As I tossed and turned last night, sleepless and hot, I wondered whether I should get up and go downstairs or turn on the light and read for another hour or two. All the animals were asleep, including Barry, and I could identify each one by the sounds they made.
Winston Ocicat, curled up next to me was wheeze-grunting, on my other side Barry was snoring and next to him Gus was breathing deeply and evenly in his bed on the floor. In her bed Jenna was whimpering as she followed dream deer and Bertie was rattling his claws on the chest of drawers as he stretched. Frodo was puffing out his cheeks as he slept, pfffffrrrrh, pfffffrrrrh. Somebody’s stomach was gurgling quite musically. How could I encourage sleep to come to me?
Suddenly I recalled the video clip of KT Tunstall that I had watched earlier in the day. I love her voice and the way she builds up sounds into a backing chorus for her singing. Why could I not do the same using the noises in my bedroom? Granted, it would not have the mesmeric power of KT’s music but the more I thought about it and tried to fit the different ‘notes’ in my bedroom into a harmony the greater became my enthusiasm. I could do this! I even started to incorporate other sounds from the night-time house, the noises that are always there but only heard in the wee, small hours – the hum of the freezer, the creaking of the stairs, the settling of the floors.
It was as I was listening for the wild scream of a lovelorn fox and a tawny owl’s soft, haunting call, and finally hoping for the guttural ‘kaark’ of a visiting grey heron in the early light of dawn that I fell asleep. It wouldn’t have been as good KT, though.