Flat 3, The Mews
Ms. Heather Braithwaite
Mistress of Languid Studies
International Institute of Not Doing Much
Dear Ms. Braithwaite:
Thank you for your hands-on lesson explaining Rule 7.
Last night was unusually hot. Here’s the page from my sleep journal, as you requested.
10:00 p.m. The wife is anxious to get to sleep. She has to be up early in the morning to bite the postman because the dog is sick.
10:15 p.m. Lights out.
11: 46 p.m. Wife asleep. It’s hot. Get out of bed. Open window.
11:50 p.m. Take off the bed cover. Wife wakes up, questions actions.
12:03 a.m. Take off the remaining blanket. Wife mutters.
12:07 a.m. Wife stomps off to sleep in the living room.
12: 21 a.m. Still too hot. New fan more powerful than expected. Blows picture off the wall. Wife wakes up in the living room.
12: 33 a.m. Back in bed after sweeping up broken glass. (Note to self: peace offering — flowers tomorrow.)
Waves, fog. Chased by flying sheep all chattering about taxes.
12: 42 a.m. Wake up as the guffawing Smith-Barkings from across the street slam their car doors. Close window.
African sun beating down. Trudging through long grass. Surrounded by mocking hyenas. They want to know where my shoes are.
1:20 a.m. Too hot with the fan on low setting. Open window. Find earplugs.
Boiling cauldrons witches on windy heath cackle. Thunderbolt, lightning, earthquake.
2:02 a.m. Earplugs uncomfortable. Upstairs neighbor opera singer home. She’s doing her elephant impression again. Get up. Creep into the kitchen for a glass of cold water. Success on not waking the wife. Hurrah! Deep calming breathing exercises as you suggested.
2:45 a.m. Next door’s dog starts barking. Close window again. Fall back asleep.
Flying across green fields. Land by a large house. Beautiful garden. Escorted by a kimono-clad girl into the library. One stands by a gigantic marble fireplace with a delicate fan. Others seated, play strange high-pitched music.
4:12 a.m. Mosquito in room. Slap own face several times. Get flashlight to hunt down mosquito. Don’t want light on or will be fully awake. No luck. Tiptoe to bathroom. Put toothpaste on mosquito bites. Breathing exercises on the bed.
Floating down green river. French-speaking fish swim alongside and want to know about hiking holidays. We all go to the riverside pub. Barman pulls out loud trumpet and blows hard.
4:30 a.m. Jump up out of bed as car alarm from Number Six goes off, again! Find new set of earplugs and put pillow either side of head.
Marching trees with large boots march along empty road and turn into gated field. All fall over like dominoes.
5:17 a.m. Paper delivery with slap on ground. Abandon hope of more sleep.
Make tea without waking the wife.
When I finish the insomnia clinic, I’ll sign up for Module 4 of your Languid Studies course on how to dream properly. In the meantime, I’ll keep up the sleep journal.
Yours in befuddlement,