Dream, 23rd April, Anonymous

It’s a dream I’ve had a number of times in recent years…

My parents have bought a fabulous house in a very bad state of repair (sometimes it is the house we had as children that has been reacquired but in the intervening years was brought into disrepair. In last night’s dream it doesn’t seem to be that house exactly). My parents are too old and don’t really have enough money to do the house up. They don’t feature much in the dream. I don’t seem to have aged (despite my parent’s advancing years). I am a teenager eager to do as much of the repair work myself. There are many rooms. There is old wallpaper on all the walls but was so badly hung that all I have to do is tug at it to expose the plaster beneath. But once the plaster is exposed then so are other issues. The previous owners added false walls, the surfaces of which are damp, hence the peeling wallpaper. Behind the crumbling plaster work I find bookshelves stacked with old moldy books. At first I think there may be some valuable First Editions here that will save our money problems, but when I start to look I see that they are old library editions and with paper covers (as I write this I note that Europa publish their first editions with paper covers, not in hardback). Some of these spaces contain other things beside books: masses of moldering items that rather than being destroyed have been badly walled up. When I remove the partitions with books behind, the room is made almost twice the size. The outer walls are sound. I also discover an opening to a vast workspace where several women are sitting at typewriters, at a few desks placed far apart. One woman gets up and says something like, ‘Fuck!’ because they have been found out. In my dream I think that they have been using this part of our house as office space without paying. And then I discover that the office space in turn opens out to an expanse of water like a sea. The sea flows right up to the room, just a narrow shingle beach between. In the distance I see a few children playing. The water looks grey and uninviting. There are no waves. I wonder if this is in fact the Mersey not the sea. I also get the sense in the dream that we are near Manchester. I wonder if the water can be cleaned up. I wonder if, rather than going to university, I can stay home and do the house up. The project just gets bigger and bigger but it feels so satisfying. There are rooms here and there about the vast house that I have painted white, some of them are completely finished, some are only partly painted or walls need extra coats of paint. I seem to remember looking at a ceiling and thinking, My father painted that, but it needs another coat.