Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Who's sleeping in my bed?

Tell me, do you sleep well on holidays?
I used to think that my holiday sleep was fitful . . . an unfamiliar bed . . . an unfamiliar room . . . an over-excited cat for company. Last week's experience has made me think again.

Chloe and I were having a short break in Surrey. A wonderful time during which Chloe, in addition to some serious tree-climbing, became completely addicted to the joys of hotel life.
But, after three days, it was time to respond to the needs of the New Year. Albeit reluctantly, we had to go home.

Was it Chloe who woke me that last morning? I'm not sure. But I came out of sleep a little befuddled. Although the curtains were thick and the room dark, a shaft of light between the curtains indicated morning. Where, I wondered sleepily, was Chloe?
Turning my head I could just make out a shape on the adjoining pillow. I was puzzled, it seemed too large for Chloe, too large and too pale . . . cautiously, I stretched out an enquiring hand.

My fingers met with a sizeable, material-covered frame. Thoroughly startled, I peered into the shadows at what appeared to be a large lampshade.
A lampshade? What had Chloe been up to . . . for surely no-one else had been in the bedroom during the night?
The only lamp in which I could recall her expressing any interest had been the one in the hotel lounge.

By now, I was waking up fast and, as I did so, I realised that it wasn't just the lampshade on the pillow, there was something else sharing the bed. Instead of Chloe's familiar body curled into mine, stretched out beside me I could feel a long and heavy intruder.

Again, I extended an apprehensive hand to investigate. This time my groping fingers encountered the cold surface of polished glass.
Memory flooded in. Hadn't there been a tall lamp on the bedside table? As though to endorse this conclusion, my new sleeping partner gave off a series of alarming sparks and a low fizz!

Hurriedly jumping out of bed, I crossed to the window and pulled back the curtains. Light flooded the room revealing all too clearly that, lying alongside where I'd been sleeping was a substantial, glass table-lamp, its detached lampshade positioned neatly on the pillow.

How one small cat had managed to 'fell' a large table lamp, far less move such a cumbersome trophy across the bed, was beyond my comprehension. Even more astonishing was how I'd continued to slumber peacefully during the noise and upheaval.

With the utmost care, I lifted the heavy lamp, re-positioned it on the beside table, and replaced the shade. Cautiously, I switched it on . . . and discovered to my relief that it was still working!

Chloe, who had been monitoring my activities from the safety of the window-sill, registered pleasure when the bedroom furnishings were back to normal.
"Time to go home!" I told her sternly.
Even if her gaze turned wistfully towards the Surrey countryside, she knew in her heart of hearts that this was no time to argue . . . all good things, she was fast learning, eventually came to an end!