In praise of naps; and, how to know if one is in progress


If you know me at all well, you’ll know that I adore afternoon naps. I firmly believe that a midday siesta is what humans need to be healthy, and maybe even wealthy and wise; forget about that “early to bed and early to rise” foolishness. As far as I’m concerned, the Spaniards have it right: work in the morning, have a great big lunch (with wine) in the early afternoon, and have a nice nap. And then get up, refreshed and energized, to finish your workday in the late afternoon and early evening, after which you take a nice long stroll around town (the legendary Spanish paseo), during which you enjoy tapas at various places; and then you have dinner at, oh, 11 p.m. or midnight. Eat well, drink well, go to bed late and start it all over again. Love it.

Mind you, this preferred Spanish-inspired schedule of mine does not generally fit into the (wrong-headed, in my view) North American take on how a workday should unfold. And for that matter, it doesn’t fit all that well into the preferred schedule of Raymond, a charter member of the early-riser (and not-too-late-to-bed) club.

So Raymond and I compromise, with dinner at 9:30 or 10 p.m. instead of 11 or midnight. And I do haul my sorry bones out of bed at 7:30 most mornings, which I consider a triumph of necessity over good sense. And of course on weekdays (unless we’re on vacation) there are no naps. But on weekends, ahhhhh …

Saturday- and Sunday-afternoon naps are just the best thing ever, and I look forward to them all week. I have in fact begun to find that if I don’t get at least one weekend nap, I am tired for the rest of the week. Raymond tells me it’s all in my head, but I’m not so sure. And in fact I have managed to get him to come over to the pro-weekend-nap side.

Our quiet Manse in quiet little Queensborough is of course the best place ever for a nap. The only problem is that every time we’re there we have a long list of things to do and people to see, and sometimes it can be hard to squeeze it in. But we give it our best shot, believe you me.

The master bedroom in the Manse: a quiet, perfect place for an afternoon nap.

The master bedroom in the Manse: a quiet, perfect place for an afternoon nap.

And thanks to my most recent great find at the stationery store operated by the good folks at the Tweed News weekly newspaper, we now have an excellent way of indicating to any visitors who might come to our door during those precious Saturday- and/or Sunday-afternoon hours that, yes, we are in residence, but no, we can’t even hear you knocking. If you come by and see the “WILL RETURN” sign with the little clock, you’ll know that we are luxuriating in a good little sleep after a long week of work. Of course you are welcome (and invited!) to come back at or after the appointed end-of-nap time; but for the moment we are, as an (admittedly) unsavoury character in the TV adaptation of Charles Dickens‘s Bleak House likes to say: “Closed for business!”

Only till naptime ends, though. Then we are rested, refreshed, and ready to take on the world.

Or more probably, enjoy a quiet evening in Queensborough.

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