Question of the day.

   What three things do you need for a good night’s rest? 

   My answer: 

  Well, I need a lot more than just three things, for one thing I need at least two pillows so it’s already two things, but let’s at least try to narrow it down to the most necessary things (let’s skip the pillows though since they’re pretty default, except for their preferred amount  which I’m sure varies for everyone). 

   So, for the most part of the year, I need a hot water bottle. Like I recently wrote, I’m okay with being cold during the day, I’m totally used to it, I even like it, and really the fact that I am cold most of the time doesn’t necessarily have to mean that I feel cold, but at night, regardless of whether I feel subjectively cold or not, it will take me ages to fall asleep if I’ll have cold feet. Another thing that I need quite critically is some background noise. Not too loud, so that I can actually fall asleep and sleep deeply, but also not too quiet so that my brain can latch onto something when I’m awake so that it doesn’t have to generate scary auditory stimuli itself, or so that it’s less likely that it will do it. For lack of anything better, even some white noise humming will be better than nothing, but if I have a choice, which I usually do, I much prefer it to be something more tangible like music that I like or a radio station where they talk in any of my favourite languages, because it’s just more interesting to listen to some nice music or a beautiful language before I fall asleep, and gives me something to focus on so I won’t start ruminating and overthinking which I generally have a tendency to do a lot at night anyway. Also it’s fun to have a nice soundtrack to your dreams. 😀 For that reason, I also really like to sleep with Misha. I’mm not really including him on this list, because he’s not a thing and it’s not like I really really need him to sleep well, because he doesn’t even sleep with me every single night, but when he does sleep with me, it also tends to decrease my night time sensory anxieties and makes me feel more peaceful overall, even though Misha is very quiet, but his mere presence makes me feel safer. 

   And the third thing… I was going to say a good book because I often read before sleep, well, I almost always read before sleep, and sometimes I get so engrossed in a book that I just can’t fall asleep because it’s so interesting so I keep reading instead. But a book doesn’t really make my sleep better or worse, it’s just a fun element of my bedtime routine. So I think the third thing on my list is going to be an open window. I guess I take it after my Mum that I can’t sleep in stuffy and very warm rooms or else I’ll wake up with a raging headache or even a migraine. And usually I’ll oversleep then and wake up feeling totally, disgustingly lousy, as if I had a hangover or something. And since I already have way more than enough migraine triggers, I’d rather avoid the ones that I have control over and keep the window at least partly open, or at least solidly air the room before going to bed, depends on what the weather is and what seems most reasonable at a time. So I’ll sleep with a hot water bottle, Misha who generates a lot of heat, and in the autumn-winter season like now Misha sleeps on a lamb skin, which lies on a blanket that belongs to both of us, and the blanket lies on my duvet which is quite thick in itself, so I like it to feel warm and cosy in bed while at the same time having very cool air in the room that makes sleep feel refreshing and that keeps my brain cool so that it won’t overheat. 😀 My Mum is a lot more hardcore though because she sleeps with her window wide open every night, and she doesn’t do hot water bottles, has no blanket most of the time and just a single duvet, but unlike me she always puts something over her head and ears, like a scarf or something, to keep more warmth in and to isolate herself from noises that could wake her up (like my Dad’s snoring). That would make me personally feel very much out of control and, knowing myself, I’d constantly wake up thinking that someone was calling me  or something and I didn’t hear it, not to mention that it would make my anxiety worse, but my Mum literally can’t fall asleep without covering her head, and she can’t have any light. My Dad was previously a definitely window-closed person, but he just had to get used to it being different when they  married, because this is one field where my Mum doesn’t tolerate compromises, and now that she’s going through menopause, she’s even worse, so my poor Dad sleeps under a huge duvet and a really warm, heavy weighted blanket, and with socks on, and he says he’s still freezing some nights. I guess that’s because he does socks instead of a hot water bottle. Socks don’t really give you additional warmth, just keep your natural warmth in, and if you’re not really warm to begin with, that’s not much help I guess. Sofi also likes to sleep with a hot water bottle, but it’s more just because she enjoys it a lot rather than that she won’t fall asleep easily without it. And she’s also like me in that she needs some quiet sound in the background, as well as a bit of light because she’s scared of the dark.

   So yeah, it’s funny how you can find so many tips on how to sleep well from all kinds of sleep experts, when in reality, everyone has such totally different habits, even within one family, and can’t fall asleep if something’s even slightly different than the way they like. 😀 And then there’s Misha, abut whose sleep routines one could write a whole essay and how they change based on seasons, his moods, external circumstances etc. I guess even I don’t know everything about them and don’t always remember the order in which all his sleep rituals should take place. 

   How about you and your ideal sleep conditions? 🙂 

Plu – “Nos Da Nawr” (Goodnight Now).

   Hiya people! 🙂 

   For today, I have a lovely little children’s lullaby for you, from Plu’s album called Holl Anifeiliaid y Goedwig (All Animals of the Forest). As far as I can tell, this lullaby is about what various animals do before bedtime and how they prepare for sleep. 

Song of the day (31st May) – Laura Cannell ft. Rhodri Davies – “To Hinder the Night”.

   Hiya people! 🙂 

   This time, I’d like to share with you an interesting composition from Laura Cannel’s and Rhodri Davies’ album called Feathered Swing of the Raven, from which I’ve already shared one piece – Maske – in the past. I’ve also shared several other pieces by Laura Cannell featuring other artists. Both Laura Cannell and RHodri Davies are improvising musicians whose genre is most often labelled as experimental music. Laura Cannell is a multi-instrumentalist from Norfolk, but her primary instrument, and the one we can hear in this composition, is the recorder, while Rhodri Davies is a harpist from Wales. 

Samia – “The Night Josh Tillman Listened to My Song”.

   Hey people! 🙂 

 

   Today I thought I’d share with you a song that has captured my attention last year very much, and still whenever I listen to it, it really makes me think and raises a lot of feelings for me, because I think it’s so very interesting and unusual! I don’t really know much about Samia, I’ve listened to some of her other music after I accidentally came across this song for the first time, but her other songs didnn’t quite strike a chord for me as much as this one did. I first heard it on Spotify, there’s that thing on there called autoplay which will play similar music after what you’ve been listening to ends, and that’s how I came across it and it just played in the background in my room. What first captured my attention about this song was its melody, but as I listened to it again and more closely, it was the lyrics that really intrigued me. She wrote this song for the musician Josh Tillman, aka Father John Misty, one of her early musical influences. And I think it is so bold and courageous of her to do, to expose her deep feelings in this song like that, all the inner conflict that she has going on around this fascination with him, and obviously she didn’t just write this song and lock it away somewhere but actually shared it with the world, taking the risk (very high I think) that one day Josh Tillman may indeed decide to Google his name or learn about this song some other way and have a listen to it, and think something about it, and possibly about her as well. She’s even sure that he’ll hate it but she put it out there anyway, even though, despite implying that she doesn’t really care about his opinion, it sounds like at least a part of her does care. To me, that’s a really brave and I guess quite an unusual thing to do, and an intriguing topic to write a song on. Even though I have no idea about Father John Misty other than being vaguely familiar with the name, every time I listened to this song I was wondering whether he actually heard it aand what was his reaction, and at some point I came across an interview with Samia where she said that he put it on his playlist, but according to her is probably a bit scared of her now. I guess people often respond to things like this by feeling creeped out which is understandable in a way but also kind of sad because that’s hardly the fascinated party’s intention. 😀 

Auri – “Night 13”.

Hey people! 🙂

Today, I have a song from Finland for you. Auri is the after hours project of Tuomas Holopainen (most well-known as the leader of Nightwish), his wife Johanna Kurkela, who is a prominent folk singer and violinist in her homeland, with as it seems quite wide musical interests, and another Nightwish member and uilleann pipes player – Troy Donockley. – The three had plans to collaborate on something more folky and as they say they knew they had to do it at some point, but as they all had quite busy lives, the chance only happened in 2018. Their sound could be described as prog folk, or folk metal. Both the band’s name and a lot of motives in their music are inspired by The Kingkiller Chronicle by Patrick Rothfuss (where a female character is called Auri).

I used to listen to Nightwish years ago, and a lot of other symphonic/Gothic metal like that, now I no longer do, initially because my views on life and all sorts of things have changed and I considered it no longer congruent with my current beliefs and values system to listen to stuff like Nightwish, and then I guess I just naturally sort of grew out of that phase. But while I’m not like very hugely into Auri, I really appreciate their sound and I’ve liked and followed Johanna Kurkela for years.

This is one of their songs that I really wonder what it might be about, I’ve had countless ideas, haha. I guess though most likely it’s inspired by something I simply have no clue about (perhaps The Kingkiller Chronicle as well which I’ve never read). Anyway, it is an interesting song.

Inge Frimout-Hei – “Mont-Saint-Michel By Night”.

Hi people! 🙂

Today I have for you just a short but beautiful harp piece from a harpist whose music I’ve never shared before on here yet. I believe she’s from the Netherlands. It comes from the album called Mont-Saint-Michel which seems to be entirely inspired by this place.

Question of the day.

What’s the strangest/scariest thing you’ve seen in the middle of the night?

My answer:

Not really seen it but heard it, and not just in the middle of the night but for a good few months, but it started in the middle of the night. We still lived in our previous house in the countryside where I had a room in the attic. One night in summer I woke up, I think it wasn’t that scary strange thing that woke me up initially, if I remember correctly I was feeling unwell physically or something like that. In any case, I woke up and couldn’t go back to sleep. Suddenly I heard a weird, faint but clear noise. I still sort of remember what it sounded like but can’t even describe it in a good way, yet I remember that the first time I heard it it reminded me of something like the noise that a sheep or a goat would make, only a lot fainter and shorter and kinda raspy. There was no way there were any such animals in our area so I found this really bizarre and a little creepy because it quite clearly sounded like it came from somewhere in my room. Since it didn’t repeat for some time and I couldn’t come up with a good idea for what it could be, I decided I must have imagined it, but I couldn’t settle back to sleep. And then I heard it again. And again, after a while. And again. And a few more times. Sometimes hearing a sound to which I can’t attribute a source can really trigger my sensory anxiety, and I think it can be potentially scary for a lot of people even when they don’t have the sensory anxiety problem. In order to be able to fall back to sleep and not freak out completely I tried to think that there certainly must be some normal, prosaic reason for why I was hearing this, I just simply didn’t know what it was. I finally managed to fall asleep, but to my fear and frustration I could still hear it. I asked my Mum what could it be, perhaps there’s something in my room, but she had no idea. She came up there, but couldn’t hear anything, so she said I must’ve been imagining it at night like I thought. Only I could still hear it at regular intervals throughout the day. And the next day, and for the rest of the summer. Eventually I sort of got used to my invisible, creepy roommate, invading my little Bibiel haven, but it was really annoying, and when I was home alone, when it was really quiet or the night time, it would still creep me out, even just the idea that no one else hears it. So what does that mean? Am I going crazy? My Mum tried hearing out for it multiple times ’cause I kept complaining about it but the malicious thing never made the noise when she was in the room, or if it did, she wouldn’t hear it because we were talking or some other noises were masking it. When I mentioned it she laughed that I must be smoking something and that it’s not fair that I won’t share with the rest of the family. 😀 Dad often had a habit of taking a nap in my room, ’cause it was the quietest, which I utterly hated because he snores, as Sofi once said, like a million of dinosaurs. Still, I was hoping that one time when he comes, before he falls asleep, or after he wakes up, he’ll hear it. Thing is, my Dad falls asleep immediately, doesn’t even need five minutes.

The summer holidays had finished and the new school year had started, so I went to school and wasn’t home for the next at least two weeks. I hoped that by the time I come back, my roommate would get bored not having anyone in there to creep out and would magically disappear just as he appeared, or maybe Mum would find him. No such luck. I remember that when I came home I guess just for a weekend, I went upstairs to go to sleep, and when I was already falling asleep, I heard it again. And that was the case for the next few months, I don’t know how long. Finally, at some point Mum did hear it. She was relaxing in my room, and I was there too, and at some point we both heard it and she was all like: “Gosh, what was that?!” Then she kept looking around the room to locate the thing, which wasn’t easy, because it wasn’t very loud and only made the noise once in a while. Finally, she found it. Under a bean bag, there lay Sofi’s old toy phone, and right when she discovered it, it pleaded guilty by making that noise again. Its battery was dying, so that was why it sounded so weird. Sofi was no longer interested in it, so the phone went to trash, which I felt evil satisfaction about. 😀

And how about you? 🙂

Declan Galbraith – “Vincent (Starry, Starry Night)”.

Hi guys! 🙂

I don’t think I’ve ever shared with you a song from Declan Galbraith’s (currently known as Child of Mind) second album called Thank You, so I thought I’d do it today. It was released in 2006 when he was 15, and, what’s typical of his music at the time, contains mostly covers of popular classics of genres like pop, folk and rock. And one of the pieces he covered on that album was Don McLean’s “Vincent” often referred to as “Starry, Starry Night” from its first lines, and that’s also how it’s called on Declan’s album. Somehow despite this is a very weighty song in my opinion, tackling quite an intense topic like mental illness or suicide, I’ve seen a lot of children and teens cover it, Chloe Agnew and Jackie Evancho to name a few.

Despite it clearly shows that while recording this song, Declan was already undergoing voice change, so it impacts the quality of the piece a bit, and so does the autotune here unfortunately, which is not the case with the whole album because in some other songs he sounds a lot different, I still think his version is absolutely great! And the lyrics are just amazing but that’s obviously Don McLean’s merit.

Alys Williams & Cherddorfa Genedlaethol Gymreig Y BBC – “Pan Fo’r Nos Yn Hir” (When The Night Is Long).

Hey people! 🙂

I haven’t posted Welsh music in ages! SO I thought I’d post something finally today. If you’re a regular reader of my blog, you might remember Alys Williams, I posted a few songs by her already some time ago. I really like her, how versatile musically is, I love her Welsh accent when she sings in English, I love her voice, how strong it is but can also be very sensitive, she’s just great! She easily finds herself in rock, jazz, pop, indie, electronica and folk, and probably other genres too only I’ve never heard it.

This time we’ll be admiring Alys in folk music.

Pan Fo’r Nos Yn Hir is a song written by Ryan Davies – a composer very well-known in Wales, another very versatile type as he also was a playwright, radio presenter, singer, actor etc. – This song was also played at his funeral. It seems to be quite well liked as I’ve heard quite a lot of renditions of it, but Alys’ is most definitely my favourite, I actually really really love it. In this particular version that I chose, she is accompanied by Cerddorfa Genedlaethol Gymreig Y BBC (also known by the uninitiated as BBC National Orchestra Of Wales or BBC NOW).

I’ve also found a translation, which was written by Irene Ryan-Davies, so I’m sharing it with you as well.

  When the night is long
__and the dawn is far away
Battling through the long hours
__without an hour’s sleep
Fighting, tossing and turning
__through the great, long hours
Without seeing the close of yesterday
__nor the end of my journey
Then through the black darkness
__I see your face
I remember the romance
__the eyelid closes
When the night is long.

Then through the black darkness
__I see your face
And fear doth retreat,
__dread disappears
When the night becomes day.

Meinir Gwilym – “Ar Hyd Y Nos” (All Through The Night).

Maybe you guys remember when I posted some Meinir Gwilym’s songs months ago? I guess it might have even been last year. Anyway. She has much more great music than that. So, as it is late evening here, I thought I’d share this sweet, beautiful lullaby, which you may or may not know, I guess it’s pretty popular and has had some English versions. I am a sucker for very beautiful, Celtic-themed lullabies, and this one makes my brain melt. I’m not including the lyrics since they are in the video.

Song of the day (27th June) Cornelia Jakobs – “Late Night Stories”.

Here’s one of my more interesting discoveries of this year – Cornelia Jakobs. – I really love her strong, hoarse voice, and her expressiveness! She’s from Sweden, though all of her music so far has been in English, but I’d love to hear her singing in Swedish. And this is one of my favourite songs by her.

Song of the day (31st December) – Enya – “Oíche Chiúin” (Silent Night).

I have a niggling feeling that despite my love for Irish language there hasn’t been much Irish language music that I posted here actually. So here’s the Irish version of “Silent Night” in ENya’s exquisite performance. I just love it so, so much!

Meic Stevens – “Noson Oer Nadolig” (A Cold Christmas Night).

Hi people. 🙂

This is the Christmas song of the day I have for you. I heard it last year for the first time and it somehow stuck with me, I really like it  and I hope you will too. 🙂

Question of the day.

What do you wear when you go to bed?

My answer:

Usually pjs, sometimes nightdresses. I have one nightdress that has “Misha” printed on it. My Mum went to one of these machines where you can print out whatever you want to be written on your clothes and I wanted to have something with Misha’s name written on it. I thought something I wear at night would be the best because it is at night when I spend the most time with Misha.

You?

Cadi Gwen – Nos Da, Nostalgia (Goodnight, nostalgia).

Hi! 🙂

Today I have for you a debut single by a Welsh artist Cadi Gwen. It’s very popular in Welsh language music world all the time, and I like it too.

Anyone else not sleeping?

Goodnight, good morning or whatever people say at 04:10 AM. 😀

Yeah, another night of no sleep. With the difference that this time I won’t be able to catch up on sleep in the morning if I’d become sleepy as I have things to do in the morning. So unless a miracle will happen and I’ll get an hour or two of sleep until 6, I think I have a zombie day ahead, as I always call days after a completely sleepless night. Ugh, I hate it so much. But maybe if I’ll go zombie for a day, my sleep routine will settle back and my brain will get in which timezone I am. The good thing however is that Misha’s with me fast asleep in his basket, giving me some more sense of safety, and, which I am very gateful about, my anxiety is definitely not as overwhelming as it was last night. I mean it still is there, but it isn’t so exhausting and I am more functional so after like two hours of tossing and turning I got up and started doing some nice things like I wrote a bit of a next chapter of my book. It’s called “Jack Hamilton” and I’ve been writing it for years, finding comfort in it. Jack Hamilton is just a simple guy, but with very complex life and he’s quite funny, he is actually writing his story on its own. I often plan to direct his life and make him do what I want, but I end up writing something completely different like he’d want to write a life scenario for himself. I planned to publish Jack, but firstly now it’s definitely too long, and secondly, he became my close friend over the years, someone extremely close to me, almost ten years now. My God I can’t believe I can manage with him for so long. He isn’t easy to live with. And although many people know I’m writing a book about a guy called Jack Hamilton who is half Irish half Swedish, even know some of his life story, I’ve never shown anyone more than my notes before writing an actual chapter. I feel like my relationship with Jack, although he’s only my creation, is very intimate is some way.

Besides Jack, I’ve been reading my book, snuggling Misha, still have music on and I think soon I’ll go to bed again just in case I might fall asleep, although I highly doubt it could happen.

Who else isn’t sleeping for whatever reason?