That’s such an odd thing to say – well it sounds very mad indeed. But it happened last night and not at all exciting I hasten to add.
Every night I sleep fitfully now with intense and colourful dreams. Ever since the covid in March my sleep patterns have completely changed. I can sleep for hours and do, often going to bed before nine and not waking until eight am. Precovid I was a bed at ten and up at six person. Like clockwork. Annoyingly so come weekends, holidays – I would be up and awake. Now my body needs much more sleep, including a nap mid day. My Garmin says I have slept, but that I am hyper stressed and exhausted, which is how I feel when I wake up.
Now at night I sleep like a nervous pilot at the helm, waking every hour from complex dreams which follow on from each other and are themed. So following Tao Geoghan Hart’s incredibly exciting victory at the Giro my dreams were about that, reworking it over and over, with Rohan Dennis keeping on pacing him and coming back after attack after attack.
But back to last night. I dreamt I was in Marsden and was going to look at a new house Simon Armitage had bought for his daughter. It was a very tall house – more than four floors and like a Hebden House. It needed a lot of work doing on it – most of the woodwork was a 1950’s green. Going down and outside the back door, the land fell away steeply, and then had a factory built on it. We discussed demolishing this, and I asked whether he had had an asbestos survey prior to the purchase. Poor Simon, he hadn’t and I could see it was going to be expensive. Then I woke up.
The next part of the dream involved a new survey technique being tested to identify pollutants on his land in Marsden. Simon didn’t feature in this part of the dream but there were a lot of people keen to test the new trial technique and I was very keen for the testers to exchange their results with another group in Sweden. I’m not an academic so I have no clue where this came from.
And then thirdly after another wake up, we were trying to get a load of kids over the hill on the bus to Marsden for a lesson with Simon. It was pouring with rain and really vile. They then had to walk across the valley to where Simon lived – but it was a really long way, and we weren’t sure where that actually was. More waking up.
The final part of the dream was writing poems about Halloween- which of course I can’t remember now sadly. I don’t think Simon has written about Halloween- bonfire night yes. But this poem he wrote about Lockdown and Eyam seems appropriate for the moment. My mother lives near Eyam and I can’t visit her at the moment but am remembering a lovely Halloween spent with them in years with past.
So I have no clue what the dreams mean other than my brain is doing strange long covid things at the moment, as well as my heart. More on that later. And Simon, please do your due diligence before buying property.
Lockdown by Simon Armitage
And I couldn’t escape the waking dream of infected fleas
in the warp and weft of soggy cloth by the tailor’s hearth
in ye olde Eyam. Then couldn’t un-see
the Boundary Stone, that cock-eyed dice with its six dark holes,
thimbles brimming with vinegar wine purging the plagued coins.
Which brought to mind the sorry story of Emmott Syddall and Rowland Torre,
star-crossed lovers on either side of the quarantine line
whose wordless courtship spanned the river till she came no longer.
But slept again, and dreamt this time
of the exiled yaksha sending word to his lost wife on a passing cloud,
a cloud that followed an earthly map of camel trails and cattle tracks,
streams like necklaces, fan-tailed peacocks, painted elephants,
embroidered bedspreads of meadows and hedges,
bamboo forests and snow-hatted peaks, waterfalls, creeks,
the hieroglyphs of wide-winged cranes and the glistening lotus flower after rain,
the air hypnotically see-through, rare,
the journey a ponderous one at times, long and slow but necessarily so.