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green sleeves

So yeah, I don’t sleep much. Or well. Never have really. So not surprisingly I’ve been sleeping (or not sleeping) less (or more) and even worse during lockdown. Not because I’m locked down per se, more because I can’t let my mind wander too far into “what ifs” and this is easier done while awake than when asleep.

But one indulgence I now allow myself, being locked down and all, is that I can get up whenever I damn well please. I mean, there’s nowhere to go. And I have no work to do. Before I used to find it hard to stay in bed after sunrise, even if I’d only slept a few short hours, because it seemed a waste to miss a beautiful morning (I love mornings). But now? Fuck it. I probably only average about 4-5 hours of sleep a night, waking up anytime after 4 am. And there’s no way I can get back to sleep because, well, I can’t. So I read stuff on my phone, play with the cats, maybe get up two or three times because I’m restless. Before I know it it’s 7 o’clock. I know this because Loki has been spending the past hour or so moaning and pawing at me to feed him breakfast. So then I get up, feed the beasts, open the windows and go back to bed.

And since I’m not forcing myself to get up I sometimes even manage to doze off for another blessed hour or two, which feels amazing. Once or twice since lockdown I even surprised myself by waking up again at noon (!!). Unheard of. But it’s all part of the whole becoming a cat thing. So what does this have to do with green sleeves you ask?

Okay okay, I was getting to that. One of the other indulgences, and the thing they (THEY) always tell you that you must never do, is sleeping with my phone and looking at it every time I wake up. Usually I’ll just check messages and social media (don’t get email anymore!). And I like it. In fact during the day I don’t spend much time scrolling through Twitter and Instagram. I just upload my posts and move on. But in the wee hours… love it. I scroll through EVERYTHING. And I end up finding some really interesting stuff that I bookmark or email to myself for later. THIS being one of them.

The other (early) morning I read this by my Twitter pal @EOVeoBares…

mangas verdes

You can click on it later. Basically it was about bars in Las Ramblas (Barcelona) suddenly offering dirt cheap paellas and drinks (they used to charge exhorbitant prices to gouge tourists) and as you can see my pal said  “A buenas horas mangas verdes”. And I thought “what the hell does that mean?”. So I googled it.

Turns out it is the equivalent of  “too little too late” or “closing the barn door after the horses have escaped”. So right, okay. But something still niggled about that. So when I woke up again about an hour or so later and I saw I had a couple of Whatsapps from my friend Ania (she is Polish but has lived here for over ten years and is more Sevillana than most Sevillanos you’ll ever meet) I asked her if she had ever heard this expression before. She hadn’t. I then asked if her Sevillano BF knew the origin … specifically WHY GREEN SLEEVES?? He didn’t know. But that didn’t stop Ania!

She did some research. And she got back to me with this article (where the pic above comes from) explaining the meaning of this expression and also its origin. Translating from the article…

It is easy to understand its meaning, and to know when to use it. But what perhaps not everyone knows is the origin of this well-known saying.
Its origin dates back to the gangs of the Santa Hermandad, a security body created by Isabel de Castilla and Fernando de Aragón to be on alert in case of any emergency. Members of this body wore uniforms with green sleeves. According to what is said and read, it was common for them to come to the rescue a little later than needed, when, for example, the thief had already had time to flee. And so of course, when they arrived they were greeted with … “In good time, green sleeves!”

And you see, I would probably never have known this if I hadn’t been lying awake after feeding the cats after way too little sleep. And neither would you. You’re welcome.  🙂