Sunday, October 13, 2019

101 Things #12 - Sleeping under the Stars

Continuing our series 101 Things I Refuse To Do Before I Die, it is time to pour a little contumely on the following suggestion found on the website Lifeline24:

Sleep under the Stars 
(You'll be amazed at what you'll see)

I yield to none in my defence of beautiful Ruislip but sometimes you have to draw the line and I've got my pencil ready and waiting. If it isn't freezing, then it's raining. If neither, then the wind is howling or it is oppressively hot and humid, and, if none of these, then the foxes will be scrambling across the back garden, the local cats will be prowling and the odd squeal of brakes from cars racing down Windmill Hill will keep me awake. In short it is ludicrously impractical to camp out where I live and my own bed is where I want to be at night.

And, if I was to set up a camp bed on the patio and find a battery for the torch, what on earth am I going to see in those long hours when sleep escapes me and I stare with aching eyes at the heavens? Cloud, that's what. We have lots of cloud round here. If it isn't cloudy then it's probably very cloudy, or at any rate misty. I think the author of the "sleep outside" idea thinks that one will be dumbstruck by the blazing glories of the starlit sky, gasp as the occasional meteor flashes by and be bathed in the glow of the radiant moon. Yes, no doubt, if your home is in New Mexico or the remoter parts of the Pyrenees, then such things are within your purview and good luck to you. What I would see, apart from the cloud, is the dim shapes of the surrounding houses and the glow of the street lights. There is nothing particularly amazing about that. In fact, come to think of it, nothing whatsoever amazing. I can see the houses any time I want merely by looking out of the window of my study (I'm doing this right now as I write this piece) and the amount of amazement being registered on my Amazo-meter (see ad at foot of page) is precisely zero.

No doubt some nit-picker will say that what I am supposed to do is to go to somewhere with clear night skies where I can unroll a groundsheet, wriggle into a sleeping bag and watch the skies (note, the amazing bits, if any, must surely be associated with the times when one is not asleep, so really this bucket list idea should be entitled "Travel a long way away, hoping that your travel agent does not go bust in the meantime, then find somewhere dry to camp with not too many mosquitos or midges, try to ignore the pain in your back from being on hard ground, and lie around for a bit looking up" but never mind).

I shall endeavour always to sleep under a proper roof in a proper bed. I'm still under the stars, as it were (just that the roof gets in the way) and if there is a lack of amazement, I don't care. It's a decent night's kip that brings that sense of achievement.


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