Thursday, 20 October 2011

How to turn reality into a dream

I confess to dreaming.Whilst awake.There's a whole army of us, reading novels,watching Downton Abbey ... or Spooks; escaping into the persona we were destined to inhabit before being swapped in the delivery room.

I've always done it - as a child I scuffed along the road in a trance, envisaging a talent scout (another of my inventions) would spot me and whisk me across to Hollywood. Or Jess Harper in Laramie hold a drink to my lips as he rescued me from the Sioux, or later, Kevin Costner would appear in our driveway demanding to take me out.

It's not that we don't know they're hollow. That goes without saying, they wouldn't be dreams otherwise. 'Aha', I hear the optimists chorus, 'but they can come true.'

Yes, but not as we see them - they shape shift.

Dreams are literally insubstantial, one dimensional at best (though far from flat!). To materialise, by definition dreams must metamorphose - which has consequences....

I flashed my National Trust card, parked where directed and trudged through the shrubbery; cursing the 'five-a-day' dictum (miles that is) which punishes us for daring to drive. Or so I thought ... until, emerging alongside a magnificent fountain where the path takes a ninety degree turn, I staggered to stay upright.

Americans speak of the 'wow' factor, a pretty descriptive phrase generally but not in this instance. Not by half. Utterly inadequate. Unless there's a warp factor 'wow'. Goodness Gracious or Jumping Jehosophat would be more in keeping but still nowhere near strong enough to extol the fairytale ahead.

Now I know why they keep it wrapped. Make you walk, unwitting, through the trees until the house drops her negligee before you.

So here I am in the ultimate dream. This stunning property and attendant lush estate is all mine. My very own Brideshead. I watch myself  float through its galleries, inclining my head to those I encounter, beloved by servants and nobility alike. A benevolent benefactress, waited on hand and foot ... in a Nirvana which never existed.


Dreamers come in many forms but we have one thing in common. We enjoy imagining ourselves in amazing set-ups where - and this is the important bit - we always behave heroically.

Yet, in order to be accepted in my new world, I shall have to conform with convention. For example adopt a superior attitude to the staff - because that's what they expect; else what can they aspire to. The temptation to prop my feet on a velvet footstool, sip Bollinger for breakfast and count my millions will be strong ... and my dream punctured.

How can I turn reality into a dream?
To find out, visit