Spare Bed Blues

· mumblings · cats ·

A few nights ago, I woke up in the middle of the night and couldn’t get back to sleep again. After tossing and turning for a while, I decided that I might as well go and sleep in the spare room, and then at least I wouldn’t be disturbing Mr. Bsag. Our spare room is also my office, so to save space, we have a futon sofa bed in there. In actual fact, we have two futon sofa beds: the other is the one we use full time as a bed.

Until recently, the one in the spare room was the kind that folds into three widthways. It’s a metal frame, and because you have to fold the frame back on itself, and double over the futon mattress to form the seat of the sofa, you have to take off the mattress and put it to one side before you fold or unfold the base. Since the futon mattress is very heavy, and has nothing that you can grab hold of, it always felt like wrestling a floppy, unhelpful adolescent sperm whale. Every time we had guests round, it was a huge performance to try and wrestle the mattress on and off to convert the sofa to a bed or vice versa. By contrast, the sofa bed we used as a bed full time (and therefore never had to fold or unfold) was simplicity itself. It folds lengthways, so you don’t have to take the mattress off. You just lift up one side of the bed until the locking mechanism kicks in, then you have a sofa. To convert back to a bed, you just lift the side further forward to disengage the lock, and let it down. Easy. Obviously we are a bit dim, because it never occurred to us that we could just switch the beds over and make our lives a lot easier until we rearranged the spare room.

Not only is the ‘folding lengthways’ sofa bed easier to convert to a bed, you often don’t need to do it at all. If only one person is sleeping on the bed, it’s just as comfortable to leave it as a sofa, since the sofa seat is the full length of the bed, it has no arms, and the seat is very level. So when I stumbled sleepily in to the spare room, I just pulled out the sleeping bag we stash away for just such eventualities, removed it from its bag, climbed in and lay down on the sofa.

I was just beginning to doze off when I was woken by Bianca jumping on the bed. Bianca is the Cat Who Likes To Sleep In Small Spaces, so she immediately tried to insert herself in the small gap between my hip and the vertical sofa back. I lay still in the hope that she would just settle and go to sleep, but I then felt her paws pushing against me. She had pressed her back against the sofa back, and was using all four legs to push me away, with all the relentless inevitability of a furry hydraulic ram. I sighed, and for the sake of a quiet life, and not having to get out of my sleeping bag, I shifted over slightly to give her more room.

Again I started to drift off, before I woke with a start as Bella (much more hefty than Bianca) landed on my midriff. She also strolled up the sleeping bag and stuck her nose in my face to check that I was still alive and thus a) a potential source of warmth and b) able to dole out her cat biscuits in the morning. Apparently satisfying herself that all was well, she strolled back down my body and curled up in what would be my lap if I was sitting up.

Amazingly, I did actually manage to sleep under these rather cramped conditions, but woke up sweating. It seems that a 10 tog sleeping bag layered with a 30 tog cat results in considerable localised overheating. Quite why the cats felt the need to cram in with me when there was half a double bed spare in the room next door is anyone’s guess, but next time I might actually convert the sofa to a bed.