Long haul fights play with your body clock by grabbing the big hand and spinning it like a roulette wheel. The gamble is whether you'll manage to get a wink or two of sleep.  Time for some pharmaceutical assistance.

Always read the instructions...

Outbound: the packet says to take no more than one tablet in a 24 hour period. They must be strong. The immediate temptation is of course to take multiple tablets to make sure the job gets done properly (after the in flight meal obviously) but to gauge their true power, I think a controlled experiment is required.  Just the one tablet with a G&T then and I'll wake up fresh and ready for a trade fair and factory visit. 

Maybe not.  If the packet had boasted that I would get a great many periods of broken sleep, I'd probably have been reasonably happy.  Optimistically, I was expecting deep, I'm-away-from-the-kids-for-a-few-days, bottomless sleep. And I was left with only disappointment. Anyway, onwards to the trade fair. 

More disappointment. Experience has told me that products don't come looking for you and, sometimes, you can't find them either. Have my tastebuds been desensitised by all the chilli that is in absolutely everything or are people actually buying this rubbish? Hmmm, plenty of Europeans about. A good sign. Is this the right trade fair, there must be some more halls?  "Area C this way". Aha! I'm coming to get you, oh holy grail of products. 

Area C: for suppliers who couldn't afford the pitches in Areas A & B.  Never mind, tomorrow is all about seeing the operations of a new supplier, checking their quality control procedures are up to scratch and also trying to broaden our range with them, following yesterday's mini disaster.  

In Asia, all companies seem to have drivers on standby to pick you up from your hotel and take you here, there and everywhere. And when the visit is over and it's time to go back to base to try and catch up on lost sleep our host gracefully says about the driver "Oh, take him for the rest of the day, he's yours, he'll wait while you stop for food, whatever you want to do".  Everybody needs a good driver but we're British and head straight back to the hotel without wishing to waste any more of his time enveloped in this relentless swarm of mopeds. 

Many mopeds on a busy road in the Far East

The eye mask is mightier than the sleeping tablet... 

Inbound: A daytime flight. This is more like it, no sleeping tablets required, I'll get a few blockbusters under my belt. Two films in, I have a quick check on the map (we're almost home!) and we've barely reached Delhi. Maybe I'll get some sleep instead to break up the journey. Unfortunately the sleeping tablets are in the overhead locker and I don't fancy my chances clambering over my two (sleeping) row companions to fetch them without falling into their laps.  Wait a second, what's this in with the headphones, an eye mask? I'll give it a whirl. Wow, it does actually block out a fair bit of light. 

I awaken 3 hours later, slightly more refreshed and have timed it perfectly to be handed a Feast ice cream by the air hostess. A Feast!  In my sleepy daze while checking in online this morning, did I opt for a kids meal by mistake? Oh well, at least it doesn't have chilli on it...