Last weekend we took a family trip to Snailbeach in Shropshire. We were going to a Curlew Lantern Making Workshop (which was most excellent, in case you want to know). On the way there, the Sat Nav took us down the wrong road. It was taking us ‘as the crow flies’ rather than along the sorts of roads that cars should regularly go down, i.e. those with tarmac. The road it took us down (which turned out to be a dead end) was extremely bumpy and pot-holed. It reminded me of a similar road in Charlbury which when we lived there we affectionately called ‘the bumpy way’ (Crawborough Road). I used to walk down that road quite frequently with number one child in a pushchair if I wanted said child to drift off to sleep. It was a road that you would want to avoid if you were in a car. It was a road that small babies love.
A random bumpy road
Later that night, I had a weird thought. What if we could all describe ourselves as a road, what road would we choose? I decided that my husband would be the M1 (dependable and important, like a backbone and if out of action the result is chaos). My eldest son would be the M54 (straight, steady, comforting, predictable). My middle son is definitely the M5 (slow, especially in good weather, and likely to cause big delays, but brings much joy in the end). My youngest is without a doubt the M6 (noisy, busy, stressful, but never, ever dull).
The M5 on a good day
Perhaps I had this weird thought because I love motorways (just like my dad).
Does he look like the M5?
I’m not a motorway, I’m the road we drove along in Snailbeach, or ‘the bumpy way’ in Charlbury: unpredictable, totally impractical, a little annoying and likely to cause much damage to your car.
A bumpy car
So, what road would you be?
This is the weird thought I had last night as I was fighting the urge to sleep. I was cross because I didn’t want to go to bed yet. It had only been a full day since the last time I’d have the same urge. The thought started out as a desire to rebel against the routine of life (wake, breakfast, do stuff, lunch, do more stuff, tea, watch TV, sleep) and how the need to sleep every 24 hours for 8 hours stops us from having potentially amazing adventures. We can of course have an adventure that lasts about 16 hours or so, but then, we need to stop adventuring and find a bed. How dull is that? How bland and just, plain boring it is to have to find somewhere to sleep every day at the same time every day? Sleep is so annoying. What if we were on the cusp of a great adventure or discovery and it happened to be 11pm? Needing sleep is so yawnsville, don’t you think?
Then I came up with the idea that perhaps we don’t really need sleep every 24 hours and maybe we’ve been conditioned to think we need sleep regularly. So, I hear you ask, who do you think has done this conditioning? Is it the cats again? No, this time it isn’t the cats. I decided last night, as I crawled wearily under the duvet, that it is the banks and building societies, hotel owners and landlords who are responsible for this social conditioning. I have a theory that they have colluded together to brainwash us into thinking we need to find somewhere to sleep every 24 hours for about 8 hours in one stretch and it is they that we pay to do so. If we didn’t need that sleep, we wouldn’t have a need for hotels, B&Bs or houses. We could live freely and cheaply on the beach or in cities. So I think it is all big conspiracy and the hotel owners, bank managers, and mortgage advisers are rubbing their hands in glee as I type this. The cats, for once, aren’t even close to the equation.
Not my fault for once
So tonight, at 11pm, as I find that overwhelming urge take over me yet again, and only 24 hours since the last time it took me, perhaps I should fight it and go out and have an adventure. Or, on the other hand, maybe I’ll just put on the Big Bang Theory, read my book, and gently drift off into dreamland where the adventures are the cost of a mortgage on a four-bedroomed house.
An expensive place to sleep