HOW rude. One would not barge into a retirement home with a loud hailer and demand that everyone desist immediately from napping. Yet that is what happened this week in the Lords, the democratic institution that is to retirement homes what Fortnum and Mason is to the corner shop.

To be fair, Lord Taylor of Holbeach, the government’s chief whip in the second chamber, sent a memo, but he might as well have made with a bullhorn and told the aged peers to come out because they were surrounded.

“In recent months,” he wrote, “a departure from the normally high standards of conduct, for which the House is noted, has been observed.” Among the sins was “members falling asleep in the chamber”.

Labour and Liberal Democrat whips were meant to be sending out their own etiquette guides, but it soon became clear there was a split in the ranks.

“Sometimes they really are closing their eyes,” said a source. “Others are leaning into the monitor to hear more closely and it looks like they’ve keeled over.”

Immediately, a fault line wider than Brexit appeared in British politics. Would you support a political party that frowned on napping? I thought so. Napping is one of life's great pleasures, and by far the most fun you can have with your clothes on (unless you are popping bubble wrap while eating a selection box; that’s not too shabby either).

Winston Churchill could not have fought a war without naps, saying: “Nature has not intended mankind to work from eight in the morning until midnight without that refreshment of blessed oblivion which, even if it only lasts 20 minutes, is sufficient to renew all the vital forces.” Other great nappers included Napoleon and LBJ.

Apart from Huffington Post co-founder Arianna Huffington, who wrote a book on the importance of rest, The Sleep Revolution, notable women nappers are about as rare as a parking space at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Glasgow. Facebook high heid yin Sheryl Sandberg famously advised women to “lean in”, not “drop off”. Such is the power of napping, however, it is hard to believe that high achieving women do not partake of 40 winks now and then.

Companies have woken up to the benefits of napping. Ben & Jerry’s was among the first firms to set up a nap room. Google has its nap pods. Policy researchers The Rand Corporation calculated the cost of not enough sleep (including days off sick), at £37 billion a year in the UK. Health, happiness, productivity: napping boosts them all.

The delights of napping are such that someone should write a book about it, The Joy of Naps. It would be like The Joy of Sex but without the weirdy beardy bloke. As luck would have it, halfway through this column I had a micro sleep so now I’m ready to start work on an outline for such a project.

We start with the sofa nap. Best enjoyed with a glass of wine and while watching a box set. Do not snore, otherwise your other half will think you are failing to keep up. Some unfortunate wretches are “officially” on the latest series of The Bridge, but in reality they nodded off halfway through the first season and now live in terror of being discovered. Don't be that person.

The travel nap is a retro activity, given what a waking nightmare any form of travel is today. Trains offer the best chance, but listen out for the bonce-bashing trolley coming down the aisle.

Next, the sick room nap. Every fair sized company has a sick room, but have you ever used it? Just think of that poor little bed, lying in there all alone. Is it calling your name? Always give way to an actual sick person if required (though ask for a doctor’s note just to be sure; nappers are sneaky sorts).

The disco nap, contrary to its name, is not the sole preserve of clubbers. A kip prior to going to Dobbies can ensure your afternoon tea date goes with a swing.

The meeting nap is another tricky one, not to be practised by anyone unskilled in the ancient art of sleeping while having one’s eyes open. Always be on guard for tell-tale signs such as drooling, laughing, and having that dream where you are telling your line manager exactly what you think of them.

Finally, there is the “just resting my eyes for a minute” nap, as practised by Scottish mothers down the ages. If you are a child in the vicinity, please be aware that mothers may look fast asleep but, like a resting T-Rex in Jurassic Park, they can suddenly open one eye and immediately be in chase mode.

Sweet dreams.


THE tale of the Rolls-Royce gifted to Glasgow City Council by an anonymous benefactor is one to file under C for “couldn’t make it up”. 
The Roller, estimated worth £235,000, was unveiled this week by a thrilled SNP Lord Provost Eva Bolander. 
But when asked who had made such a generous donation the administration was not for saying, insisting the benefactor had requested anonymity, Lottery-winner style.
“The SNP campaigned on being open and transparent” said Tory councillor Thomas Kerr, “then less than a year after they got into office, the Lord Provost accepts this car without revealing to the council members or to the public where it came from. It stinks of hypocrisy.”
Now my esteemed colleague Tom Gordon has revealed the mystery benefactor was none other than Boyd Tunnock, of teacake-making and No campaign-supporting fame. 
Mr Boyd has previously given money to the Tories, but the amount is only a fraction of the value of a Roller.  That better be one heck of a pram he gives to Ruth Davidson.


WHAT would happen if you did not turn up to work? Chances are the world would keep turning. 
When you are Nicholas Parsons, the host of Radio 4’s panel game Just a Minute, the rules are different. The 94-year-old’s dulcet tones urging players to talk for 60 seconds on a subject without hesitation, repetition, or deviation, were replaced on Monday evening by Gyles Brandreth’s, and all heck broke loose on social media. What was going on?
All that had happened was Parsons fancied a couple of days off. It was, though, the first time he had had such a notion in 50 years while a season was running.
Such was the panic, the head of BBC radio comedy, Julia McKenzie, had to reassure fans that “the apocalypse is not upon us”.
It used to be ravens leaving the Tower of London that was a sign of doom. With devolution that probably no longer replies. We need a new sign that the balloon has gone up. Greggs having no steak bakes? Gary Robertson not being on Good Morning Scotland? Suggestions please to @alisonmrowat