Monday 7 May 2007

Seaside and insomnia

Oh the horribleness of insomnia. I am greeting the week in a haze again, eyes sore and mind fogged. Two hours sleep I had. It’s deeply unfair. Jep will understand…. What is most irritating is that I must have written nigh-on twenty features on sleep and insomnia over the years. I’ve spoken to every expert, tried every last cure (even going to bed in cold damp socks – courtesy of Lesley Kenton, usually a mine of useful and comforting information but sadly astray on that one). In fact, I clearly remember talking to Lesley. It was about ten years ago, before I had James, and in those halcyon days when I had never suffered even a moment’s sleeplessness. She told me that she hadn’t had a decent night’s sleep since having her children and I clearly recall feeling quite horrified. A famous health writer unable to solve her insomnia? How careless. Now, of course, I unreservedly apologise for even thinking such a thing, for karma came round and bit me on the bum. Sleep and I have been playing silly buggers ever since I fell pregnant.

Adrian arrived home on Saturday and James and I fairly raced out the door to meet him. For once it was not only James who was hunting through his pockets, hoping for treats. He had promised ‘hand on heart’ as I can’t believe anyone can get to and from and into and around a foreign country without a zillion opportunities to buy something, anything for your nearest and dearest. But still I was prepared to be disappointed – after all, this is the man who tends to think that a postcard of a brewery and maybe a promotional pen is a suitable souvenir of a trip abroad. But this time I ate my words (quite literally). He had done a raid on a Spanish delicatessen and brought back a foodie haul of various chorizos and hams, tangy Manchego, some other deliciously gooey cheese and big fat olives. Plus a bottle of perfume (not deodorant this time, praise be). Plus various bits for James. Brownie (or should that be Scout) points all round.
He’d had a fine time at the cider convention and came back extolling the virtues of Canadian champagne cider and Japanese fruit cider (or it might have been the other way around).

James and I gave him the three cheers he’d missed at the last (halleluyah) football training of the season (he helps coach the under-9s) and also a huge hug. Absence really does make the heart grow fonder – it was absolutely lovely to see him. I truly think that a few days apart does all couples the world of good – it makes you appreciate the other one just that bit more.
By pure serendipity, we had the perfect opportunity for a little ‘just the two of us’ bonding (yeeuch, that sounds ghastly). Yesterday James was whisked away for a birthday party at The Big Sheep, out near Bideford in North Devon. Toady, we thought of you! So A and I (and Asbo makes three) went to Appledore.

Appledore is a lovely seaside town, with picture-postcard cottages, painted in rainbow colours, all higgledy-piggledy down small winding lanes. It’s the kind of place where you always find something new, something to lure the eye. This time it was that clear pure shade of mauve – that reminded me with a kick to the solar plexus – of a crimplene trouser suit my mother made me to wear on the first holiday after my father died. Isn’t it funny – I hadn’t thought of that suit for all those years.
We'd had in mind a long walk along the coastal path but we soon discovered that this stretch is not that thrilling (copious amounts of dog poo and rather sludgy sea) so after an hour or so we turned back and by the time we returned to Appledore, we were ready for rest and refreshment. Our favourite café, on the seafront, was open (there IS a God) and so we had a leisurely few coffees and a slab of carrot and walnut cake, while reading the papers. It’s so rare to get the chance to just sit and be.

‘I suppose you’ll want to go to Atlantic Village,’ said Adrian, referring to a rather grim shopping outlet nearby.
‘Oh God, no.’
‘Oh. OK. I thought you would.’ Did he sound a little disappointed? Surely not. A few minutes passed as we sipped and read.
‘Are you sure you don’t want to go to Atlantic Village?’
‘Quite sure. Ghastly place.’
I read the supplements and he read the sports pages and then…
‘Umm. Well actually, I wouldn’t mind going there. I thought I might be able to get some shoes.’
How typical is that?
So we went. I said I’d lose myself in the Planet/Country Casuals shop while he looked for his shoes. And, of course, he came back empty-handed in time to find me handing over my credit card while the assistant wrapped two sort of coat-come-overshirt things into a big shiny carrier. Well, they were a bargain! And truly, how could I resist when one was the pure lime-green of the fresh new leaves and the other that deep dark rich and naughty purple?

I nabbed a Lavatera for my mother who wants one for some reason (can’t see the attraction myself) and we raided the deli for a picnic (stuffed onions, peppers and squashes, smoked duck and so on). Delicious. Then we picked up James who was in fine fettle having played laser warfare for several hours. Rattled along the expressway and then onto the moor, stopping to take a few pictures of ponies.

So, a lovely weekend has been had by all. The only sour note was a sad email I received from one of our little gang apologising for bothering and hassling me. I was totally confused. It turned out she had received some vicious anonymous emails from some people on the CL site. One of the horrible things said was that I was sick of having to respond to people like her (based apparently on the time I said I had found it tough during the comp to comment on all the blogs). I was horrified. When will this ever end? Can I just say, for the record, that I LOVE hearing from people – either by email or via this blog. Yes, it all got too much during the competition but, for pity’s sake, there were nigh-on three hundred blogs to read. Now it’s entirely different. I wanted to let CL know what was happening – as I am sure that the editors would be horrified at this. But our friend said the best option was to just ignore it. Wise words I feel.

Once again it shows how much we have to learn about the Internet and what it can do to people. Looking back at the CL site (how very strange it felt), I discovered that Kitty Corrigan had strongly denied feeling contempt for bloggers. I know it’s tempting to think ‘no smoke without fire’ but I, for one, felt glad that she bothered to make the statement and am quite willing to accept her rebuttal.

However, let’s end on something cheery. I was rather chuffed to read that I (along with some other purplecooers) had been ‘tagged’ by CJ. Apparently it’s a way to alert other blog-readers to new or nice blogs. However, the only problem (for me at least) is that you are supposed to carry it on by, in turn, nominating your own favourites. But, er, how? I haven’t worked out yet how to embed a link to a blog or website in the copy of my blogs. Anyone out there got the key?


Eden said...

Oh I know how you bleary-eyed feel. I am suffering too, with husband away. never sleep well when he's gone and am so tired now after days and days of it.

@themill said...

Don't know about the tag, but I listed you by going to the edit page and copying in your blog address - I think.
Sorry about the insomnia. Seahouses air will knock you for six. All through my youth and young adult life I slept really badly, but since moving to the coast it's never been a problem.

DevonLife said...

I have never been to Atlantic Village. Everyone around here talks about it in the same tones as say catching the new Pinter play "you haven't been to Atlantic Village? you really must." but unless you tell me differently I will hold out. I have to say I HATE THE BIG SHEEP, it's expensive and crap. Hope James liked it though, our brood adore it. We went to Brocklands Adventure Park yesterday (a bit further up the A39) and that seemed much better value for money and had that hidden danger that only going down an ariel runway that looks as though it's been made by a couple of farmers with some old sleepers, a roll of sellotape and crash mat can give you.

@themill said...

To do links go to the "customise" tab in right hand corner of your blog (need to be logged in) and there'll be an "add page element" or something. A big list will pop up, and you choose "add links or websites" and away you go!

Bluestocking Mum said...

I sometimes think I'm going mad from insomnia!!-like torture so do have great sympathy!!

I am very uncool when it comes to techno-don't get this tagging at all, but grateful to CJ for her interesting and helping promote the site.

warm wishes

toady said...

I was at Atlantic Village on Friday, got a couple of bargains in Ponden Mill, Banana Book shop and managed to avoid going into Cadburys.
There are some ratbags on the CL site - no names, no packdrill. They must have sad pathetic little lives to want to bother to stir things up.

Elizabeth Musgrave said...

lovely to hear about Adrian's trip to the deli. that's what I call a good coming home present. I think you are so right about the having a little time apart every now and then. It really sharpens the appreciation and makes you see the other person again. you can get something similar by spending time with your cariad (love, influence of welsh class, beautiful word) in the company of new people and looking across the room at them talking to someone and suddenly seeing them with a stranger's eyes.
atlantic village sounds grim.

Inthemud said...

Oh Jane you poor thing, insomnia is horrid. I used to be terrible when children were young I think needing to be awake for babies upsets the sleep pattern so much, but it wasn't till I did "Autogenic Training" that I started sleeping well again, Have you heard of it? It is fantastic for all sorts of health problems, it sorted out my anxiety, depression and insomnia.

Suffolkmum said...

Ooh Appledore, I know it well, some very dear friends of mine relocated there a few years back and we sent a great couple of weeks there last year. Love that cafe by the seafront! Sorry about the insomnia, I had it terribly for a while after both children were born (once they'd started sleeping through I mean). It is crucifying having to get through your days in a fog. I've read tons of Leslie Kenton too. How ghastly and upsetting to hear about people emailing anonymously like that - why???? Let's hope it's all finally died a death.

Anonymous said...

hello, jane its horrible not being able to sleep your food hubby brought back sounds lovley you made my mouth water.its not nice people emailing you its upsetting but ignore them there not worth it xx jep

muddyboots said...

hi there, l've been tagged as well. has taken me about 20+minutes to work out how to link.
1. write in the name you want to link [purplecoo]
2. highlight it & click the link button
3. enter web page
4. you can copy & paste it if you want to.
5. now you have your link on your blog

Mutterings and Meanderings said...

Hello, I live on tha coast but I still suffer from the occasional bout of insomnia. Not good, when I have to be up at 6.30am during the week. I find sometimes that I just can't switch off my brain: it has all these marvellous ideas that come daylight, seem pretty foolish ...

Tattieweasle said...

I have a love/hate relationship with insomnia - at deadline time when I need to have it it goes and when I long for it to bugger off there it is again! ONce down in Wales and on the coast all is better - longing for half term now...

CAMILLA said...

Dearest Jane,
Poor girl, insomnia must be horrid.
I tend to go to bed quite late, on saying that, it is more like early hours of the morning, so as soon as my head hits the pillow, I'm off. Did not sleep too good though when my children were small.What an absolute darling your Adrian is for bringing home all those lovely goodies, and PERFUME too, oooh love it. I agree absence makes the heart grow fonder, only trouble is mine is with me nearly 24/7. Wishing you a better nights sleep Jane.

Pondside said...

Poor you - nothing worse than that 0300 wide-awake and dead-tired feeling. It sounds as though you had a great day though - lots of nice treats. Come on over and try some of our Canadian 'champagne' anytime!

Pondside said...

Poor you - nothing worse than that 0300 wide-awake and dead-tired feeling. It sounds as though you had a great day though - lots of nice treats. Come on over and try some of our Canadian 'champagne' anytime!

countrymousie said...

Super blog again Jane - just been through a period of insomnia - it seems to have fixed itself by me switching off all electrical things in bedroom including handsfree house phone - I think it started when we went Broadband and wireless with computers/laptops chatting all around the house - plus loads of lavender products from my old friend at Potions and Possibilities in Suffolk.Still, cant tell my grnadmother how to suck eggs can I!!!! I am of course you senior so I can advise!!

Milla said...

cold damp socks! Is the woman mad! Cold feet is a classic keepyawakey. Honestly, these experts! Can't remember what a good night is. And apparently it only gets worse. We don't need it, "they" say. Who's they? Probably LK. And who is CJ?? Can't find him / her / it on side panel. Thought it might be Kitty, but isn't.

Pipany said...

Hello JAne. Have just read last two blogs and there seems so much to comment on - insomnia is an absolute pain; the foods you guys eat sound like my idea of heaven; love time on my own too, but always glad when DAve is back (though rarely away these days) and, like you, I am a Capricorn too - drven yet constantly doubting self. Sound familiar?!!! xx

Fennie said...

Oh insomnia! The curse of the active mind. Idiots and babies have no trouble in sleeping. It seems to get worse with age. There is plenty of good advice out there by the bucketful.

Personally, for what it's worth (we are all different after all) I find a Tisane last thing at night helful and then a little progesterone cream. If I still wake up and can't drop off again. I sit up crosslegged and chant softly until I'm too tired to do it anymore. Usually works. Best wishes.