13 July 2013

The art of napping

Yesterday the sun slid into our lounge, and my eyes slid shut. This is where I lay.

There are some prerequisites for a successful winter afternoon nap. Obviously you need to be tired and have a fairly quiet room*. But the others can be summed up as follows.

A woollen blanket is essential. Don't talk to me about 'fleece'. It sounds sheepy, but it's made of plastic. It belongs in the car for an easily-washed travel rug, or on the bed of someone who's allergic to dustmites. But for me there is nothing like a blanket made purely from wool of sheep. The hand-washing is nothing compared to the pleasure I get from it.

It's better if someone has given it to you. The one in the photo was passed to me by my friend Rebecca.

Secondly, a heat source. Sun, a fire, or a hot water bottle with a woollen cover. We've been a adoring our wood fire, and every night I have TWO hot water bottles - one for tummy and one for feet, of course. We heat most of the hottie water on the fire. But yesterday the sun came through for me.

Thirdly, a cat. It's not essential, of course. But it's assured in our house that if the cat is inside, and a human lies down on a bed or settee for long enough, sooner or later we'll feel the brief, delicate bounces of a cat alighting next to us, and it will feel so right.

This part of the procedure can be refined too, I think. The cat, I think, should be as fluffy as possible. It should also settle down quickly, without too much kneading of paw, nuzzling of head or insistence to be petted. Ours is of this nature, and knows just where to curl up like a grey cushion in crook of leg or curve of body so that both parties gain maximum pleasure from each other without undue interference.

Relinquishing all resistance to sleep during the day is the epitome of bliss. The best of times for me is when not only do my thoughts break up into 'Owl and Pussycat' type fantasia, but when I can feel the colourful fragments of a kaleidoscope tinkling in my mind.

Once consciousness emerges again, the cat should still be there, having slept in synchrony with the human.

Yesterday I arose, and found I'd slept for two - two! - whole hours. I quickly roused myself to my jobs. But the cat remained, a reminder of the luxury I'd just experienced, and that's when I took the photo.

*When Anna was very little and used to wake me at 5am every day, I was so tired in the afternoons that I could sleep in the noisiest of rooms, with children bounding about me. I could even respond to them and fall straight back into my daytime dreams. Once I woke up to find that napisan had been added to the birdbath and it was overflowing with foam. It's never been as clean since.

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