Sunday, 30 September 2012

More bad dreams

What did I eat last night? If I recall, it was one single sausage and a blob of herby mashed potato. It certainly gave me some weird dreams - three, to be exact. I usually only remember one, so it was quite remarkable that I can remember all three. Another remarkable thing was that, looking back now, I can see that each dream related to something that had happened that day.

The first - arachnophobes, leave the page now! - involved a lecturer and a spider. I was sitting in the front row when my eye was drawn to something on the wall. I had taken it for a light of some sort, but when it began to heave and unfold long, striped legs, I realised it was a huge spider, the size of a plump cushion and that the lecturer, who had raised his arms to make a point, was lowering one onto the spider! I tried to should a warning but it was too late. His arm made contact with it and it bit him and the next minute he was lying dead on the floor. When the medics arrived, they told me the name of the species and that one bite was fatal to humans. (I can't remember the name now, worse luck.) Yesterday morning, I had been photographing stripy garden spiders (none of the photos came out properly as I still haven't mastered the art of macro photography), so it's fairly obvious that this is what sparked off a spider dream - though why the lecturer and why the fatal bite? Perhaps my imagination just embroidered it because it needed to create a proper story.

The second was rather more bizarre as I came walking into a room with a dead, stuffed fox in my arms, its pelt beautiful and glossy. The next minute, 'our' vixen came trotting through the door. She saw the dead fox and stood on her hind legs to sniff it. I laid the dead one on a shelf and the vixen climbed up to the shelf below it, lay on her back with her legs in the air just like Flad does, and I started feeding her small cubes of chicken. End of dream. Thinking of it today, I remember that I fed Charlie, the ginger stray who is exactly the same colour as a fox, cubes of leftover chicken last night and later, I ventured out into the gloom to throw the rest of the scraps out for the wildlife and something ginger, which could have been Charlie or a small fox, went streaking along the side of the hedge behind the pond at a rate of knots. But why the dead fox? I have no idea where that came from.

The derivation of Dream 3 is patently obvious. Our friend with the five boys tends to get involved in conversations and leave her horrors to their own devices, which are invariably destructive, if not downright dangerous. For the last two weeks, her partner's shop, our local butcher's, has been closed for a transformation into a farm shop and Mr Grumpy has been down there all day every day, sawing, making rustic shelving and laying laminate flooring. You can imagine what that did to his ankylosing spondylitis, osteo arthritis and the rest. I gave him all my tubes of pain-relieving gels and creams - Biofreeze, Arnica, Ibruleve - but, as usual, he preferred not to use them and to be a typical man and sit and moan and grumble instead.

Yesterday, he came in quite shocked at the fact that the toddlers had been picking up sharp knives in the shop and their parents had been too busy to notice and he had had to step in and stop a massacre happening. So when I dreamt that the two-year-old had stabbed himself in the privates with a splintery piece of sharp wood and I had to take him to hospital, where he was found to have jammed other objects up his nose and down his ears... well, it's obvious what sparked that dream off, isn't it?

Friday, 28 September 2012

Anxiety dreams

The earliest dream I can remember having is one in which I was drowning in noisy, crashing waves. I can't have been more than four. Looking back, I wonder if it was a memory of what it felt like to be born! Since then, I have had five distinct types of dreams. Horror, of the mad axeman or baddie with gun type, probably born of watching too much TV and movie violence; erotic (not enough of those! And the first happened when I was eleven and I dreamt I was a female cat who had sex with a tomcat, became pregnant and gave birth to a litter of kittens; was I a cat in my previous life?); nonsensical - those fragments which don't make up a whole story or even an episode; significant - dreams which are more vivid than normal and turn out to be either clairvoyant, or someone who's passed on trying to tell me something; and finally, the anxiety dream.

The most widespread anxiety dream, apparently, is the one where you're in a public place minus your clothes. I can top that: I have dreamt I was naked, perched on a loo in the middle of Piccadilly Circus! I've dreamt I was on stage at the Albert Hall, the orchestra was striking up, I was seated at a grand piano, hands raised, and realised with a nasty jolt that I had no idea what I was supposed to be playing. Then I've had the dream where you're lost in a strange town that is almost familiar, but not quite. Nothing is where you expect it to be, the streets bend in different ways, and you have no money, and the language the other people are speaking isn't quite your own.

Last night, though, I had a new one. I was back at school and it was May and I'd cut a class, thinking, 'I'll be leaving soon, it doesn't matter'. The other kids were wading through heaps of papers which they were taking from shelves in the corner. I asked one kid what the papers were and he told me they were revision sheets for the A-levels. I took some off the shelves and realised I hadn't even been to some of the classes, especially French and I hadn't read any of the set books. Then one of the kids told me I'd be sitting my A-levels too, and I got into a complete panic.

"I can't do A-levels, I've got a book contract, I've got a deadline," I said, but a teacher said I still had to do them.

"But I've already got four A-levels, an S-level and a degree!" I protested (true, in case you're wondering).

Yet they still insisted I sat an extra set of A-levels for which I was totally unprepared and sat staring uncomprehendingly at the questions, unable to answer any of them. Do you think this means I feel out of my depth, struggling neverendingly with this damn novel, the editor returning time after time asking for 'more introspection' or 'more sex'? Think it's time for me to have one of those erotic dreams again!.

Monday, 24 September 2012

Fingers and flat

I went to see the doctor today and she agreed that my fingers are in a very bad way ("They shouldn't be this bad in a woman of your age," she said) and she promptly went onto her computer and found me an appointment with a finger specialist at my local hospital. I expected to have to wait for at least four months, if not longer, but the appointment is for 9th October. Oh God! I shall still be writing the book then. But I couldn't turn the opportunity down, though heaven only knows what, if anything, they can do. If they suggest surgery, that will certainly put paid to my writing for a while. For several months, I would imagine.

After my hassles with the mortgage company, I rang the estate agent today and guess what? The couple who are selling the flat have found their dream house in Windsor, had their offer accepted, and now the wife has lost her job and they can't get their mortgage until she's found an other one. It could take ages for her to find another, with the job market being like it is, but I am so desperate to find somewhere nice and warm so I don't have to freeze here all winter. Part of me wants to tell them I'll wait, and the selfish part of me is telling me to ditch it and find an empty, chain-free property that I can get into within a few weeks.

I really don't know what to do. Every time I have tried to buy a flat or house in the last two years, something has prevented me. It seems Fate is trying to keep me here. But why? So I can keep taking care of Mr G, Charlie, the foxes, being a surrogate mum to Step? But why should all this mean I have to suffer Mr G's irrational outbursts, the cold, the fleas and the constant interruptions to my work? Where is the balance, the middle ground? When will the day come when I can be me again?

Sorry, it's another self-pitying post which I promised I wouldn't do. Oh dear...

I've written 27,000 words of the book. Once I get to 30,000, I shall feel able to take a day off. Or half a day, at least. Hope I get a contract at the end of all this work, I really do!

Saturday, 22 September 2012

Just a quickie

I don't think I should post another blog entry until I have something cheerful and positive to say. You must all be getting very fed up with me.

When not writing, I have been catching up with all the TV I have recorded and leching after the 1940s coats and skirts in The Bletchley Circle and loving the interplay of characters in Downton. But... I missed Dr Who tonight and Professor Brian Cox (drool) was in it!!!

Can't remember when I last had a walk of longer than ten minutes. When and if I finish this book, not having had a holiday for so long, I think I'll go off to a spa. Wonder if I can find one somewhere where the weather is still warm and I don't need socks and a hot water bottle?

Friday, 21 September 2012

The weight of the world...

Sorry I haven't written much lately. My poor friend died at the weekend, the one who had been in hospital since the start of July. He was only 55 and it's a real tragedy, especially for his family, but he was well loved by so many friends and colleagues, too. The funeral is on October 2nd.

I am also battling against two impossible deadlines and keep bursting into tears. My book has to be completed by October 12th in time for the Frankfurt Book Fair but the publisher (a very big one) is refusing to give me a contract until they've seen the reaction at the Fair. I'm not even halfway through and am working day and night and it is meant to be light-hearted, sexy and amusing and I'm just NOT IN THE BLOODY MOOD!!!

Especially as I have come up against an impasse in the form of a certain well-known building society. It took me ages but I finally managed to find someone to give me a mortgage at my grand old age. I needed it to buy a flat I'd seen which was in the right block, the right place, on the right floor (the top one), with a view and a south-facing balcony. So... I got the offer but then they sent an email asking for proof that I'd got the money. Last time I was going to buy somewhere, it took me two days to get the passwords on six different online accounts to work. I had to ring up, ask for help, and eventually I managed to print out my statements.

I still had them, so I scanned them all, having to wait till Mr Grumpy was out, as I don't at this stage want him to know about it, and emailed them off. Well, I've just had a call to say they can't accept them because my name is not on the same page as the amount. Sorry, that's the way the websites work! My name is on the Welcome page, then you key in your password and eventually you get your statement on a different page, but not your name. They declined another because the printer had missed http:// off. I ask you! And they want everything by next Friday or I have lost the mortgage offer.

There is no way in which I can both write the book and spend hours fiddling with internet accounts and having to wait till Mr G goes out so I can scan them. The reason I don't want him to know is the scorn he pours on my head every time a purchase falls though. He scoffs, he sneers, he reduces me to tears. So this time I want to be able to present it as a fait accompli.

Now it looks as though I shall have to give up the perfect flat in order to finish the book... which I may not even get a contract for at the end of the day. But when it comes down to it, my writing career has to come before finding a home. But oh, the thought of a seventh freezing cold winter here is unbearable. Last year I told him that if I spent another winter here, it would kill me! How do I get into these situations? I think I must have done a lot of very bad things in my previous existence.

Tuesday, 11 September 2012

Abandoned streets

On Sunday, a friend and I set out to visit the WW11 RAF Command Centre bunker at what was RAF Uxbridge before they moved out a few months ago. Some of the buildings are still in use, though, and we were greeted by a spotty cadet who informed us that there was a TWO HOUR wait to see the bunker because the open day was so popular. It was part of the British heritage open days that are happening all over the country.

We didn't want to sit in the car and roast for two hours (it was the last sunny day of summer) so we parked and disembarked and my friend, hobbling with a stick following her hip replacement six weeks ago, decided we should try and find the public footpath that bisects the camp and comes out in central Uxbridge. We soon found it, but it wasn't a proper footpath any more, just a section of roadway that was cordoned off with chainlink fencing. However, it took us through some interesting sights.

The first two were a glorious meadow with a river at the far side (the Pym, we think) and a stile right in the middle. There must have been a fence or hedge there at some time. On the other side of the road was this wonderful wild field with an empty bungalow at the far side where I would love to have lived.

About ten minutes further on, we came upon this eerie street full of abandoned houses. Apparently, most of the grounds have been sold to developers and these gorgeous houses are going to be demolished (shame!), but for now, they are being used by a film company so keep your eyes peeled. It looked quite creepy, with broken windows and lots of ivy, so perhaps it's a horror film.

Later, we spotted this fabulous house which would have made a great restaurant, or even a theatre (they are going to build one somewhere on the grounds), but I guess this is scheduled to be razed to the ground, too. I think that's where I'd really like to live!

PS I'm probably not supposed to have taken these photos. I only achieved them by poking the camera lens through the chainlink fence. So if you don't hear from me again, it will be because I've been arrested by the MOD!