Oh please let me sleep in!


Illustration by Jenny Lamont

In which DD fondly recalls those lazy morning lie-ins… BEFORE fur kids!

Is it just me or do you also ever have those days when you secretly wish you were still a singleton AND had no animals – or at least animals that didn’t wake you up at “sparrows’ fart”?

Actually, I’ve never NOT had an animal. I consider myself very fortunate that my life has always been lovingly filled with animals – and for that I am truly grateful. Each has been so different.

Couch potatoes

Some of my much-loved furry companions have been the best snooze buddies.

My special cat, Twiggy, with whom I shared my life for about 18 years (from when I was only 12 or 13 years old) could easily sleep right through the day with me; it was sheer bliss.

Bonnie, my little Morkie, would sleep until I woke up and, after a quick morning piddle (for both of us!), we could happily go back to bed until mid-morning (speaking weekends here, of course, although I have no doubt she did this on her own during weekdays).

Then there was my beautiful black Cocker Spaniel, Ali Bear, who, by the time she reached 16 years old, I would pip at the getting up post – and she’d literally sleep until mid-morning. Lucky thing! (In fact, even the housekeeper had strict instructions to not make the bed until Ali was up.)

Energiser buddies

On the other hand, Sammy (she of the smelly sock fetish) and goofy Sheba Shanks – not to mention The Twins (Arty Cat and brother Lewie) – are tyrants when it comes to early morning wake-ups.

Sheba expects her breakfast at 06h30 sharp every…single…day. But if she “happens” to wake you any earlier – by yawning loudly in your ear, thumping the wooden floor with her tail, or just staring you down from next to the bed – she won’t say no to an early brekkie.

Meanwhile, the blue-eyed Twins will circle the bed, trying to physically yank you out of it by poking a paw tipped with razor-sharp claws under the duvet or irritatingly (they only do it to wake us) scratching the mattress incessantly.

Or, better yet, bother Sammy until she growls, which doesn’t take much, to wake us. And Sammy has been known to drop a smelly sock – or worse, a captured pair of underpants – on your head, a ploy that always works!

Just this morning was an example of yet another rude awakening. Sammy woke me from a wonderfully deep sleep at 06h00, biting her bum like a bastard in her basket. I haven’t found any fleas at all, and between you and me, I actually think she does it on purpose to wake me!

So, rumpled and bleary-eyed, I dragged myself out of the bed. Of course, hearing us up and about, Sheba eagerly bounced down the stairs – you never know: breakfast might be early today. And, naturally, she was closely followed by the Tyrant Twins, pushing and shoving each other into the kitchen, as they do. It was like a parade of the half-asleep and the over-excited, all headed for the kitchen. 

Rude awakenings

And so it was that, on a slightly miserable, chilly Sunday morning when anyone with sense was sleeping late, almost everyone was up – well, except for the sun – and had already eaten breakfast. The Dad was still sound asleep upstairs (as I dearly wished I was).

My intention was to kindly tend to the animals so as to let him have a few more well-deserved Zs. That was until I peered out of the window and saw the ghostly Siamese shape of Brother Lewie joyously rolling in something in the still-dark garden. This did not bode well.

I worried that he had something small and furry or feathered that could possibly still be saved. Naturally, I hollered for The Dad in a slightly panic-stricken voice: “Come quick, honey! Lewie has something in the garden… and bring a torch!” (Sidebar: my pet peeve is that I can never find a blimmin’ torch in this cottage when I need one!)

Meanwhile, I hotfooted it to the bedroom to better clothe myself (dashing about in the frosty garden with not much more on than a vesty top might have been a bit startling for my neighbour with the newborn baby who seems to be awake and standing on the balcony at the weirdest of times).

Back outside I went to apprehend the rolling culprit but, by then, he was sitting calmly on the patio, serene as a statue, blue eyes gazing out at the world as if nothing had ever happened. I plodded about gingerly (dead and dry grass is hugely painful to one’s delicate little feet), searching for evidence, but found zip-nothing.

Grateful and feeling quite relieved and chipper, I headed back inside to find a very bleary-eyed Dad in the doorway. My “Don’t worry, love, it seems it was nothing!” as I breezed in through the door seemed to make him decidedly grumpy. My chipperness was short-lived, however, as I tried to explain that I was sure it had been something cute needing rescuing but, in hindsight, it may actually have been a leaf. Brother Lewie certainly wasn’t telling…

Back upstairs we all trailed, furry parade in tow, with James grumbling that he felt like he was in boot camp: “Right, everyone up and out into the cold and dark to find something that isn’t there – and bring a torch!” Poor man.

Of course, by then we were both wide awake with no chance of a return to dreamland and, even though the fur kids curled up and went back to sleep, I was “rather chatty” (his words – not spoken in a cheerful manner). By 07h00, The Dad gave up and plodded back downstairs to make us some coffee (and, I suspect, to escape my chattiness) while I snuggled down with little Sammy to enjoy her warm breath on my cheek and simply forget that she was the reason for this early morning wake-up!