I have a very small guest room, intended to discourage people from staying long. The idea of bumping into other people in the morning is not attractive. I wouldn't want them talking through Today, or have to boil them an egg when I only do that on Sundays for myself.

I very much like living alone, and never make my bed. The cleaner does that twice a week. As a farmer's son, I always get up before 7am, and if I'm scribbling can usually drive myself to the desk by nine. I don't like staying in bed, even if I've been up till 3am.

At night, if I'm not going out, I really enjoy the wonderful, womb- like feeling of drawing the curtains and, in winter, switching on the log-effect gas fire. I'm 62, and my libido left long before George Melly's. If it's awakened, I just send out for a Chinese takeaway.

I can sleep anywhere, which is why I don't drive - I'd tend to drop off at the wheel. I frequently sleep in theatres during a play, but, because it can ruin the whole evening, I try to condition it so that I drop off straight away, get about five minutes' sleep, then wake up bright-eyed and bushy- tailed for the rest of the play.

I read in bed - at the moment I'm doing some background reading for a novel. Nothing serious - I'm not trying to be a Melvyn Seth. Watching the Late Show from the comfort of my duvet is a must, and then I'm off. I leave the radio on all night in case I wake up. Chat shows and phone-ins are a great soporific. I only have to hear Fred of Wapping droning on to fall immediately back to sleep.

My dreams are generally run- of-the-mill stuff - falling down holes and things - but I did once dream that I met Joan Plowright who invited me in for tea with Larry. I knew them only slightly at the time. The next morning her secretary phoned me: 'Oh, Mr Sherrin, Joan would so like it if you'd come to our party for Larry on Friday week.'

I also dreamt a lot about Caryl Brahms (with whom I collaborated for many years) after she died. She would return and suggest doing a play, and I would have to explain gently that it would be embarrassing for everyone who'd gone to her very nice memorial service if she suddenly erupted in rehearsals again. I understand it is quite unusual to be aware that someone is actually dead while dreaming them alive.

I've collected several good bed- related anecdotes and bons mots. I think my favourite is Mrs Patrick Campbell's description of marriage as 'giving up the hurly-burly of the chaise-longue for the deep peace of the double bed'. The only memorable nocturnal experience I've had recently is that I was burgled the other night - I slept right through it.

You see, I'm not so much a great wit myself as the recorder of wit in others. People find the opening monologue of Loose Ends terribly witty, but that's scripted by writers. I simply have the instincts of a dedicated gossip, and that's what I'm best known for. Jonathan Miller, directing Denis Quilley as Sheridan's Sir Benjamin Backbite in The School for Scandal, told him: 'Think Ned Sherrin.' I don't mind having this reputation - good God, it's better than having none at all.

Another anecdote came back to me pretty quickly. Someone asked a theatre director in the States if he'd heard of me. 'Funny you should say that,' said the director. 'Everyone in the US thinks he's terribly well known in Britain and vice versa - in fact no one knows who the hell he is anywhere]'

Being the subject of an anecdote is, of course, a status symbol, a bit like finding that your entry in Who's Who is as long as your penis: you've made a name for yourself after years of obscurity.

Ned Sherrin is the presenter of Radio 4's 'Loose Ends'. He is also a writer and theatre director and has published two volumes of anecdotes. He lives in London. 'Ned Sherrin in his Anecdotage' is to be published by Virgin on 21 October at pounds 16.99.

(Photograph omitted)

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