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Friday, 8 January 2016

Bedtime division

After over half a century of sharing bed-clothes we're about to switch to separate duvets. We tried out the guests' singles last night (see pic) and managed to avoid instituting divorce proceedings this morning; now it's a choice between Brushed Cotton (£25 - £45) and Hungarian White Goose Down (£120 and £220). There's also Silver Pyranean Down at an eye-watering £190 - £310 but that looks like a misspelling; accordingly we're giving it a miss.

Why change? Height's one reason since there's an 11½-in. disparity beween us and this has led to sheet-tugging in the past. Another is a huge difference in sleeping posture: VR (Human imitates hamster) and RR (Recently laid-out corpse). Plus a sizeable reduction in the time spent re-making the bed.

We will lose bedtime communality since I expect accidental touches during the night to become rarer. One might imagine that after fifty-odd  years we should have got used to each other. She may have, I haven't.

However a new domestic institution will profit. These days, after two morning hours at the monitor I get back into bed, we link hands and talk sporadically. Duvets will mean I can slip back without causing a draught.

MY CHRISTMAS table presents included a laminated sheet called Mon Journal 1935, a round-up of events (in French) during the year of my birth. Gloomily and, alas, unwittingly, the French established two years as the duration of national military service that year.

It seems I share a birth-year with Elvis Presley, Francoise Sagan, Pavarotti, Woody Allen and Julie Andrews - a mixed bag you'd have to say. Presley means least to me.

Popular in France a song  called La Guingette a Fermé Les Volets (A small restaurant of that name closed its shutters). Wow!


  1. The Germans always use single duvets, usually with single beds tucked up together. We received such bedding including fine down duvets and linen as wedding gifts from Germany. Shocking to them (I did not tell!), I sewed the two duvets together to make one big one. Now in our senior years, sometimes we feel we could use separate ones.

    Is that Clark Gable in the newspaper clipping? I adored many of the old movie stars.

  2. Single duvets rule in our household. No more morning 'discussions' about who stole the duvet on the night!

  3. I loathe duvets. They seem too hot and a turn over takes them with you and may deposit them on the floor. Hotels always seem to use them these days (cheaper and easier to service than a "proper" bed with sheets and blankets).
    We, my wife and I, went into separate beds many years ago and found the resulting nights so much more restful. When the opportunity became available (empty nest) we decided on separate bedrooms and the nights became even more soporific, especially since advancing age and medications mean that I need to rise a few times in the night to visit the bathroom!

  4. I found this morning's post very moving as today is couple Blonde Two's 28th wedding anniversary. We are celebrating in different countries - me walking on Dartmoor and him mountain biking in the depths of mid Wales. There is a present for me on the mantelpiece, I am worried about tears and mascara (yes always for walking) should I open it.

    We tried separate duvets in Austria, benefits no doubt, but they were mostly his as I am an ice block and he a furnace. Enjoy!

  5. I miss my futon. Sleeping on a futon on tatami was wonderful in that the covers never fell far, no matter how much tossing, turning, activity there was during the night.

  6. M-l: What a remarkably subversive act; I'm surprised you're prepared to own up to it, even after all these years. A good job the donors weren't Swiss; they've got draconian domestic laws over in that country and I'm sure that uniting two single duvets ("manufactured with the sole purpose of being used by individuals of voting age and endowed with sufficient assets to ensure their upkeep") would have broken some law or other. But then you always were daring when it came to the fringe of criminality.

    Yes it was Clark Gable. I wonder if he'd manage if he were to be resurrected in these times. The self-regarding moustache and those sticking-out ears. I enjoyed a movie he appeared in with Ava Gardner (title forgotten) and in which he played a safari boss in Africa. He was supposed to look macho but she referred to him as Trader Horn. A nice put-down.

    Anon: A schismatic compared to your Dad's views. But I take it everything goes by the board (and on to the floor) when the mercury starts pushing up towards the menacing 50 deg C. Days when you and Blue Dog got up at 5 am and went for a walk. I remember, I remember.

    Avus: You simply cannot waste energy "loathing" duvets; it's a disproportionate use of your assets. A bit like launching a campaign to have Huw Edwards wear a baseball cap when reading the Ten O'Clock News. There are larger causes in life, Avus.

    In any case your shrugging off of humanity can only have one end: you tight as a tick and unable to move an eyelid, entubed in a hammock in your garden shed, installed according to the rules which applied in the Royal Navy during the Napoleonic Wars - 27 inches per hammock. Just imagine.

    Blonde Two: I'm glad you found our duvet confession moving; I hesitated a little beforehand then thought: What the Hell? But your ability to be moved is in keeping with a life spent on rough trails armed with mascara just in case there's a need to appear black-smeared in a show of emotion. Mr Blonde Two's a lucky fellow and so am I that you call in every so often at Tone Deaf: a blast of envigorating fresh air and good humour. Not too tough and not too sloppy.

    RW (zS): All that tossing and turning Nothing at all to do with those tankards of "good ale" I suppose? I take it your second technocratised sentence means you spent the Oriental nights in effect lying on the floor. What's to stop that happening in the Mid-West? Or would it be un-American?

  7. How did you know about my Huw Edwards baseball cap campaign? As to my secret perversion involving tight hammocks in garden sheds, I only indulge on wet Sunday afternoons.

  8. Such airing of one's clean linen in public!

    We had separate duvets in Iceland, though it was a proper double bed, not one of those zipped together German mattress things which put one in mind of separating tectonic plates. Can't say I like the arrangement, I too am rather a hamster imitator and my impulse, at least on chillier nights, tends to be to move towards a nest in the middle of the bed, thereby falling foul of the gap between the duvets. For a long time we have used a flat sheet under the duvet, which reduces the frequency of needing to change the duvet cover - surely the most onerous part of bedding changing - since one simply changes the sheets. So on hotter nights or during spells of problematic regulation of body temperature one can cast the duvet into the middle of the bed as it were a geological ridge formation (I'm in a mood for physical geography similes), and simply sleep under the sheet for a while.

    I am rather curious about the silver Pyrennean down. There seems little to be found about such fowl, I can only assume it is a bi-product of the foie gras industry, but Pyrenean sounds kind of wild and free and unspecific. Will it be the white Hungarian then?

  9. Brings to mind bundling, a practice I've only heard of. A board fitted down the middle of the bed (a bundling board),keeping two occupants separated. A fascinating courtship practice, bundling was also pursued by tying adolescents of opposite genders into sacks tied at the neck, then allowing them into the same bed. I'm betting the sacks were more effective than the boards. A European thing it seems.

  10. Lucy: As you say: linen washing but with the purest of hearts. Perhaps it's your love of animals that forces you into what must now surely be known as the Hamster Migration: there to be warm beneath and coldish on top. A twenty-first century condition.

    Pyranean turns out to be the adjective derived from what you and I are wont to call les Pyrénées. To me it sounds like a marketing come-on. VR has subsequently examined the range and seems to think that Hungarians will be too costly. This I can abide. However I had been thinking in terms of two utterly different patterns for the duvet covers (mine being the fashionable multi-coloured adjacent narrow stripes) but VR feels this would be too disturbing. verb. sap.

    MikeM: Garn! That's a US Puritan practice if ever there was one. I had heard of something called a Dutch Uncle; a bolster between the legs in hotter climes though how this works I cannot say.

    True: boards can be climbed.