BLOG 2 – JUNE 6 2011, PETER COX.
Continuing from Blog 1, I hope these accounts of my dreams and attempts to analyse them throw some light on the mysterious processes of dreaming and that in the words of one Henry Root, I have made “a valid contribution to the great debate. I look forward to joining in further activities at the Academy of Dreams.
A THEME OF TRESPASS.
In three dreams- trying to revisit my first home after over 30 years, revisiting my old school and walking into a strange house, I was an outsider, and showed concern with ideas of trespass on unfamiliar and previously familiar property.
In 2005, I dreamed of knocking on the door of my first home in Northfield, Birmingham at the end of a weekend cycling round Birmingham. I awoke before the baffled owner of the house had made up his mind whether to admit me for a short visit or tell me to go away.
In 2004 not long after having revisited Birmingham and noticed my old school had put up a tall hedge blocking the view of the playing fields and school buildings behind them, I dreamed of being expelled from the school grounds by prefects who stood by the back gates and called to me through megaphones. They patronisingly told me I must have a letter from the headmaster permitting me to enter school property..
On the afternoon of Saturday 14/10/2006 I fell asleep in my kitchen for an hour and in a dream, went into a strange suburban house just because the front door was open.
My visit would have gone unnoticed had I not shut the front door behind me when leaving. I faced cross-examination in the house by the owner’s elder brother who accepted my apology and assurance that I had not stolen anything then asked his younger brother to show me out of the back gate, whereupon the sun came out after a dull day with continuous light rain. Then I woke up.
NORTHFIELD BIRMINGHAM WHERE I LIVED 1949-1971.
This district borders on Bournville among other districts and I last saw it in 1973 when 24 years old. In that year I moved to Surrey and nobody I know lives there now.
I am not sure why I dream so very often of Northfield and what all these dreams are telling me. Here are a few more, one comic, one frightening, one semi-lucid, one very accurate in detail and one somewhat non-descript but puzzling. All of them were in 2000 or afterwards, and one of them was only a month ago.
1. A SECRET LAUNDRETTE. ( March 2010. )
I rang the bell of a private house number 25 in a road near my first home because a lady had lived there who owed me money. ( in reality the lady lives in London. She owes me £25, and here the 25 became the house number.) The door was opened by a very red-faced Irish lady aged about 45 who told me she had no knowledge of previous owners. I saw that she ran a secret laundrette in a room that had curtains always drawn to prevent people from seeing the washing machines and tumble dryers from the outside. All machines had been very cleverly fitted with noise reduction devices. I asked for a leaflet with prices of services and opening times. The Irish lady said “We don’t usually give these out” and I felt I had received a top secret Government defence document and could end up being cross-examined by the Special Branch. Opening times, as I guessed, were very restricted and you had to phone first before visiting.
2. HANGING LANE. ( FEB 1 2000.)
In reality it is an ordinary suburban road not named after any gallows. I thought, when I lived in Northfield, that it was named after cottages no longer there which had been decorated by hanging baskets of flowers!
In this dream, I re-visted Northfield to confront my fear of death and walk from what was once my local church to Hanging Lane. Like Alice in Wonderland, I began in Northfield then entered an awful world nothing like Birmingham then thankfully came back to Northfield and “civilization”.
The Hanging Lane of my dream was a steep hill through a forest with a Gothic church at the top that was disused and padlocked. Further on was a very eerie road unsuitably called Toytown with cottages that somehow I knew ( nobody was about ) had been uninhabited for over 150 years.
Although the church was disused, I nevertheless heard the sound from within it of a choir singing in Latin. I also could not reach a road which was located behind the church.
A localised fog descended right in front of me along a path within the church grounds as I tried to reach this road lying behind the church, and I found this frightening and peculiar.
A voice told me “Beyond here there is nothing.” Then I went up the peculiar street called Toytown which ended abruptly. Again this peculiar fog descended in front of me, and again the voice told me that “Beyond here, there is nothing”.
I went down the hill being Hanging Lane and at the bottom, noticed an entrance to a park.
I went in and stood near to the entry gate. It was now sunny whereas around the church it had been overcast, but still the atmosphere seemed mournful. A man walking his dog spoke to me. He told me of the gallows where up to 1845, hangings had very regularly taken place. “The gallows was exactly where you are standing, Sir, and this area is haunted. Very mournful, I would say, Sir. Very mournful.”
3. IS MY GRANDMOTHER 120? (2004)
I think my grandmother lived in Northfield for 70 years as a married woman until her husband my maternal grandfather died aged 63 in 1935 and then then as a widow. She died in Surrey in 1973 aged 94.
In this dream I had visited her house in Pamela Road and was talking to her. I became aware with a shock that she was no less than 120 years old, but began to feel that something had gone seriously wrong with my brain. How could she possibly be so old?
The dream was partly lucid in that I had begun to disbelieve in it.
4. MY GRANDMOTHER IS 100 (2005).
I dreamt I was in Birmingham City Centre having telephoned my 100 year old grandmother and assured her that I would not arrive at her house later than 10 pm. I then caught a bus number 41 and paid the fare to its terminus in Turves Green close to Longbridge, planning to walk the one mile back to her house ( all such detail accurate relative to reality ) but never arrived at either Turves Green or my grandmother’s house. I had never when young thought of taking such a route when visiting her, finding Turves Green for some reason rather depressing.
Perhaps for that very reason Turves Green featured in this dream.
5. BARRON ROAD, NORTHFIELD. ( APRIL 2011.)
I remember this road as a short cul de sac with late Victorian terrace houses on only one side It was off Norman Road and I passed by it when going along Norman Road in order to visit my grandmother. It led towards a nearby council estate. Unsurprisingly, I had never dreamed of this road before but now it appeared most vividly in this recent dream- a road I had not seen for over 40 years. I knew the road is called Barron Road, but in the dream it was called Norman Close.
In the dream, I was most concerned that the road should be opened up and made to lead to Overbury Road on the nearby Council estate, forging a link between two different worlds as well as providing a short cut for people wanting to get from Norman Road to the estate.
Some days after the dream, I looked at a road map of Northfield if not a recent one, and saw that Barron Road and an estate road Overbury Close were both dead ends which very narrowly failed to connect. My dream suggested I found Closes and all dead end roads pointless and frustrating, and had used this example to make my point.
A THEME OF MY PROPERTY.
Losing or fearing that I have lost belongings of mine has been a recurring theme in my dreams as it has been in reality.
A. MY BICYCLE WASN’T LOST-2009.
I dreamed of a day in the country near to Guildford. All other walkers in my group soon left me, I met a psychologist who found me most interesting until he ran away from me as if I had had leprosy, and the father of an 8 year old boy threatened to call Police on his mobile phone to arrest me for harassing his son.
Then I became convinced that I had absent-mindedly left my cycle by a stile, and from 2.30 pm to 5.30 pm. was trying to resign myself to the loss of the cycle and need to buy another. Then at 5.30 I realized I had left my cycle in a garage before the start of what was an organized walk. Retrieving it, which I did, was the only thing that mattered.
Guildford was hardly my favourite place in 2009. In March 2008- I was unfairly dismissed from a job there after 6 days by an agency which rang me on Bank Holiday Monday at 7 pm. to give me the bad news ( offensively as well ) then in May 2008 I had to attend a medical interview to assess if I remained worthy of sickness benefit, an appointment for which had been made by agency people who rang me at 10.30 a.m. on a Sunday morning thereby aggravating the anxiety for which I was being treated.
And the psychologist in the dream was modelled on an American psychologist I met on a train with his family. He gave me an e mail address when I knew he did research into Asperger Syndrome and I then said that I myself had Asperger Syndrome, but when I originally asked for his address to stay in touch with him, he had thought me decidedly odd.
B. THE ABANDONED SUITCASE- NOV 1 1993.
The dream reflected anxiety I had felt when trying to get all my luggage off a train at my local station a few hours beforehand, anxiety that I would leave property on the train or the platform or simply fail to alight in time.
It also reflected anxiety concerning an incident in July when I was running round the Inner Circle road at Regents Park. When with a group, it had been fine to leave my bag with other bags behind a certain fence but it was foolish of me to leave my bag unattended when I was later on running by myself. Luckily, I found my bag at the nearby police station.
I dreamed that I was getting off a train at my local station and having placed a suitcase on the platform, went back on to the train to retrieve my coat but illogically closed the door behind me. The train moved on. The platform was deserted and with absurd illogicality I waved frantically from the train, pointing to the suitcase.Later in this dream I was given a lift by police in Birmingham who somehow knew my suitcase 140 miles away had been taken into Lost Property.
C. RETRIEVING MY LUGGAGE FROM A COACH- 2010.
The dream referred to an incident in Czechoslovakia prior to boarding the return coach to Ostend. It was Monday 23/9/1991 around midday and I had stayed a week in Czechoslovakia. We were all told to put our luggage in a place within the coach station so that it could be loaded
on to a truck that was going to accompany the coach. I put my suitcase down in the right place and went for lunch at a nearby restaurant, a verygood and cheap lunch, but came back to find my suitcase had gone.
I was assured it must have been loaded on to the truck but so many suitcases were on the truck and quite a lot like mine and of the same dark blue colour that it was impossible for anyone to pick out mine.
I had an anxious journey back to Ostend, but luckily my suitcase had not been stolen and was found at Ostend.
In the dream the coach had arrived at a terminus in London that was not Victoria but a merger of different places I know in London, tantalizingly recognizable but unrecognizable. I asked the driver to pass me my two suitcases but he refused to do so, telling me that he would feed their contents of clothes and toiletries through a cylindrical conveyer belt called The Tube and I must remove my belongings at the other end.
I complained later that only about half of my belongings had come through but he said he had no more time to spend on me as he hadanother coach to drive. It was a brilliant Friday evening in July and I went into a nearby park where to my surprise and relief, I saw “car boot” people selling my clothes. Although they must clearly have already sold some of my clothes to other people, I was able to buy all my clothes back that were on display, and then woke up.
DREAM EPISODES CAUSED BY READING.
1. THE BOTTOMLESS WELL OF SORROW- DREAM JAN 23 1995..
In the fourth episode of this dream I was unhappy to be looking at a lot of graves of children in a churchyard and a Voice told me that “The well of happiness is shallow, but the well of sorrow is bottomless.”
It was not, as I had thought upon waking, a quotation from something I had been reading.
2. THE BUS CONDUCTOR ( E.F.BENSON (1867-1940)- DREAM NOV 1 1993.
E.F. Benson’s story is about a pre-cognitive experience. The narrator at 11.30 pm. can see a carriage from his bedroom window so clearly that it
seems to be surrounded by daylight. In an episode of my dream at dawn, I saw a carriage though minus horses very clearly from quite a distance.
But when I came up to it, I found it was or had changed into a police panda car.
3. VIEW FROM A HILL, GHOST STORY BY M.R. JAMES- DREAM 2006?.
In the story, a person looks through binoculars and sees a gallows which is not actually there. In my dream I was walking for 5 hours on a Tuesday then came to the beginning of a motorway on my left. On looking down it, I saw in the distance a number of road signs and buildings of a nearby airport and much to my surprise, I was able to see that one of the signs had something fixed on to it which was moving.
Whether I went down the motorway to get a close look or used binoculars the dream did not specify, but I saw the different signs at close range.
Horrible to relate, I also saw a gallows with a body still swinging from it.
I then tried to find a police station in order to report on this matter, but woke up before I had found one.
4. PSALM 23. ( DREAM OF 8/9/09).
I dreamed that I did not walk but cycled through the valley of the Shadow of Death, and contrary to the words of the Psalm, feared evil the whole time I was in it, so felt very glad that I had my bicycle..
5. THE MASQUE OF THE RED DEATH BY EDGAR ALLEN POE- DREAM 1999.
Five spectral figures in a procession through my local town were each like the harbinger of death in The Masque of the Red Death. All five were dressed as monks with hoods hiding their faces. All five were clearly not local people in fancy dress.
They were all dreadfully thin, and plainly skeletons under their clothing. Somehow I knew, for nobody told me, that they were the ghosts of monks who all died around 1480.
They advanced towards me merely because the procession was heading in my direction..I was looking out of an upstairs window, and felt very relieved when they turned left and went away down the High Street.
I stated earlier that I had never dreamed of a near accident and then an accident when cycling but have this week remembered what I have been taught. Messages in dreams can be conveyed symbolically.
On March 3 1990, I was riding a very old cycle in my home town against repeated advice that it was beyond repair, and as I went down to a main road, my brakes failed. I quickly swerved left into a hedge, emerging unhurt. The same day I bought a second hand bicycle.
I was riding that very same second hand bicycle on Sunday August 20 1995, a warm sunny day, and yet again against advice. I had been reminded the day before that the tyres had hardly any tread left and that I should not even ride the cycle home if home was over than 4 miles away. Preferably, I was told, I should not ride it any more at all while it was in this dangerous condition.
Foolishly I had cycled 15 miles on the Saturday and now I had cycled a further 25 miles. Past Beaconsfield Bucks I came down a hill to Wooburn Green and at the bottom, the tyre on my front wheel exploded causing me to fall from the cycle.
Instinctively I put forward my hands and knees and swerved quickly to the left into a grass verge. I had a very badly injured upper lip, though lost only a fragment of one tooth, and fingers, hands, arms and knees were covered in cuts and grazes.
It was a little after 2 pm when I was taken to Wycombe Hospital. Then I was transferred to Stoke Mandeville Hospital. Only minor injuries. Praise the Lord. I prayed that films on the hospital television would be TOTALLY non-violent and one was about a disco competition while the other was a documentary about American forests with David Bellamy, so my wish was granted.
My lip operation tok place at 11.30 pm. Fourteen stitches were put into my upper lip.
I felt so very happy to be alive and listening to music to help me relax as a skilled plastic surgeon was restoring my looks.
Undoubtedly the 1999 dream of spectral figures was a symbolic enactment of my two narrow escapes from death. Just as I in reality swerved left in order to avoid being killed in the 1990 incident, and swerved left as well as putting forward hands, arms and knees in the 1995 incident, so the spectral figures who were coming for me fortunately turned left and went away.
In the dream of Sep 8 2009, there seems to have been a speculation on what kind after-life experience I might have had had I been killed in either of the cycle mishaps.
After cycling through the Valley of the Shadow of Death following my witnessing undertakers removing the body of an old lady, three days had gone by then at last I was in a brighter world on the council estate. But coming to think of it, I found no shops, no post office and nothing to do so it was not a wonderful place but it was ordinary and close to everyday life.
This dream of Sep 8 2009 began by showing me Lonsdale Road, Barmes a road running parallel to the Thames. The only reason for this road appearing in the dream is that on Sunday July 16 2006, having failed to visit a cycle shop the day before to have tyres checked, and having omitted to carry a puncture mending kit, I had a puncture in this road after only 7 miles of cycling when trying to cycle 40 miles for charity and had to abandon the ride altogether.
There was, I am sure, a message that while my cycle maintenance had improved and I had looked after my present bicycle bought on August 26 1995 quite well, I still should have avoided that puncture or at least carried a repair kit and then I might have cycled the full 40 miles.