Old habits die hard. Five years after I retired for the second time, I’m still faintly haunted by my mother’s adage that “Early to bed and early to rise, makes a man healthy, wealthy and wise.” The trouble is that this doesn’t come naturally to me and never has done. Fundamentally I’m an owl, not a lark.
Though I enjoy the early morning when forced to experience it, my normal instinct when I wake up early is to turn over, snuggle down and go back to sleep. In the evening the converse is true. While DH will happily head off to bed and to sleep after the 10 o’clock news, I find myself perking up again, ready to go back online for an hour or two and even read in bed after finally switching off the computer.
The one thing guaranteed to make me put the light off before the wee small hours is the knowledge that DH will wake me in the morning no later than 9. Not that I want him to, you understand, it’s just that we’ve decided that we simply can’t allow our respective body clocks to get too far out of line or life would become much too complicated. So he gets up when he’s ready to do so and wakes me when my morning porridge is ready. DH is no cook, but he can make a mean pan of porridge (it must be his Scottish ancestry) so on most mornings making breakfast is his province, not mine.
The snag comes when he is on a rare trip away without me, as he is at the moment. As I type he’s in the process of taking an elderly aunt home from a visit to his mother’s and has left me to my own devices for a couple of days. As soon as I know there is no-one around to keep me in line, I fall far too easily into bad ways, as I did last night.
Oh, I was good at first. The TV went off at 10 and the computer about an hour later. I told myself I was tired after a busy weekend and needed an early night. So I was in bed soon after 11 and decided to reward myself with the opening chapter (or two) of my latest library book: A Question of Belief by the superlative Donna Leon.
Who was I trying to kid? There is no such thing as reading only a chapter or two of a Donna Leon novel. Her writing is so good, her settings so atmospheric and her characters so well-drawn that I instantly found myself drawn into the story and emerged to find that it was almost 3am, my eyelids were drooping from tiredness and I was two-thirds of the way through the book.
Even then something in me urged me to make a night of it and finish the whole book, but from somewhere I found a remnant of commonsense and made myself switch off the light. From habit I woke just before 9, heavy-eyed and sluggish, but still full of the guilty joy of reading in bed until I could read no more. I still have the final third to read, but tonight DH will be home and I will be good again – until next time.
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