We all have terrible nights, and I know on a scale of human disasters, they are nothing when we have a soft bed to sleep in and four walls surrounding us; but last night must have been in my top five, or even two.
We have all been suffering from some flu-like thing over the last week; the residue of which, in my case, has taken up residence in my lungs like a dusty old crow, rasping and fluttering.
The night before last I slept for about an hour between bouts of coughing and kept Mark totally awake too. So last night in order to protect the main bread-winner of the household (and because of the fact I quite like him) I opted to sleep in the spare room.
Snuggling down with a hot water bottle (one of about three things I like about winter) I told myself that this would be a good and restful night filled with that sort of rich, thick, blanketing sort of sleep that we only, as adults, achieve very rarely, due to worry over bills, too much caffeine, snoring loved ones etc.
I had just dropped off, when Mark entered the room: "Ezra's been sick." Flung hot water bottle aside and went to join in the mopping up, soothing of boy etc.
Back to bed, hot water bottle positioned, many layers drawn up against the general fridge-ness of that particular room, and the coughing started. That little twingy tickle that you try to ignore: maybe it will just subside. No – full on donkey noises for five minutes: tried sleeping on back, front, sides and finally sitting up, head lolling as if on a train. Nope.
Eventually, I discovered a sort of nonchalant style that seemed to work. If I put all the pillows in the room in a stack against the headboard and then lay against them as if trying to stop a fence collapsing, I could nod off; almost as if I had to pretend to my own body that I wasn't really trying to sleep. What's that about? Surely elements of me should be taking an interest in keeping me going, not providing sleep deprivation torture.
Anyway it worked for at least fifteen minutes, then the runty dog got out of his bed and announced that he would like to go and bark uselessly at mysterious things in the garden. This is always a mild form of Russian Roulette: does he really want to go out to have a pee/poo? or does he just want to run around the house like a mobile tripod asserting his non A-dogness.
I left my nest and let him out so that he could bark, a LOT. Then on his return, shoved him in his bed, wrapped him up and went back to my bed, refilling tepid H W bottle first.
I was just wandering around a flowery summer market when violent footsteps overhead broke the images. Abandoned bed again, this time considering for a moment whether whatever was going on upstairs might just settle down then I remembered Mark's mad schedule in the morning and went upstairs. He was standing, looking bleary, in his tartan pyjama bottoms and a top that has a skull and the words Protest on it. "Ezra's been sick."
Forcing the Mark-cormorant (will explain another time) back to bed, I cleaned the bed, boy, linen, etc and went back to bed.
The fence-leaning thing no longer worked, so I sat up and did some editing until all the words fused into one: Insomnia, then eventually drifted into a light sleep, to be woken by Runty dog, again. This time I bundled him up and said: 'stay in your dratted bed you small annoying rat', or something more lurid.
So, the bed, yes . . . tried the leaning thing again, but as I was cold now, had to keep making tiny adjustments in the bedding: cover the foot there, oops, neck exposed, where are the tissues . . . just a tiny stretch . . . shit, covers all slump to the floor. Flopped them on again, then . . . what was that small clicking sound? I can't sleep with dripping taps, was it a tap? when I filled the HWB did I leave the tap dripping? SHIT. Right . . . into the bathroom. Nope tap off, clicking still going though. I looked around, wrapped in a towel, really cold now: nothing.
Back to bed. Total exhaustion. Did slip into some weird dream about an old lady coming to stay in the B and B and wanting to know if she could hire a gun. Woke up abruptly (quite good, as the dream was annoying) and the dog was prancing about again.
I looked at the clock: 5.00 am, As we seem to have to get up at 5.30 at the moment anyway, I thought I'd make some tea.
Discovered he had woofed in order to let me know that he had DONE a poo but he wanted to go outside to tell everyone else about it - kicked him out and went into the kitchen to get cleaning stuff; stepped in a lake of dog wee and, nearly, a large offering from Big Dog.
Cleaned everything, told the dogs and the cat to F OFF and went back to bed with a large cup of tea and dozed fitfully while Brian Rix, a vicar and a large-breasted woman chased each other around the room.