I warn you now, I’m a bit below par. Tired y’see.
When on the road one ends up taking compromises on the sleeping arrangements. This can be for reasons such as… what our friends/relatives have to offer, to budget, to commercial availability, to the sheer what-the-hell of it and because I’ve deliberately booked an overnight flight/train to save on hotel costs. Most of this can be taken in ones stride and enjoyed.
When in Kerala we rented a houseboat for an overnight tour of the Alleppey backwaters. Being India there was a hitch with the accommodations, an error in the deal done online from the UK, wrong star alignment or something. It matters not the reason. Suffice to say we ended up us all four in a tiny room with one bed. We bagged an extra mattress for the floor. Being southern India it was sticky, stinky, sweaty hot so the promise of aircon was alluring. So we all cram in like a little pride of lazy lions. (With proper Indian irony, the AC is broken and offers the binary choice: Arctic or Off. We opt for Arctic with blankets, sleep well and emerge to an outdoor sauna in the morning.)
In essence, the secret to taking sleeping arrangements in your stride is not being completely cream-crackered. Tempers fray when fatigue turns up.
Indeed due to sleeping arrangements this post is being typed stood up in the kitchen with the rest of the pride sound asleep. [Look away now if you’re sensitive. Too much detail approaching] I’ve never blogged in the buff, overlooking Sydney Harbour before, but I can now add to my catalogue of odd achievements. (It’s also a dubious treat for the locals if they are looking.) Howcome? Because MB is asleep in the living room, the girls have the main bedroom and apart from the windowless bathroom, I’m stumped. No clothes in any location that can be obtained without waking sleepyheads. At least the bathroom has somewhere to sit I s’pose. Ah, but no tea making facilities. So it’s the middle of my day (08.40 in this instance) and – as seems to becoming usual – I’m the only one awake. Too many Sydney late nights y’see. The English and hybrid Welsh/English not able to take the pace. (Did I mention Wales have won the 2012 Grand Slam?)
Side, side bar:
Tea making in ones birthday suit adds a frisson of danger due to boiling water and the proximity to parts usually clothed. Give it a whirl and use the reply button on the blog page to let me know how you get on? (At your own risk.)
Ahh, Gruppenfurher is awake and pokes her head into the kitchen. She wrinkles her nose at the wrinkled view and whispers a yelled command: “Kettle Boiled?”
How do I tell her without death ensuing that there’s a freshly made cup of Earl Grey with little milk – as default specified – on her bedside cabinet already? It is wise not to mess with she-who-must-be-obeyed first thing.
Still with me? Sorry about all that.
Anyhow, tired circumstance brings emergency measures. So last night we went for the boys room and the girls room. J was threatening bad things to M if he kept her awake – again – so the decent thing was done. This morning, M is refreshed, chirpy and ready for another day. J is still asleep and I presume G has found her tea. I am feeling slightly second-hand, with a careless previous owner. Awakening with a start doesn’t help. Forgive me, but I am not used to waking up to a mini-flagpole from someone else in the bed. It takes a second to realise M has his knee stuck aloft. Phew. As I get over this faux surprise, I recall the night movements… Man that boy can move around. Clearly there’s a roll-together effect on a sofa-bed but the lashing out in your slumber? No need for it, surely? The sleep talking? What’s all that about? (Okay, I do it myself and he’s my son, but still.)
If you’ve ever shared a bed with a hound – ohh, puh-lease, I am clearly referring to a mans-best-friend – you’ll be familiar with the following phenomenon. To be fair, babies manage it too. It’s where the smaller creature rearranges itself to take all the comfortable space. The larger creature maintains an area advantage, but the plots of available bed-space are inconveniently spread. It makes for a tiring night for one party. Hence the incomprehensible prose employed today.
This is not true for J. The girls – apart from some whistling Sydney wind [stop it] – had an excellent nights kip. Jealous? Moi? You betcha.
Another element to the sleeping arrangement involves, er, marital hugging. A commodity that has been in desperately short supply. (Clearly this is my own, singular point of view.) This – I am hoping – is principally due to the prevailing sleeping conditions and nothing more. Of course, when such hugs are deliberately withheld, menfolk are the last to be made aware are they not? Or so I am told. I shall round this cryptic, mercifully detail-free paragraph off with the thought that we are working on new methods which for now I shall label ‘stealth mode’. More research needed. Much, much, much more. [Younger readers: demand a grown up explain what on earth this writer is on about. Just to see if they can. Enjoy watching said adult’s squirming reaction. Be prepared not to receive the full story.]
Oops, there I go again. Must be lack of sleep.
The boys are never happier than going to bed when it suits – early – and rising when it suits – early again. The girls’ rhythm involves staying up until stupid-o’clock and then being demonic if awaking anything before 11AM. Suffice to say we are struggling to find a line of best fit here. What works to a point is M quietly playing early doors Nintedo whilst Dad goes out for a walk. (Pre-going-to-bed prep required here, which I failed to achieve last night. Hence the alarming kitchen scene this morning.)
Sleeping on transport has also been a challenge. A 5AM rental car ride to Gold Coast airport saw three-quarters of the party getting a couple of extra hours and then being grumpy for at least the following 48. (Testy denials are all the proof I need for my opinion to become fact here.) M won the best-night-on-the-train award in Karnataka, much to everyone elses chagrin. I am family champion on sleeping on planes, but it’s a hollow, crick-necked victory against some lame competition. (We’re still less than half-way, plenty of time to practice.)
The team great-night’s-sleep award goes to Singapore and the lovely beds in Damian’s condo: as we were all worn out from India. Conversely we had a sweaty night on four teeny mattresses in a hut on stilts on Pulau Mantanani and we all loved that too. Go – as the Americans say – figure.
I am not travelling toward a conclusion here, but will remark that travelling family sleeping arrangements are all about context. Now that everyone else is awake, I might find a quiet corner and nod off.