My whole life I had had a problem getting up in the morning, actually the problem isn’t actually getting up but waking up. Once awake I get up right away, I know if I linger for two minutes then I will fall asleep again, so I get up. I must admit that now I have no job to go to or children to get off to school, I will lie in bed longer on those winter mornings when the room is dull, that means no sun and no sun means I roll over for another doze.
As I age I usually wake up for an urgent trip to the bathroom or because I am have aching parts that do not let me sleep. Younger days were not so luxurious so dozing was not an option.
Early mornings are not my best time. Once roused I get up and get on with whatever needs doing, this does not mean I approach the morning with a song, quite the opposite, I need to be quiet for a half hour, usually with a cup of tea, I do not want to listen to chatter or music or anything else, just leave me alone to come round at my own pace.
I have always had to rely on someone to wake me as I can sleep through any alarm clock. For a couple of years, in my teens, I lived with an aunt and her family. They owned their own business and did not have to get up early, however my job required an early start and I had to be up and out of the house by seven.
Every morning I slept until the alarm clock ran itself down, no electric clock then so the winding mechanism only sounded an alarm for about thirty seconds. My uncle fixed me up a rather weird system, he attached a metal bar to a zinc bucket, rested the bar on the clock winder so that when it rang, the bar dropped onto the bucket and the whole thing vibrated, making a really loud alarm. However, each morning my uncle had to cone in and wake me. Everyone else in the house was awake except me. I slept right through the awful din.
I used to get so stressed out about sleeping late that I would wake in the middle of the night and get ready for work, several times my uncle and aunt had not gone to bed yet and there I stood, ready for work at midnight. Of course, the morning found me sleeping like a baby and late for work again!
In the north of England, long before I was born there were no alarm clocks and many people had to be awake around five am to start work. They solved the problem by being knocked up. There would be one man in each district whose job was going from house to house with a long pole, and knocking on bedroom windows until the householder responded. This man got paid a few pennies from every customer for this service, it worked well as everyone got to work on time and he went home to sleep. Long after alarm clocks came along the term of getting knocked up, simply meant someone giving you a shake to waken you. Coming to North America and telling the locals that Lancashire people used to pay to be knocked up, caused much amusement.
My husband Dave has never had a problem with awaking early. Once we were married I learned that he was one of those hateful people who wake up happy. He couldn’t understand why his bride was groggy and unresponsive in the morning. He wanted to chat and be cheerful, I sat hunched over my tea and wanted to be left alone. However, he makes up on any lost sleep by napping constantly.
When he used to take the bus to work he would frequently fall asleep and go past his stop, he can nap in the noisiest room and even has a nano-nap at traffic lights, when he is driving. It is disconcerting to say the least but, when he wakes he is bright and cheerful and ready to go. When we were courting we went most weekends to a club with another couple. Variety clubs had two or three acts, then a stripper and the headliner for the night would do his or her act, this would be followed by dancing. Dave used to fall asleep and I didn’t wake him until the stripper had finished her act! In those days strippers were very modest and never took it all off but, even so, I was quite happy to let him sleep through her performance so the only body he had to concentrate on was mine.