In which The Author’s subconscious plays mind games again
I should have made some notes about this one as soon as I woke up, but I didn’t. It’s going to be a bit patchy as a result. Sorry!
I was on a double-decker bus in the valleys somewhere. (My dream told me I was in Bargoed. If I was, it’s certainly not the Bargoed I last visited about ten years ago.) Anyway, from the upper deck, I was able to see all sorts of interesting architectural features at first-floor level. I wondered if there was any way to climb up to the roof of a building and take some photos. Almost as soon as I thought about it, I was on a parapet of a high building overlooking the town. There were little busts of notable individuals all along the edge, so I took a load of photos. To get back into the building, I climbed through a trapdoor on the roof and down a wooden staircase to a broad foyer with people milling about.
It turned out that I was backstage in a theatre, behind the performers, looking through a two-way mirror at the audience. For some reason, my friends Vicci and Liz (the Twins) were on stage, acting in the play. It was a revival of some old Noel Coward-style piece – all mannered deliveries in terribly proper RP accents – and I couldn’t listen to it for long. I decided to go down to the next level of the building. There was the usual assortment of market stalls here, (see Where I Go in My Dreams pt 2
) so I wandered about for a few minutes, browsing at the books and clothes.
When I emerged at street level, I was very close to a huge railway station which couldn’t possibly exist in real life. There were a couple of platforms, lines heading in all directions, and trains to-ing and fro-ing constantly. The key feature which told me that I was dreaming was an impossibly steep slope, down which no conventional train could ever travel. (I doubt if even a funicular railway could work at that gradient!) One long freight train was running through the station at the time and up a gentle incline out of view. Somehow, without even asking the station staff, I knew that it was heading for Penallta Colliery (which closed over twenty years ago).
Mother was there for some reason, so I told her a bit about the history of the town which I’d discovered while poking around earlier on. We picked up some leaflets at the information booth, which explained more about the station’s unusual construction. Apparently it was served by local passenger services, long-distance express trains, the coal train I’d seen earlier, and even a little branch line which conveyed post and parcels from the little airstrip at Gilfach Goch. (I told you it was a weird dream, didn’t I?)
There didn’t seem to be any security precautions at the station. If anything, the staff were encouraging me to explore, so I was able to wander around unchallenged. At one point I found myself trapped in a narrow triangle at the end of one platform while the power car of an HST was passing at low speed. I tried to calculate how long it would take the whole train to pass me, but fortunately the power car wasn’t attached to the rest of the train.
I emerged, shaken and stirred, and went to rejoin Mother on the main platform. At that moment, the MGR from Penallta returned and tried to descend the impossible slope. One of the couplings broke, and the hopper vans crashed down behind the locomotive. It was fairly spectacular to watch, but of course it closed the station for the rest of the day.
Since we were trapped in the town, Mother and I went for a wander around. We bumped into the Twins on their way from the theatre. Each of them was holding a foil balloon with her face painted on it.
Mother and I decided to spend the night in a B&B, in adjacent rooms. When we were unpacking, she showed me a lovely outfit she’d bought in the market – a light grey dress and matching jacket, a white high-collared blouse, a wide-brimmed hat, gloves, shoes and underwear.
‘It was a bargain’ she said, ‘I thought it would be nice for a wedding or something.’
‘How many weddings do you go to?’ I countered.
‘No, not for me – for you,’ she replied.
At that point, in my dream, I remembered that I was seeing my GP in a couple of days time to discuss gender reassignment. I woke up thinking that, if Mother was sympathetic to my situation, maybe it was time to investigate the idea further.