Some people don’t get to read, and that sucks

A very good woman I know is doing this thing that I like a) because it’s reading b) because it justifies my obsessive reading habit and c) because it helps people. When I lived in Alice Springs and worked in the library there, we often had children whose homes were temporary ones in the nearby dry riverbed. They would come into the library and play, or just sit and look at the books, giggling together or immersed and quiet. Books and reading are such gifts, but so commonplace it’s hard to imagine not having them. So if I can put my comfy little cone of silence to good use for other people to have the same opportunities, I certainly shall!

Jane Bryony Rawson

Illustration only Heaven. Image by Robert S. Donovan/Flickr

If you’ve ever read this blog before you know how much I love reading. In fact, if you read this blog I’m guessing you love reading too.

I am incredibly lucky: I was born in a home where books where everywhere and reading was valued. My parents read to me and encouraged me to read and to write from when I was very small. They also read in front of me, all the time, as though it were a thing worth doing.

I am not especially good at the everyday business of living. I often feel uncomfortable and awkward and embarrassed, sometimes scared or angry, just dumbfounded by the ways the world can be. Reading is my comfort and my confidante and I cannot imagine what life would be like to be without it. Horrible.

But even people who find the world encouraging and sensible…

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The Cat and the Mattress


After two years of insomnia, one day it occurred to me that a new mattress – one that was not 10 years old and looked like two inverted graves side by side – could possibly help me sleep.  That was 3 years ago. 

Lately SH has had trouble sleeping and it occurred to him that a new mattress might help.  I’m not sure if it was steam that came out of ears – indicating my temper boiling, or if it was smoke indicating my brain burning.  Either way, SH went to leave me at home to purchase a surprise mattress, and I was having none of it.  A mattress had to be tried, I said.  It had to be agreed upon by both parties, I said.  Yeah, yeah – he may or may not have said.  The hour trip into the other side of town meant I was quite ready to give mattress testing a really solid go, and SH made straight for the same mattress he bought from this store 15 years ago, ready to tell the young salesman to wrap it to go….

I had a bit more small talk with the salesman however (it was a slow day for him, poor mite) and next you know, we (I) was being shown into the Bellissimo room.  Room!  It was posh and the beds were soft and luxurious and felt like posh hotel beds.  It felt like I was a square of butter melting into a lovely thick piece of toasted white bread (can you tell I’m missing gluten much?).  Sadly, this lovely mattress cost twice as much and bit more, than the mattress clone in the other, boring room…but then I discovered something…

When I rolled over, SH didn’t get the ripples!

You know? No? Well, some technology stuff and things meant that the individual springs weren’t tied together or something or nothing…end result being, if one person moved the other was hardly the wiser.  This is a big deal in a relationship where one person’s insomnia/ipad use/restlessness directly affects the poor wife’s sleep and drives her mental.  And mean.

And so the luxurious bed was put on laybye.

Fast forward 4 months to last Friday night: Mattress delivery Friday at 10am.  Home and in my anticipatory pajamas by 6pm.  Looking good.  Fast asleep and snoring by 9.20pm apparently. A completely somnambulist ‘ahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh’.


‘Merrrrp’ is the sound our largely silent, small cat makes – if she was human she’d be Nina Simone.  She hides when it is “into the laundry time for dogs and cats” so that she can sneak back to lie in front of the fire unaccosted by silly, licky dogs and massive, murderous Maine Coon foster cats.  She rarely disturbs us except to let us know that the fire is getting low at around 4, when she would prefer it to be roaring, thanks very much.  However, I suspect there’s an evil side to her and that she’s a good candidate for being the monster under the bed, just for the pure entertainment value of it.  She gives the appearance of being a sweet, smart, tiny cat who rarely meows – instead she utilises the bell on her collar as it turns out it’s much more effective at rousing humans from sleep in the early hours.  She knows we can ignore her low pitched ‘Merrrp’ if we are deeply asleep, but the bell….the bloody bell…


You know how good our new mattress is?  Despite being the lightest sleeper in the world, I was able to incorporate her Merrrrps and dingdings into the dream I was having, and I was quite happy to do so. There were big buttery slabs of thick homemade white bread toast in that dream.  And lemon curd.

Dingdingdingdingdingdingdingdingding Merrrrrp?!

Awake.  And straight into that age old relationship bugbear: “I always have to wake up and do the cat/baby/vomitting child…I’m going to pretend to be alseep and let HIM get it FOR ONCE!”

After 20 years, you’d think I’d remember he can play possum much longer and better than I.

I lay listening to that dingdingdingding and growing more infuriated by the minute, wanting nothing more than to melt back into my inaugural sleep on the new mattress and SH, apparently, slept on!

Until he gave himself away by sneezing. 

I maintain, you cannot sneeze in your sleep.  He says otherwise, but he has been sucking up an awful lot since then.

Irate, I climbed down off the bed (Bonus: the mattress has a topper and it’s really high: makes me feel all petite and wee – those who know me, know how hard that is) and attempted to collect the cat…little tart, the fire was fine, and we had a merry (not!) game of cat and idiot around the house, before I caught her and dumped her in the laundry and returned to my toast, err mattress, I mean bed!

On my old mattress, I would’ve harrumphed and climbed into bed noisily and disturbingly, and SH would have possumed right through that too, mongrel, although I’m sure (I hope) he’d be at least mildly irritated…but on the new mattress all I could do was add the noise…there was no disturbation at all, at all.

And the flipping thing was so comfortable I got over myself and went to sleep!

Guess who is getting collected every night from now on in, for Laundry bed time (surprisingly not the possum) no matter how cute she is by the fire?!

And sneezing – tell me reader – can you sneeze in your sleep? Do get back to me, I’m pretty sure there’s some score settling to be done!