I had this dream.

Kay and I were in a pub, having a meal. As we sat, Simon appeared and began reciting a poem to me, so close that his lips were brushing my face. Now Simon, in the Waking World, was a classmate at grammar school who had worked for years at becoming a professional writer and poet. To my knowledge he had never had what I would call regular employment.

Back in the dream, as his lips brushed my lips and cheek, I signed to Kay (Kay being deaf), “Oh it’s ok, he’s an old friend who someone’s paid to surprise me”.

Meanwhile Jane, who was at table with Kay and I, sat watching and giggling, for it was she who had commissioned Simon to perform for me.

In the Waking World, Jane was my first “real girlfriend”, that is to say the first person I had sex with, and in later years became both a friend to my daughter’s mother and our daughter’s babysitter. More recently, at my daughter’s 21st birthday party, she told me that Simon had died suddenly in Bath in 2003.

After Simon’s performance, it became clear that the pub, which was recognisably the Waking World Dog and Duck, a country pub with pretensions to “gastropub” status 3 miles from here, was owned and run by Bob Hope (not the dead, American, right wing comedian – but the Bob Hope from Emmerdale) and his wife. On the menu, patrons were recommended to walk around the surrounding Kentuckian countryside, where they might see locals working away at their hedge-laying and welding.

Then I woke up.

I think working as a “Christmas temp” on the checkout at Tesco’s is doing things to my head, waking or sleeping.

For instance, a couple of days ago I found myself unwisely drawn into a discussion with a customer on the cultural merits and demerits of Katie Price, the author, chanteuse and glamour model, which brought to mind a haiku I composed following a brief encounter with that young lady on the edge of the South Downs, one morning several years ago.

By a couple of bouncers
Obsessed? Me?
No way.

This fairly trite verse has been stuck in my head for two days now.

Nurse – the screens.


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