Tuesday 21 March 2023

In the wee small hours


In the wee small hours

Damp leaves . . . be careful of the sweet chestnut husks . . . they're still sharp

Gilbert usually sleeps through the night, waking around 6:00 a.m. We are very grateful for that.

On Saturday night, well, Sunday morning, really, he woke at 3:00 and he and I stumbled downstairs while the Lord and Master snored on, accompanied by Roxy and Herschel. It’s quite a chorus when they all participate.

A lesson from Roxy in how to whittle
I say ‘stumbled’ but that’s not strictly accurate. Gilbert is keen to race ahead, but isn’t allowed to. I concentrate on not tripping over him or my feet or anything that might present itself on the stairs, like Jellicoe, always alert for food and assuming that if someone is awake, it might conceivably mean a meal is in the offing.

Anyway, Gilbert trotted into the garden, did what he had to, came back in and refilled his tanks from the water bucket. We then went back upstairs. All was as we had left it, everyone sleeping peacefully. After a bit of ‘bitey’ from Gilbert, something he does when he’s tired, and easily remedied with a chew toy, rather like a dummy for a baby, we drifted back to sleep. No problems!

It was a different story last night. Gilbert woke at 1:15 and we traipsed downstairs, leaving the rest of the mammals deep in the arms of whoever it is, oh, yes, Morpheus. Gilbert went out, came back in, forswore a drink of water and prepared to return to bed.

While he was out, I looked for Jellicoe. Usually, he’s asleep on one of the chairs, but he was nowhere to be seen. I checked the conservatory, although that’s a bit chilly at night for a fussy cat. I looked at the tops of the kitchen cupboards but he wasn’t there, neither was he lying on top of the grandfather clock. The radiators weren’t on, so he wasn’t resting there, either. I felt the first twinges of alarm. Cats tend to hide away when unwell, and an absent cat augurs problems. Jellicoe had been extremely ill a few months earlier and I feared a recurrence.

 Quietly, not wishing to disturb the peace – well, apart from the snoring – I called, ‘Cats, cats, cats.’ There was a thump on the bedroom floor, soon followed by the surprisingly heavy footfalls of Jellicoe. I hadn’t realised he was on our bed. Herschel, of course, slumbered on. He’s driven by comfort and warmth, while Jellicoe’s motivating force is hunger.

                                                      Feed me . . .

I was relieved to see our little cat, and, of course, had to give him a treat as he had come when called. Then Gilbert and I trailed back upstairs. There was a little ‘bitey’ play and he fell asleep. It was now 1:45.

                              When not campaigning for food, Jellicoe enjoys relaxing on the bridge over the pond and indulging in some ornithology

Our animals like to be close to other living beings, either of their own species or another. Gilbert’s head was resting on my leg and Jellicoe was pressed up against my side and next to Gilbert, while Herschel maintained his position next to Barry. I wanted nothing more than to go back to sleep but couldn’t. I was very warm, with two virtual hot water bottles alongside. I tried ‘counted breathing’, which almost worked but suddenly there came into my brain an old advertising jingle.

‘You’ll wonder where the yellow went when you brush your teeth with Pepsodent’. This advertisement first appeared on our screens in 1957. I don’t remember anything about it other than the refrain.

Attempting to stop the incessant repetition of this jingle, I wondered which other advertisements I could remember. In 1958 we had a P.E. teacher called Mrs Bradshaw. Unfortunately for her, that same year a washing powder called Surf was advertised featuring ‘Mrs Bradshaw.’ Our teacher withstood the ridicule from know-it-all adolescents with remarkable aplomb, at least, in public.

In the 1960s a carpet cleaning liquid was advertised that claimed to clean ‘a big, big carpet for less than half a crown. So, the adverts that lodged in my brain were all to do with cleaning things.

By 1973 the focus seemed to shift to comestibles (love that word - so quaint!)

Strictly speaking, lemonade is not a foodstuff, but R. Whites’ advert of 1973 featured in my recollections in the wee small hours. 'I'm a secret lemonade drinker - R. Whites, R. Whites'.

‘Everyone’s a fruit and nut case’ came along in 1975, and finally, before I fell asleep just after 2:45, I was humming along to ‘Just one Cornetto’, which appeared on our screens in 1982.

Amazingly, all these things are still available. It is possible to avoid televised advertisements now, so I am not au fait with current advertising trends, but I wonder if any of them stick irritatingly in the brain and if they achieve their aim – to part people from their money? There is one I sometimes hear and which annoys me and that is ‘Go compare.’

Are you resistant to advertising?     



  1. I am reasonably immune to advertising. I treat it as I would wave away a fly but sometimes an ad will grab my attention, although none of late come to mind. With your vast pet ownership experience, you would know better than I would, but shouldn't an adult dog be able to last the length of an adult night time sleep?

    1. Adult dogs do sleep as long as humans overnight, but Gilbert is only 19 weeks old.

  2. I resist advertising too, although some of the jingles do stick in my head. I simply don't feel the need to buy. I remember Surf washing powder, it's what we were using back then, but it's no longer available here. Most shelves now have liquid detergents in exotic scents that would make my head spin. I don't dare try them with my allergies.

  3. Yes, some of the scents are overpowering and make my throat sore.

  4. It was exhausting enough, just reading about all those night time disturbances. You have reminded me why, after 18 months of sharing my bed with an elderly dog with bladder cancer, I firmly resolved when Nobby arrived that would sleep alone, downstairs in the kitchen. He gets quite enough attention during waking hours!
    As for advertising, I guess most of us like to think we are immune, although whether that's the case is questionable. When I was a child, in pre remote control days, on the rare occasions my father allowed us to watch ITV, he would always get up our of his arm chair and turn down the volume when the adverts came on!
    Cheers, Gail.

  5. Hi Janice - babies ... way to go - puppies just need to go out! Love the post - cheers Hilary

  6. Thank you, Hilary. Babies are easier in some ways . . . ;-)


Thank you for visiting. I love to read your comments and really appreciate you taking the time to respond to posts.

I will always try to repay your visit whenever possible.