Wednesday 3 June 2020

To Sleep, Perchance to Dream

How are your sleep patterns right now? I find it hard to go to sleep when it is hot, and since I got over the virus, I have been waking earlier than usual. I tiptoe downstairs and potter about as quietly as I can in the kitchen, making bread dough or preparing the yogurt maker, and then take Bob a cup of tea around 7ish. Some people I know are struggling in similar ways - laying awake during the night, pondering on the world situation, the pandemic, whether tomorrow is Dustbin Day etc. 
Steph and Gaz are coming to terms with a little man waking them through the night needing feeds. 
After the Great Shredding exercise, I went on to Decluttering my Desk. Gentle exercise, walking to and from the recycling bin will relax me, and I hope to sleep better when evening comes. But honestly, down the back of my desk I've unearthed some fascinating items, which should have been discarded years ago. That Pilates DVD - dated 2005 - as far as I know I have never even taken it out of its sleeve. Was I hoping to start doing those exercises? The BWA bookmark, also from 2005 can go. The Waitrose vouchers expired 6 months ago, and the contents of the pack of wipes[bbe 08/14] are drier than the Sahara. 
The little clipping from a magazine - well I have no idea how old that is. It is part of an interview with PD James, and clearly from the last millennium. 
I have always enjoyed her books. Phyllis James was a lifelong member of the Church of England, and supporter of the Prayerbook Society. In my little clipping, it explains that she had been created a life peer in the 1991 New Year's Honours List. "Baroness James Of Holland Park, of Southwold in the County of Suffolk" 
Her great friend Ruth Rendell asked how she was celebrating this, and declared "Phyllis, you must have a new bed" And so this lovely lady had a four poster especially made. At each corner rose a highly polished slender pole, topped with a carved angel gazing protectively down.
"Matthew, Mark, Luke and John - bless the bed that I lie on" 
On the headboard is carved her coat of arms - I have hunted  everywhere for a picture of this. The description  from the college of Heraldry is amazing, it involves books, quill pens, tabby cats and the Southwold Lighthouse! update; thank you Pollyanna for the link!
But it also includes her motto, Gratus Erga Deum Beatitudine Vitae  - which means "Grateful to God for all the blessings of this life."
This gifted woman wrote some brilliant [and often gruesome] crime novels - but she knew that one of the best ways to get a good night's sleep is to end the day being calm, and peaceful, and counting one's blessings.
I bet she kept her desk tidier than mine though...


  1. I read your blog but don't comment - but just to note that I Googled

    Baroness James of Holland Park coat of arms

    and got a very nice picture (from the front page of her memorial booklet) returned as the first image!

  2. Thank you Pollyanna, post duly amended

  3. I always read her books. They can be a bit gruesome, but so well written.
    I should be cleaning out my desk too.....

  4. I loved P.D.James' mysteries but I treasure her memoir "Time to be in Earnest" - it is a year in her life (I believe her 80th) but also looks back so it is really an autobiography. I highly recommend it.

  5. Margie, I didn't know about her memoir. I shall check it out. I know she had a very interesting life, and was more than just a writer!Thank you for mentioning it

  6. I have never suffered from insomnia before but I do now sometimes. I am always thinking about what needs to be done next day. I read a lot of PD James at the beginning of the lockdown. It is a bit gruesome but a good quality, undemanding read.

  7. You are right, she writes well but it doesn't tax the brain too much.


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