Now, the following statement is not really as interesting as it sounds, but in the past few years I’ve slept in more beds than I care to remember.

A somewhat peripatetic working life means I am frequently away from home, sleeping in a variety of strange beds. Although some I end up frequenting so often, such as Justin‘s spare room, that they are like a second home. And as anyone who finds it hard to get used to a new or unfamiliar bed will appreciate, it can sometimes be hard to get some decent sleep.

In Shetland last week and Orkney this week I stayed in B&Bs that were otherwise excellent, but boasted one annoying feature which only made matters worse, and the purpose of which I simply cannot fathom – a footboard.

Alongside helicopter ejector seats, jogging and cricket, bed footboards serve no useful purpose whatsoever. Why would you want a barrier running alongside the bottom of your bed? I can just about understand something at the top of the bed to give you something to lean against (although quite what’s wrong with the combination of wall and pillow I have no idea).

But at the bottom? If you’re going to fall out of bed at all, it will surely be over the sides, not by slithering uncontrollably downwards. Unless of course you sleep in a hydraulic bucket lift on a lorry, or a bed that boasts an alarm call mechanism courtesy of Wallace and Gromit. In which case, please accept my apologies and feel free to skip to the last paragraph.

And when you’re over six foot tall, these things are important. Stretching your feet to the bottom of the bed only to find their progress blocked by a pointless barrier of wood or metal is most uncomfortable and inhibiting, and I have the stubbed toes and bags under my eyes to prove it. And sleeping diagonally in a single bed just doesn’t work.

Why do certain schools of thought in the bed-design world feel it appropriate to discriminate against tall people, who simply want to stretch out or, if necessary, dangle their feet over the bottom of the bed? Why go to the effort of adding something to a bed which runs against the very philosophy of a bed – comfort?

So please, bed-makers of the world, stop it.

I feel I should write an indignant letter. Though to who, I don’t know.

Meanwhile, other than footboards, I had a good time in Orkney. The weather was lovely, although this morning’s spectacular views of the Cromarty, Moray and Beauly Firths as I flew back were tempered somewhat by me sitting on the wrong side of the plane to take in the best of the sunrise and scenery, and some white knuckle-grade winds and turbulence.

So there are not too many decent photos to show for my efforts, I’m afraid. I blame the lack of sleep.

5 thoughts on “Beds

  1. You have my full sympathies. I’ve just spent ten days sleeping in a bed less than six feet long, with a stupid metal bar at the bottom. Plus seven other men (different beds).

  2. I’m short, but I also despise footboards – I wriggle around a fair bit when I’m sleeping, and I’ve kicked way more footboards than I care to remember. Nothing ruins a pedicure like bruised toes!


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