Carole has started sleeping with earplugs in now.
This is, in part, because the neighbours enjoy exercising their children in the late hours of the night and, if you’re really lucky, in the early hours of the morning. But it’s mainly because I snore insanely loudly.
When our niece stayed over one night and had booted me out of bed because she didn’t want to sleep in the back bedroom, I slept on the couch. And she woke up early in the morning and asked Carole if they could come downstairs and listen to me snoring.
So it’s the sort of noise that fascinates a child.
It’s also the sort of noise that drives Carole insane.
And, even with her ear plugs, she will wake me up at some pre-dawn hour and ask me to roll over. Rolling over doesn’t stop me snoring. It just, at best, points me in the other direction. It also means that I am awake and she has a gift for being able to fall asleep with no effort, so she can then get back to sleep.
Anyway, one side effect of the ear plugs is that they don’t always stay in. There is, on Carole’s bedside cabinet, a spare set of earplugs ready to be deployed during the night if, somehow, the original set go walkabout during the night. The cause of the earplug ejection is unknown. Carole puts it down to fidgeting about – which she definitely does.
What it does lead to, though, is that you can brush against one of these neglected plugs during the night, or in the morning, and your brain doesn’t necessarily have all the faculties in place to deal with the sensation appropriately.
Or, to put it another way, touching them can scare the bejesus out of you.
Although, to be fair, foreign objects in the bed has been a long standing tradition going back to when I moved in with Carole. She used to do a lot of crafting, which resulted in small pieces of card or small foam stick pads being discarded during the course of the process. These would, inevitably, end up in the bed – the card would become inexplicably sharp, while the foam pads would adhere to your feet or legs and only be discovered when you felt a vague pulling sensation on your skin.
Not to mention the countless nights that have been spent with television remote controls.
But there’s something about the spongy, foamy feel of an ear plug that triggers a certain response. I think, in part, it’s to do with the fact that Peppa is a frequent visitor during the night and it’s probably more by luck that management that, aside from the odd desiccated slug, she hasn’t really brought us any sort of sacrificial goods and lain then on the bed as we sleep.
After all, Victor Meldrew once mistook a putrefying hedgehog for one of his slippers in One Foot In The Grave – I don’t want to be in a position where what I think is a discarded ear plug turn out to be a recently deceased vole…