Category Archives: Weird phenomena

Where I Go In My Dreams (Part 20)

In which The Author takes some cough medicine

For about a week I’ve been troubled by a persistent cough. It started for no reason last Wednesday night, and even made me miss a pint or two with Geoff E. on Thursday, which is pretty serious stuff. I also decided to sit last week’s karaoke out, another indication of how rough I was feeling. (Anyway, I was working on a project, so I was sort-of glad for an excuse to stay in.)
I popped over to the pharmacy, less than a minute from my house, and bought some cough sweets which I hoped would relieve the symptoms a bit. They did help (albeit temporarily) through the day, but during the night I had such a prolonged coughing fit that I was nearly sick.
By Saturday morning, when there was no sign of the cough easing off, I revisited the pharmacy and bought a bottle of medicine. The label described it as ‘non-drowsy’, which turned out to be a bit of a misnomer. I dozed off listening to the 6.00 news on Radio 4 a couple of evenings ago, and again during the increasingly misleading ‘Comedy’ Club on 4Extra the same day. Then again, that might not have had anything to with the medicine itself.
I also went out like a light after taking another dose in the early hours of Wednesday morning. And that’s when the dream happened. (As usual in these cases, these are just the edited highlights.)
I was with Jeff T., a good friend of mine from the book trade in Cardiff. We’d caught a bus from Merthyr, heading vaguely east, and had jumped off in a tiny village in the middle of nowhere. Jeff wanted to show me some of the interesting things that were tucked away off the ‘main road’ (which only just qualified as a road).
There were hardly any houses and only one little shop, which wasn’t even open when we were there. There was a huge chapel dominating the landscape, and bits of railway architecture dotted here and there. We took some photos of the chapel, the shop, some of the cottages, a nice stone bridge which carried a cycle/footpath across the road, and a few oddments of rusted track which had somehow survived.
After that, Jeff and I set off along a steep path uphill, with terrific views across to the Brecon Beacons and down towards Cardiff. He promised to show me something amazing when we got to the other side. I don’t know how long we walked for, stopping every so often to take a photo, but we eventually reached the top of the mountain. Below us was a strange industrial building of some kind, with a freight railway line leading into it, and lots of wheels and parallel motions visible through the windows. There didn’t seem to be anyone around, but the place was still functioning. Jeff told me he knew a couple of people who worked there, but he wasn’t sure what they actually manufactured.
We took a lot of photos between us, and then descended a steep slope to emerge below the plant. We took a footpath parallel to the freight line for a while, and then came to a busy road with a bus stop a short distance away. Jeff said we could catch a bus from there into Caerphilly.

The Tracks of my Tears

In which The Author has come unstuck in time again

Last Wednesday I wrote about some young lads in a rock band, who were clearly stuck in time (in the late 1980s or so). Since then, we’ve had a full moon and an extra day in the calendar, both of which seem to have had very peculiar effects on Time.
I decided to treat myself to the current Concise Oxford Dictionary last week. I was going to to buy it in Cardiff, when I was there for the Plaid Cymru manifesto launch a fortnight ago. But it’s a bit bulky to carry about, and I also wanted another book which Waterstones don’t stock. Chris G. assured me that the warehouse had plenty of the second book, and offered to order it in for me. But I told him it made sense to order them together online and save on the postage costs. Free p&p online; nearly three quid p&p from the shop; eight quid on the train to collect it in person. You do the maths!
I placed the order on 23 February, and it was confirmed almost immediately, with an estimated delivery time of ‘5-7 days’. That meant (in theory) that I could look forward to my books arriving early this week.
Anyway, on Saturday morning I was feeling pretty unwell. I’d come away from Thursday’s karaoke early. I had a sore throat which meant my grip on the tunes was more precarious than usual. On Friday I was full of cold, which was threatening to go to my chest. I had a duvet day, and didn’t leave the house except to grab some fish and chips from the Hot Pot. I didn’t feel much better on Saturday, so when someone knocked the door just after ten o’clock I figured it couldn’t be anything important. I stayed in bed instead.
Needless to say, it was the postman trying to deliver a parcel. I knew I couldn’t possibly be the books I’d ordered, so I thought maybe Gollancz had sent me another proof without any prior warning. That was why, on Monday morning, I was at the sorting office in Aberaman, having narrowly avoided the Brain-Dead Bints I told you about last time.
The item waiting for me turned out to be the books I’d ordered from Waterstones. 5-7 days had suddenly turned into 3-4.
I mention this only because Waterstones emailed me last night, at 1819, to tell me that ‘the item(s) has been shipped and should be with you soon’. They’d also included the tracking reference for my parcel. Just for fun, I’ve been on the Royal Mail website this morning, and this is what I found:
Screenshot from 2016-03-03 10:11:35
As the late great Sir Terry Wogan would have said, Is it me?