DREAMS

Recurring Dreams

#1 The Terrible Thing

The first one I ever had was mercifully short in duration but stayed with me for some years, between the ages of 6 and 10 …

In this dream, I was sitting on my bed at Dalberg Road in Brixton, and looking across at my brother’s bed and the open window (first floor) that looked out over the garden. The room was filled with bright moonlight, and the curtains were drawn about half-way closed, and were moving in the wind. I had a terrible certainty that something truly horrible was crouched behind the right-side curtain, and sat frozen, waiting for it to jump out. And it did, but that was always the moment that I awoke, and despite the number of times I had the dream, I never saw the terrible thing …

#2 Trapped at School

Truly horrible, this dream. I don’t have them any more, but there was a whole spell in my thirties when it kept coming. In the dream, I know that I’m in my thirties but I’m at Bexhill Grammar School, and nothing has changed. I move from class to class, looking for a way out and not really knowing what the time is, and all the kids I knew are still there (their younger selves). And I know it’s a dream, and I know that when I wake up I’ll have to go to school for real, and so it goes on in a circle of trapped feelings and a sense of ridiculousness at being a grown-up in the classroom. Also there’s a horribly realistic hangover of having actually been at school all that time (from 18 to 38) and the feeling of waste and inescapability is awful …

#3 Miami is Brighton is Hang-Gliding …

Atop a high cliff (like the Seven Sisters) covered in rich green sward (good word) is a row of sunken houses, built of concrete and each painted a bright pastel colour, like the rows of beachfront houses in Miami. I have a folded hang-glider strapped to my back, and I’m clambering from sunken garden to sunken garden, using lawn chairs, raised flower-beds, planks of wood, and jumping, hauling, scrabbling towards the end house, where I can reach the grass. And I make it, panting and gasping, unfold the glider and run towards the cliff edge, flapping (for some reason) like mad … and the breeze catches the glider, and with a mighty heave we’re up and away … at which point, sadly, I usually wake up.
If this one comes again, I’m going to look in the house for a better idea of what it’s all about, but the feeling when the wind catches the fabric and my feet leave the grass is heavenly …

#4 The Tall, Dark House

At the end of a wide cul-de-sac in the middle of the night stands a tall, dark house, very Gothic in its construction with iron railings on top of every roof and closed curtains at every window. The house and all its woodwork are painted various shades of dark, Batman grey. There’s a queue of people, all dressed in dark clothing, and the queue leads to the right of the house, where an iron staircase snakes up the side of the house to the first floor and a dark door stands open. I’m in the queue, near the back, and I know we’re going in, but I haven’t yet reached the house to find out what’s inside …

#5 The Perfect Corner Cottage

A dream with a repeating geographical location, constructed from parts of real places. On a hill, on a quiet street, in a row of two-storey cottages, with big low windows and with the hill behind leading to the sea (a blue, ideal holiday, little boy’s idea of the sea). We’ve just moved, we’re very happy, and we need to get some provisions, so I set off in search of something that in the dream will look like Arkwright’s stores in ‘Open All Hours’ … but I get lost, and I can’t find the shop, and I can’t find my way back, and when I wake it takes a while to shake the sad feeling I’m left with. It doesn’t take a psychoanalyst to work this one out …

#6 The Walled Garden / The Backs of the Houses

Now here’s a thing. I had an updated version of this recently. Prior to that the dream consisted of escaping through a back window and across a jumble of small roofs and walls, down to a long, tall red brick wall with nothing but a green lawn behind it. It’s the wall from ‘The Silver Chair’, the wall behind the ECF office, the wall at the end of the garden in London behind which was the ‘spastics factory’ (when I was little I thought they made disabled people in there) – all walls rolled into one. Sometimes then I walk along the wall until I reach the road, leading uphill to a green area with big houses, sometimes I jump down and run around on the grass. In the most recent version though, there was a sense of having little time, and this time I ran from the hill down to the corner, then on the wall with the grass on the left this time, and across the roofs again, looking for the window that would let me back in. This dream location is almost solid in my waking mind, and I could draw it if I had the skills …