To Sleep, Perchance To Nap And Sleep Again

November 27, 2014

buddha sleepsI have always had sleeping schedules that were out of the ordinary (assuming that a single period of 6-9 hours sleep at night is considered “ordinary”).  Since retiring five years ago, and thus not having to meet any kind of official schedule, I have expanded the oddity of my sleep.

My basic sleep pattern these days is to go to bed around 11pm and wake about 3am; return to bed about 5am and sleep until 7 or 8am; then have a two hour nap in the afternoon, usually from about 3-5pm. That gets me about eight hours of segmented sleep each day. None of my sleep or wake times is mediated by alarm clock or other device; it is all natural.

During that middle-of-the-night waking period, I often seem to get a lot of basic work done — collating, filing, researching, scheduling — that I tend not to do in the daylight. That organizational work allows me to get straight into action-oriented stuff first thing in the morning.  Sometimes, I just spend the night time playing backgammon or watching sports. In those cases the great benefit of having been up is simply the tactile pleasure of getting back into a warm cozy bed and snuggling down again.

I assumed that my sleep pattern was unusual. Imagine my surprise, therefore, to discover today there is something called the Polyphasic Society that promotes multiple periods of sleep each day.  According to their definition, I seem to be practising Dual Core Sleep.

I can sleep a lot better now knowing that I have a whole Society behind me.

P.D. James R.I.P.

November 27, 2014


It is with sadness that I hear of the death of the geat British novelist P.D. James at the grand old age of 94. In my review of Serial Detectives earlier this year, I noted that, once I had discovered James’ work, I had devoured them whole.

I regret that in the obituaries today she is invariably called a “mystery” novelist.  While it is true that her earliest works are classic and rather simple Agatha Christie country-house-murder style books, and her primary protagonist is a policeman, that was the least of it.  Like the very best of her kind (Laurence Gough, Michael Dibdin), James grew into her craft and transcended the genre to become simply a great novelist.  “A Taste For Death” (1986) and “Devices and Desires” (1989) were probably the tipping points in that evolution, at least for me.

P.D. James overcame very difficult personal and family crises in her early life to become the Baroness James of Holland Park and a formidable literary power.  A fine life.

Tree at Garry Point

November 27, 2014

tree at garry point small

Lame Turkey

November 27, 2014

I just don’t get the fuss about turkey as a celebratory meal.  Back in the days of the early settlers, I can quite understand the appeal of eating the largest bird in the yard. But not these days, surely.

Turkey is such a flat plain boring and generally dry chew that it really serves as nothing more than a platter for all the sauces and gravies we pour on top to hide the flat boring taste.

Why not celebrate instead with a fine pork loin, roasted and rested to perfection, glazed with preserves?  Or a fillet or two of baked cod with nothing fancier than melted butter. Or a toad-in-the-hole with rosemary sprigs and onion gravy. One of the myriad of curries, maybe, or a pasta, rich or lean. Or treat yourself to the best dim sum in town at Western Lake.

Anything but turkey!