Sleeping has never been a bedfellow of mine. As a child I used to envy my sister Christine who could sleep through the morning. Sometimes into the afternoon. “The early bird catches the worm” or “the best part of the day” are in those categories of phrases that have been dreamt up to make people who are thoroughly pissed off about a situation somehow feel better. The “best part of the day” is late evening at a friend’s house when the banter is flowing, not six o’clock the following morning, sitting in the lounge in a tiger suit with only a guinea pig for company.
I have always been an early to bed person but since Africa I have got worse. I gave Dad a row for phoning at 9.15 on Friday night! Good god man I was sleeping! I had been to bed early all week but rising early too. However, as I knew we had a dinner party last night (Saturday) I thought I would try to get as much kip as possible on Friday night in an effort to stay up to, wait for it, midnight on Saturday.
I got the sleep on Friday, rising at 6.10am to go for a run around the reservoirs with Karen. I worked all day and didn’t suffer my usual mid-afternoon lull. We set off for Fran and Dave’s in good fettle.
The eyelids started dancing at 10pm. My neck muscles did their best but the head kept falling. Around me there was hilarity and laughter. Fran, Mhairi and Vicky’s squawking bringing me back to consciousness.
My girls were there too. Brimful of energy. Dancing, singing, shouting. I longed for my bed. Vicky kept saying we must go as she offered her ample tumbler to be replenished with the contents of the Grimshaw spirit cupboard. Sloe gin being necked at 1 am, I fear the church choir may be a woman light this morning.
At 1.30am we left. Rebecca got wind of an offer to stay the night and refused to cooperate. A battle of wills ensued between mother and daughter. The journey home was a war of attrition, Rebecca torn between standing stock still with arms folded, feet cemented to the pavement, risking being left behind or caving in. As ever she is the supreme negotiator.
I walked back to get her with consoling words of the impracticalities of an impromptu sleepover. She stared defiantly at me.
“Come on Beako, let’s go home” I coaxed.
Her eyes gave away no hint of her decision or the next words that she would utter.
“Can we play tig?”