I had one of those nights where I couldn’t sleep. Yesterday afternoon, I went for a long walk (for me). Sensible shoes, water, a hat, and off I went, up through the village to the ‘lone tree’, and out onto the path along the hillside to Xissos, and back to the village via the road. Home to home in one and a half hours and straight into the shower. I wasn’t so much celebrating the walk at the end of it, but I was celebrating the fact we still haven’t had to turn on the hot water tank since June, and the water was still warm enough that it didn’t make me swear.
After being up since three in the morning and after doing three and a half miles uphill and down, I was ready for bed at half eight but hung on until nine, when I headed off, looking forward to a good night’s sleep. Could I? Could I buffalo. I tried laying this way and that, but posture made no difference. I tried all those other tricks too. Remembering places I’d been to and walking through houses I’d lived in, recalling pleasant memories, picturing nothing, picturing lying on a raft on a flat calm sea at night, and reciting Under Milk Wood, or the first few lines as I can only remember the first few lines of anything. Silence. To begin at the beginning… Try a poem. Once upon a midnight dreary, while I pondered, weak and weary…No. ’Twas brillig, and the slithy tories did grye and gimble in wabe: All mimsy were the Labourites, and the mome Libs outrgabe…
Try picturing scenes from the walk, like this one:
Then I got to thinking, ‘Perhaps I am too tired to sleep.’
Apparently being too tired to sleep is a thing. So where did that expression come from then? To be a thing? When did something being a thing become a thing? As if it wasn’t bad enough wondering about that, I then started wondering if it was possible to be too tired to sleep. Surely that’s like being too hungry to eat.
‘What a wonderful banquet, Marjory, but I couldn’t possibly. I am far too peckish to eat a thing.’
Or being too thirsty to drink.
‘Just crawled in from the desert, dear. Hell of a tailback on the dunes. Kept me out there for six days. Oh, very kind, but no water for me. I am far too thirsty.’
Apparently, being too cold to snow is also a thing.
‘I think it might snow.’
‘Oh no, it’s far too cold to snow.’
Presumably, you can also say it’s far too wet to rain.
I tried asking the 348 cows in the field if they had any plans to lie down, but they told me to ask the sheep in the next field. There were 382 of them, and I was still awake.
Relive the wonder of the day’s wander…
I felt Neil come in, and realised I was in trouble. It was definitely late and I am body-clocked into waking at three, four at the latest, I started doing that thing where you count down the hours until you’re going to be awake, and thinking, ‘If I drop off now, I’ll have five hours.’ Check the clock. ‘I’ll have four hours.’ Think of nothing, and there we are having a discussion with Richard Burton about rain in the desert and what does mimsy mean? Yay! I’m asleep.
I’m awake. Mimsy means to be rather feeble and prim or affected, so Richard tells me. The fan is now off, but it’s neither warm nor cold, so do not adjust, normal sleeping service will return shortly. Ah, two thirty is it. Perhaps it’s too early to get up. Then again, if it’s too wet to rain, too cold to snow, and presumably, hot to be warm, it is, paradoxically, never too early to get up.
So I did. This is the result, and now, to work. Or do I have too much work to do to work?
[Before I suffer the slings and arrows of outrageously clutched pearls, yes, I know you can be too hungry to eat. Ditto paradoxical insomnia. It’s half three in the morning, so take the thing in the spirit it was meant.]