Purveyor of Bollocks to the Crowned Heads of Europe
Wednesday, 8 March 2017
I had a dream the other night that I looked in the mirror to discover that my hair had gone back to dark brown, with no hint of grey in it at all. I thought that it was unusual but nothing more than that.
You know how you can briefly meet someone just one time and find yourself dreaming about them? I often wonder how many times I have been dreamt about by strangers. You can meet someone once for about three minutes, then recognise them ten years later in the midst of hundreds of people on the other side of the world. How do we do that?
I once dreamed that I was standing on the side of a small working port during ancient Roman times. There were archaic boats moored up at the quay and open shop fronts with cloth awnings protecting them from the fierce sun. The place was thronging with sailors and tradesmen, and it was a very colourful spectacle.
A year or two later, we visited the ruined city of Ephesus in Southern Turkey, and after we had enough of walking through the deserted streets in the enervating heat, we went down to the old port. The sea has long since retreated out of sight, leaving the vast, scorching plain which we had driven across in its place.
I was stunned to see that this old port was identical in every respect to the one I saw in my dream, except it was devoid of water, boats and people. Even the angle I had approached it in my dream was the same, giving a sweeping curve along the old waterfront.
I remember that the dreamed-of port was so real that it is still as vivid now as it was then - as real as the memory of it from our holiday in Turkey.
They (whoever they are) say that important events leave an impression on the landscape which survives architecture, but I have only ever felt this sort of thing once or twice at places like old battlefields.
The Guildhall here in Bath used to be - up until fairly recently - the law courts as well (hence the figure of Blind Justice on the roof). In the eighteenth century, a felon would be convicted inside there, then lead down the steps to the gallows set up in the middle of the High Street to be hanged in front of a crowd of onlookers.
When I walk over that spot these days, I feel nothing which could be attributed to the old public executions. Maybe - like the many weddings which take place there these days - they were not important enough events.