1 EAGLETON NOTES: The Virtue of Getting Up Early



Thursday, 3 July 2008

The Virtue of Getting Up Early

I mentioned, en passant, in an email to Pat that various things had happened since I'd risen at 0551. Her reply included the rejoinder "What is virtuous about getting up in the middle of the night?".

Now I (and I'm not alone 'cos CJ is the same) don't regard that as the middle of the night - certainly not when the hours of daylight are so long in the summer in the Hebrides. However it made me realise what a very good question Pat had posed. I hadn't consciously meant to imply that I was being virtuous as such, simply that I had been up for a long time. However there is no doubt that those of us who rise early (and go to bed late as well!) do feel virtuous. In reality I don't suppose that we are although I'm sure that after a reading of the Good Book and consideration of the (now) Seven Deadly Sins I'm sure that, as Archie and Mehitabel's fly would have said "i could have made out a case for myself too if i had had a better line of talk."

Oddly enough although I don't feel any need to comment more on virtuosity (or is it virtuousness?) I now feel the need to explain why I get up so early. My Mum's natural bedtime was 0220. Why? I don't know although she liked the peace and quiet of the night to read and study. Those are two desires with which I've never been afflicted so I can't claim that. However I've never needed much sleep and when I do put my head on the pillow I usually sleep extremely soundly for up to 5 hours. As a rule when I wake I rise immediately although I confess that that's getting less the case as I grow older (and, for some reason, I don't rise straight away when I'm in New Zealand).

When I worked I 'needed' the time to do all the things I had to fit into the day. Now that I'm retired I need the time to do all the things that I want to fit into the day. So no change there then apart from the fact that I don't actually have to do very much that I don't want to do. Life is good. I enjoy it very much. I want as much of it as I can have and whilst I'm still able to do the things I want to do. Those things are not done alone in bed. It's a personal thing.

So I'll try not to tell people when I got up in future and, if I do, please understand that I'm not trying to be virtuous. Unless, of course, I have that smug smile of virtuousness on may face.


  1. Aaah now. The only problem with being up for so many hours of the day is that it still does not necessarily enable you to fit in everything that you would like: primarily because that inevitably involves other people who are not so accomodating as to be available the entire day long.

    For example, regardless of how early I woke up this morning I couldn't go to the office as the skip was due to be collected and we had to use our car to save a space for the collection lorry. Having waited for it to be picked up we were on our way to the office (and I had promised to help someone with something once I got there) when our car decided it had a fuel injection problem. The dilemma of whether to proceed to the garage via the office was quickly resolved as we needed the car to be ready for a trip to the airport early tomorrow and the garage would shut in 2 hours. Of course by the time the garage had finished with the car the person at the office had already left. Not that we would have needed the car had there been any trains running at the appropriate time of night to get everyone to the airport.

    Aaah well, thus endeth the saga of the skip, the car's fuel injection problem is sorted, the headlight bulb replaced (both problems it had gained within less than 10 days of it's MOT - you can tell we had an airport trip coming!) I shall try not to rely on the 'services' of anyone else in the near future, but of course that is impossible.

  2. Every time I get up early I simply feel virtuous, full stop! Nowadays I have incredibly early nights to compensate but in the days when bedtime was 1 am and up time was 5.30 I certainly felt virtuous. After all, one has to feel virtuous about something - it'a all part of having high self-esteem (so I'm told!).