It’s enough to make you lose a night’s sleep

I was first attracted to the name.  You must admit “The Grand Bliss” has a rather nice ring to it, especially if you’re in the market for a new mattress, as I was. 

One’s bed should be a sanctuary, a peaceful place to escape the cares of the world and lose oneself in blissful dreams.  There’s that word again – bliss – but I’d been losing sleep for some time over this particular purchasing decision. 

It’s the paradox of choice, you see.  I was shopping in the modern mattress marketplace where one can be, surely must be, overwhelmed by the abundance of choice. 

“A mattress fit for royalty,” the online ad gushed. 

With images of the latest royal wedding still fresh in mind, I fell for the hook and read on with enthusiasm. 

“Comfortable, cool made from all-natural fibres”.  And in a Queensland summer, cool is definitely what is needed. 

Feeling I could be on to a real winner, I sharpened my focus and continued reading – and then I saw them, words unexpected and game-changing: “the amazing properties of moisture-wicking horsehair…”

Perhaps they were kidding or maybe just horsing around.  Horsehair?  Since when did something so old-fashioned become trendy again? 

In my post-war childhood, when dinner was called tea and morning tea was called smoko, our home was sparsely furnished with a hotchpotch of hand-me-downs. Even the mattresses on our beds were pre-owned, though it’s not a thought one likes to dwell on now, even if it did us no harm.

The mattress on my bed was a thin, lumpy affair, covered in striped cotton ticking and studded with leather buttons to keep the copra filling in place. 

The mattress on the day-bed in the sleep-out was filled with kapok, a cotton fibre.  It was musty and dank and no wonder.  Cotton not only absorbs sweat and moisture from the air, but it’s also a haven for dust mites. 

My eldest brother slept in enviable luxury on a rubber mattress that was a hand-me-down from an aunt.  It was corrugated underneath so was exempt from Mum’s monthly “turn the mattress over” routine. 

These old rubber mattresses were made from the sap of the rubber tree (not petroleum) and were comfortable and durable.

By the time I came along, Mum and Dad had a relatively new innerspring mattress. Unfortunately, its functional life was cut decades short in 1960 when we moved from the station property outside Hughenden to the dairy farm on the Sunshine Coast. 

The mattress had been folded in three and tied with rope for ease of transportation. 

The innersprings may have survived this maltreatment, had it not been for the fate that awaited.  The departing farmer’s wife, a large woman, decided that the rolled-up mattress would make a comfortable resting place while she had smoko.  The innersprings never recovered. So, while there was an eclectic mix of mattresses in my childhood home, there was not a strand of horsehair in sight – but you didn’t have to venture too far to find it. 

Beyond the station’s main house stood a corrugated iron building for the stockmen or “ringers”.   Furniture was sparse – an old table, some chairs and a few shearer’s stretchers, each topped with a skinny horsehair mattress, no more than three inches deep.

 These mattresses were nothing more than canvas bags filled with horsehair of questionable origin. (Let’s just say I couldn’t see that any manes or tails had been clipped). 

  I am a carnivore. I have leather shoes and handbags.  I had a black and white cowhide rug in the 1970s and sheepskin seat covers in the 1980s, but I draw the line at a horsehair mattress, even if it’s called “The Grand Bliss” and is  prohibitively expensive.  It’s enough to keep one awake at night.