I dreamt that I woke up. It's the oldest dream of all, and I've just had it.

I was in my own bed. That seemed a bit of a surprise, but after a

moment's thought it made sense. Who else's bed should I wake up in? I looked

around and I said to myself, Well, well, well. Not much of a thought, I admit.

Still, do we ever find the right words for the big occasions?

There was a knock on the door and a woman came in, sideways and

backwards at the same time. It should have looked awkward but it didn't; no,

it was all smooth and stylish. She was carrying a tray, which was why she'd

come in like that. As she turned, I saw she was wearing a uniform of sorts. A

nurse? No, she looked more like a stewardess on some airline you've never

heard of. 'Room service,' she said with a bit of a smile, as if she wasn't used to

providing it, or I wasn't used to expecting it; or both.

'Room service?' I repeated. Where I come from something like that only

happens in films. I sat up in bed, and found I didn't have any clothes on.

Where'd my pyjamas gone? That was a change. It was also a change that when

I sat up in bed and realized she could see me naked to the waist, I didn't feel at

all embarrassed.

Your clothes are in the cupboard,' she said. 'Take your time. You've got

all day. And,' she added with more of a smile, 'all tomorrow as well.'

(JULIAN BARNES)