. Mao flicked the switch and his method has become infamous; William used information to turn up the light and enforce his will on a foreign land.
Maddie and Felix switch out the light while the light is dazzling outside, because we tell them they need their sleep. But we’ll be dimming the control as they grow.
Because every human needs to put the rule book down.