Tuesday, 25 July 2006


OK. This is going to be a paeon to retail possibilities; I apologise, but only a little. Having a comfortable bed is one of those things that's pretty baseline on Maslow's hierarchy of needs. Pocket sprung has always seemed to me to be a euphemism for lumpy, poky, uneven and unrestful, so something smooth and supportive does it for me. Horribly allergic to goose feathers (that particular fab and pricey duvet is now luxuriating on the guest bed), I hunt out the squashiest non-allergenic quilts and greedily steal as much of it for my side of the bed as possible. I thought I had it sorted until I spent the night at friends; it's Jane and Richard that have got it sorted. I got into a great big bed kindly vacated by one of their children to discover a kind of duvet-under-the-sheet deliciousness. I was the filling in a duvet sandwich. I spent an age scrunching it in glee with my toes and wriggling my shoulders deeper in a state of disbelieving comfort. What was this thing? Why hadn't anyone told me about it? Why wasn't Annalisa Barbieri writing about it every Saturday? Does everybody else know about it? WHY HADN'T SOMEONE TOLD ME? My world didn't include mattress toppers, enhancers or pads. I'd never heard about, seen or slept on one before. Once you start hunting on the web they are everywhere, costing from a few pounds up to £400 and no doubt even more. Being out in the sticks I can't just pop into my local M&S for instant bedtime gratification, and after some entirely useless email correspondence with that famous store trying to replicate the Jane and Richard experience but getting precisely nowhere, I waited till a looming meeting in Bristol would get me in spitting distance of shops. There, in John Lewis, hiding nonchalantly and without ceremony among the duvets was the holy grail. £55 for nightly bliss is a small price to pay.