There are some regimes to this resting time. In hot countries it is clear that the best thing to do in the hottest part of the day is to lay down and keep as still as possible. Work can continue later, when its cooler and more pleasant. Yet here in Britain we never really have that scenario. We have some hot days, but never enough to warrant an afternoon nap to get away from the heat.
I remember when I was about 3 years old being almost forced by my mother to sleep after lunch, though tiredness was the last thing on my mind. She used to sit me on her lap and tell me that I did not need to sleep, just close my eyes for a while. This seemed a ridiculous notion to me. I now realise the thinking behind it. She was exhausted. And having just got the elder 2 children back to school it was her chance to have a few minutes peace – if only I had let her.
Sleeping in the daytime has always seemed a slovenly thing to do in my view. Especially the people who actually undress and get into bed. What a waste of a day, what a waste of daylight hours.
Others have a regime too. Hospitals for example.
Most have a rest time usually in between about 1pm and 3pm – but not for the full 2 hours. Usually before visiting times, presumably so that you are looking as well as can be expected for your situation and circumstances. Don’t want the visitors thinking you are looking unwell.
Sometimes, unfortunately in some wards, lunch is late. This means you have to wolf down your rice pudding in semi darkness as the curtains have already been drawn to the outside world. And by the time the tea lady arrives, she assumes everyone is asleep so you miss out on that one. Never mind, don’t stay asleep too long and you might catch the afternoon cuppa.
The curtains never seem to close properly across the windows either. There’s a gap where the harsh sunlight bounces onto the shiny floors and sends a glare into your eyes, no matter which way you turn. You can put one arm over your eyes to stop the glare and wake with stiff muscles and pins and needles, or you can lay on your stomach with your face in the pillow. But hospital pillows weren’t made for breathing through.
This is the time for the nurses and any other passing staff to have their daily conversation about last night’s meal at the pub, or this weekends forthcoming one, in loud voices, outside your ward. As you can’t sleep in this anyway, you might as well try and enjoy the conversation, see if you can get a snippet of scandal to amuse your visitors when they come. You just can never actually put the faces to the voices and the straining to catch the crucial punch line is enough to make you fatigued. You feel yourself drifting, just as the lights come on blindingly and a voice is saying “are ya havin a drink love?”
Having a lie in at home can be just as stressful. You have a lie in today, someone says. We’ll see to everything and it’ll be all done when you wake up. Just have a good rest. Bliss! You think.
They leave the room asking do you want the curtains open? Another blanket? Anything at all? No, no, NO ! They leave the room at last ...and leave the door open. You crawl out of bed and close it. Back in bed you thump the pillows a few times then close your eyes. The dog scratches on the door. You crawl out again and leave the door just a little ajar, so it can come and go as it pleases. Peace.
Downstairs the washing machine is doing the laundry of the whole country and the washing up must be from a hundred meals. Crash, bang, splash, ping.
And of course its bin day. More bangs and crashes and some friendly banter between the workers which they yell at each other to be heard above the whirring and rumbling as the machine does it's job. The lorry takes forever to leave the street.
The post arrives. more mail than at Christmas, today and something that needs signing for too. Which involves some more chatter and laughter from inside and outside the house.
Then - silence. Yes, definately silence.
The bedroom door opens slowly, with a
“Had a nice lie in? I brought you a cup of tea”.