Stuff that occurs to me

All of my 'how to' posts are tagged here. The most popular posts are about blocking and private accounts on Twitter, also the science communication jobs list. None of the science or medical information I might post to this blog should be taken as medical advice (I'm not medically trained).

Think of this blog as a sort of nursery for my half-baked ideas hence 'stuff that occurs to me'.

Contact: @JoBrodie Email: jo DOT brodie AT gmail DOT com

Science in London: The 2016 scientific society talks in London blog post

Saturday, 28 January 2012

Nice bit on falling asleep, in TH White's The Once and Future King

I have vague memories of reading a book in this series as a child but I'm not sure if I've read the whole thing. There's a bit in Lorenzo's Oil where Lorenzo's mother is reading him children's stories and, it's a fairly pivotal point in the film, he blinks to let her know that he finds the story childish, while viewers understand that the intervention (a mixture of glycerol trioleate and trierucate) is working. Mum goes off to find something more age-appropriate and begins to read from TH White's The Once and Future King. 

I've pasted some of the text below - I think it's a charming description of falling asleep.
"The boy slept well in the woodland nest where he had laid himself down. At first he only dipped below the surface of sleep, and skimmed along like a salmon in shallow water, so close to the surface that he fancied himself in the air. He thought himself awake when he was already asleep. He saw the stars above his face, whirling on their silent and sleepless axes, and the leaves of the trees rustling against them, and he heard small changes in the grass. These little noises of footsteps and soft-fringed wing-beats and stealthy bellies drawn over the grass blades or rattling against the bracken at first frightened or interested him, then soothed him, so that he no longer cared to see what they were but trusted them to be themselves, and finally left him altogether as he swam down deeper and deeper, nuzzling into the scented turf, into the warm ground, into the unending waters under the earth."
To get this text I had to sneak up on it a bit because Google / Google Books didn't furnish me with a page with the full text - I typed in a line, in quotes, to start the search process off and got one or two phrases. To get the next sentence I had to re-search but choose the second sentence (from the first search) in the hope that the results would have that sentence and the one that followed. Fiddly.

However since I did this I've found that someone's uploaded the entire book to Scribd and the text should actually be 
"The boy slept well in the woodland nest where he had laid himself down, in that kind of thin but refreshing sleep which people have when they begin to lie out of doors. At first he only dipped below the surface of sleep, and skimmed along like a salmon in shallow water, so close to the surface that he fancied himself in air. He thought himself awake when he was already asleep. He saw the stars above his face, whirling on their silent and sleepless axis,and the leaves of the trees rustling against them, and he heard small changes in the grass. These little noises of footsteps and soft-fringed wing-beats and stealthy bellies drawn over the grass blades or rattling against the bracken at first frightened or interested him, so that he moved to see what they were (but never saw), then soothed him, so that he no longer cared to see what they were but trusted them to be themselves, and finally left him altogether as he swam down deeper and deeper, nuzzling into the scented turf, into the warm ground, into the unending waters under the earth."

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