Thursday, 11 April 2013


Bessie Pease Gutmann,
Nitey night by Bessie Pease Gutmann


Noun. Jocular or nursery. M17.
[An English county.]


Up the wooden hill to Bedforshire is one of the most endearing childhood expressions that I've ever heard. It evokes thoughts of everything that a child's bedtime should be - secure and tranquil, but with just a pinch of adventure as they climb that wooden hill and get ready for stories of heroes and princesses from far away lands, all the while tucked up safely in the rolling hills of their own little Bedfordshire.

Thank you to Debbie from Moonflame Cufflinks for requesting Bedfordshire. If you have any special memories from your bedtime as a child, or anything you do or say as a parent to make that journey to the Land of Nod a little easier, please share them with us in the comment box below.


  1. I like that song :)

    Anyhow, I don't have any kids, so can't really help out there. But whenever I babysat in the past, I did the same thing my mum used to do when my siblings and I were kids: pick out a bed to sit on, all kids cuddled up together under a warm blanket, tell a story and then tuck the kids into their own beds. (if you were the one whose bed was picked for story-time, you were lucky, 'cause your bed was all nice and pre-heated :P)

    It's simple and not really original, but if it works, why change the concept? I don't know if it helped getting nice dreams, because I still had some scary dreams when I was younger (still do), but it was a routine, and evening routines wind kids down.

  2. Giving a gentle back massage while they were settled in their bed was always a good way to get them ready for sleep. One waited and was already inplace while the first was being massaged, By the time I finished with both and said goodnight all I heard was a sleepy reply.

  3. Great word and great description, it made me long for my bed and pillows!

  4. Bedfordshire, in that context, is new to me but I like it. I do miss Grandad, many years ago in an equally mythical world of the past, telling us a long, fantastically exciting, entirely-made-up-on-the-spot epic, to help us to get to sleep. I might ask my ever-suffering wife to oblige at some point.

    We could spend the money, saved from the sleeping pill budget, on a storybook.

  5. You meant "Jocular for nursery", just FYI. I'm going to start saying this!

    1. No, but I can see why you thought that - the OED says "joc. or nursery". And yes, I'm definitely planning to shift this one into my active vocab : o )

  6. It was fun to read all of your thoughts on bedtime. I particularly liked Jett's idea of a massage - something that wouldn't go amiss for most adults too before bed : o )