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Thursday, 22 November 2012

Tell Me If I'm Dreaming

I'm not yet in my teens -- but nearly there!
and as a treat allowed to spend the day with dad.
He works for Spalding, sports manufacturer
as golf club maker, making them by hand --
and that is where we are, his place of work,
but on the roof, looking out across the River Thames,
past Putney Bridge, to where the boat race -- Oxford
versus Cambridge -- is about to start. We watch
until the boats are out of sight -- three cheers,
it's Oxford in the lead! -- and then go down into
the bowels of the factory, there to find 
dad's workshop -- or attelier, as I prefer to call it, 
having recently acquired the word. Dad picks up 
an adze - his favourite tool and I await
with bated breath expecting he will start to shape
a club head... No, it is a rifle that he chooses from
a cupboard, places in his vice and starts to shave the butt.
A woman enters with a half-strung tennis racquet
asking his advice about a problem she's encountered.
I cannot take my eyes off her. She is a younger version
of my mum, for this is how they met. When I do,
I see the former workshop is an aircraft hanger,
and standing at the far end is a Meteor jet fighter.
(Dad worked with Whittle on developing the first
jet engine and later worked on them with 616, the first
jet squadron.) This one, solid looking to begin with,
morphs into a drawing of itself as I look on. 
I recognise the drawing straight away: dad gave it
to me when he came home on a weekend pass. 
It had been drawn inside an empty Camel 20 packet
to show me what the secret plane was like. Imagine then,
how mortified I was to have to burn the box--  and not
to breathe a word about the secret plane to any
of my friends! The hardest thing I ever did that was!

A courier now enters with some crates of brand new clubs.
Dad takes one from its box and swings it gently, testing
weight and balance. As he does, the head falls off and hangs
from the shaft end on a length of leather whipping which
is slowly -- very slowly -- unwinding as we look. 
It is as though he's caught a club head shark 
and now is playing him for all he's worth. 
Alas, the shark is winning -- handsomely. 
He tries another club, and yet another,
seventeen in all, and everyone the same. A golfer --
high profile and professional -- comes in with yet 
another clubhead dangling from yet another shaft. 
dad speaks to him and reassures him. He will fix the club.
He leaves and so do we. We join the queue for the new
trolley bus -- our latest, state-of-the-art means 
of transport home to Mitcham. We find The High Street 
packed with people leaving from the riverside. 
Above their heads we can quite plainly see 
a locomotive, green -- Pacific Class, as I recall from recent
spotting days, huffing and puffing its way towards us.
Well, you will know quite clearly that this was a dream. It was in fact an actual dream which I recorded at the time, recorded because everything in the dream had also occurred in actuality. All, that was, except the fishing rod golf clubs . That occurred many years later. A small detail, I know, but it has always been enough to make me wonder... (And Okay, I guess you can say that none of dad's Meteors morphed into a drawing, but it did have a basis in fact.)


A Cuban In London said...

I know it's supposed to sound like a dream, but it looks so real. And then you tell us that it had taken place in reality. The poem was a marvellous combination of the subsconcious with the conscious.

Many thanks.

Greetings from London.

Eileen T O'Neill ..... said...


You may well have been dreaming and joined up the 'leads,' but please recount some more, as the story was left hanging, rather like those odd, but believable fishing rod golf clubs...This should be only the preface into a darn good story Dave:)


Brian Miller said...

what a vivid dream, mixed with a bit of memory...interesting the ones that attach in our heads as well to be conjured up later...you had me right there man....

Leovi said...

Fascinating, an amazing dream. Greetings.

Daydreamertoo said...

Wow... that was some dream Dave. So vivid and sharp in every detail. Those type of dreams I don't mind remembering at all. How interesting. Loved the golf club fishing rods.. unique thoughts. :)

Tommaso Gervasutti said...

It's vivid, and the details are so precise. I can't remember almost anything of my dreams and it's a pity.
This parallel world so close to poetry.

The Weaver of Grass said...

This is certainly the stuff that dreams are made of Dave And, by the way, keep wearing those red braces.

Cloudia said...

Dad, those times, the race seen from on high, the Meteor was a stunner!

Dream? Isn't life?

Warm Aloha to YOU
from Honolulu
Comfort Spiral

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Mary said...

An amazing dream! I guess everyone does dream, but i don't remember mine ever......probably just as well. Smiles.

Dave King said...

A Cuban in London
I take your point. As I said, the dream had been written down at the time, but not described, so there was feeling for dream and no linking. Because all the events - escept one - had actually occurred I had just listed the events. This probably explains why the dream seems real. It is likely that my memory of it was also influenced by the method of writing it down. Normally (at that time) I would have tried to describe the " feel" of the dream, as I considered this the most important element in getting to its "meaning" - whatever that is!

I do very much appreciate your comment and thank you very much for it, but I'm struggling slightly to see any more to the story. I could invent more, of course, ue it as a springboard for more. The only aspect I can elaborate upon is the fishing rod/golf club episode - and that not much, given the present fashion for litigation! After dad had retired he ran a little business from his garden shed, mainly doing repair work for a few high profile professionals, contacts of his from former days. He did also make clubs for them when they wanted another certain club to extend a matched set, etc.
However, in due course he began to receive clubs as I described them in the poem, some having only been used once, one not at all. This all occurred years after the dream.

Thanks Brian. Much appreciated.

Many thanks. Greetings returned.

Alas, I don't remember dreams like that any more - not the ones I have now. Some that I had as a small child are as vivid and detailed as ever - I do wonder about the validity of those old dreams, though, especially the ones I've told before. I tend to think I just recall the last telling.

I agree, they can be a great source for writers, especially poets. I, too, don't have that any more. (See above.)

The Weaver of grass
Ah, yes, the red braces? Will do! Thanks.

Many thanks. Good to have your comment.

Me too now. Sad! -- See mine to Daydreamertoo. Thanks.