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Gollum in the Kitchen. Sunday October 18, 2015

There are consolations to insomnia.

I think many of us will recognise that feeling. You go to bed dead tired, drop off and then wake an hour or two hours later with a start, adrenaline racing and the absolute knowledge you won't be able to go back to sleep for hours, even if you lie there and count all the sheep in New Zealand (39,124,367, the last time I tried).

So, if you're like me, you get up and potter. You make a cup of tea, eat some toast (hoping the delicious smell won't sneak its way up the stairs and wake your loved ones). You sit at the kitchen table and read, a purring cat on your lap. The cats are always thrilled when I can't sleep.

The kitchen at 2.30am is a comforting place. The clock on the wall ticks reassurance and every few seconds the 23 litre vat of apple juice in the corner gulps as it goes about its slow and steady metamorphosis into cider.

I've written before about Apple Day, how five families all get together with every single apple we can beg or scrump or forage, how we chop and press from mid-morning to early evening, sharing food and dividing up the spoils of juice. This year I could only chop for an hour before taking an hour's nap. I chopped for another hour and then had to be taken home, leaving my husband and children to carry our family's share of the load. Everyone knows about the depression; they all look after me, making sure I don't do too much; they're good friends.

But what wonderful stuff that juice is. You don't need to do anything to it, other than to pop it into a fermentation vat. All by itself it turns into cider. It's like magic.

It's a slow process. You can't hurry it – not if you want the smooth, naturally fermented taste. The first lot might be ready by Christmas. Or it might go on until Easter. My husband might decide to bottle it and add sugar to get a secondary and sparkling fermentation.

But at the end there is bottle upon bottle of thin golden sunshine, gleaming in the corner of the dining room, ready to dance on our taste buds like falling leaves. It's the taste of autumn and the warm spice of friendship.

But for now, the steady puh-lopp keeps me company in the kitchen, soothing me as I drink camomile tea, as I read a favourite book, as I wait for sleep to approach once again.
The sound is comforting, a reminder of that ring of friends and a promise for the future.
Infinitely precious.

A Moodscope member.

Thoughts on the above? Please feel free to post a comment below.

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the room above the garage Sun, Oct 18th 2015 @ 12:12am

How wonderful to see this just as I depart for the night. It echoes precisely the feeling I left today with... Comforting in its message and just elegantly written. Serene Mary. "Night will always push up day, we have known life to see decay, but I won't rot"
Peaceful sleep and days to all in all the corners we now share, thank you Mary xx.

Kelley Sun, Oct 18th 2015 @ 6:25am

I agree with ratg! Serene Mary... I'm doing the sparrow-fart potter as well these days, and that clock ticking, those mogs purring, is all very peaceful over a cup of tea, waiting for the eyes to blur and the lids to droop again... Sweet dreams all! :)xx

Lou Sun, Oct 18th 2015 @ 8:07am

What a beautifully evocative picture!I like the idea of bottled sunshine!
I find Radio 4 comforting, informative and sometimes soporific during the night when it switches to the world service and I am lying awake. I always think of it as 'up even before the cat' as mine often sleeps on, oblivious, if I am awake again not long after lights out.
I shall picture you,reading in your kitchen, next time I am wide awake in the dark as it is comforting to know I won't be alone.

LillyPet Sun, Oct 18th 2015 @ 8:53am

Morning Mary, I too like the calm and patience in your blog. I love the reminder that the apple juice will change slowly all by itself.
A friend told me last night that a banana, or even half of one can make a difference to sleeplessness.

Ruth Sun, Oct 18th 2015 @ 9:58am

Oh wow. I've just had a rotten night and I loved the gentleness of your blog, Mary. Soothed me so much. Maybe if I took your attitude more often I'd do better. My Psyc keeps talking about 'sleep hygiene'. I do try but honestly I suspect his own knowledge of insomnia is slight. X

The Gardener Sun, Oct 18th 2015 @ 2:01pm

Echo Ruth, Mary. Apples! I am besieged by the things, freezer full compote. Near here they have Mary's equivalent of the 'apple' day. They make a sort of apple curd, very popular (kids have apple puree on huge chunks of bread when they come back from school, cheaper and healthier than jam). This apple 'fete' takes up the whole of quite a big village, and is often televised. You next Mary? Or on the Food Programme (Radio 4, just listened to). I know I am boringly obsessed with trying to cope with Alzheimers, but it colours my whole life. I have had bouts of awful insomnia - Mary's solution is a no-no. I used to read, do crosswords or SUDOKU, but got terrific aggro from the other side of the bed. I have a 200 euro bedside light - looks like Concorde - designed to light a small spot - not allowed. I go downstairs, to play solitaire - even write letters. Mr TG arrives storming, come back to bed, HE's cold, my place is in bed, come back at once - rising to a pitch of aggression. I have managed, which for me is a miracle, to lie quite still for hours, thinking, dreaming, reliving past beauties. I will no longer apologize for using Moodscope (primarily to help depression) to bang on about Alzheimers - a scary, moody, depressive state with no possible happy outcome. So, like with depression, you look for strength, patience, inner fortitude-teaching yourself to walk away from the shouting, and NOT, NOT, shout back. The song 'There's a hole in my bucket' lives in print form in my diary. I am Lisa - because Henry is as maddeningly illogical as any Alzheimer victim. Also, this morning, 'The house that Jack Built'. After three days' hell, I had a brilliant scheme. I have a shop - 18 metres long by 8 metres wide. I have quantities of plants which will need winter shelter. I shall have an enchanted forest for Christmas. Brilliant? Means lights. This shop/storehouse end has no power points. I have been using the hedge-cutting roll of flex, apparently, will heat up. So, get new installed. OK, excellent electrician, the good-looking Benoit could do it. But, the house that Jacques built 800 years ago, in which we still reside, has all our money in it, so over the road cannot be 'lit up'. In addition, Mr TG now hates ALL the lights in current house (till I turn them off, then he complains about living in the dark). I hope any of this makes sense - 3 bad nights - woken 5 times last night, the last at 5 a.m to ask when he was going to get supper. I don't want to depress 'peeps' but, statistically, 10% of us (the parents of younger moodscopers) will go through this hell. Is it good to be prepared? Or wait for the worst? First Doc, 'you're in for a rough time'. 2nd Doc 'he will become very selfish and demanding'. I WOULD not believe it, now true. Cardiologist, 'the drugs (very minor) for fibrulation may make him aggressive - any substitute has WORSE side effects'. Mary, I don't actually LIKE cider, and the stuff is almost a religion around here - but I'll raise my KIR to your successful cider enterprise. Cheers.

Mary Sun, Oct 18th 2015 @ 7:47pm

Hello TG. I'm coming late to Moodscope today. It would be inaccurate to say that I "enjoy" your words, but you are always interesting and write so elegantly of your suffering. When you write of looking for strength, patience, inner fortitude. I will pray for all those things for you - and also - selfishly to be delivered from this myself. TG - I salute you.

Frankie Sun, Oct 18th 2015 @ 3:14pm

What wonderful pictures you paint Mary - thank-you!
And what blessings our friends are ...
"You can't hurry it" - I really need to hear that today - thank-you again! Frankie x

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