Sleep, no, dreams, yes

Sleep? Very funny. I have a bad case of sleep envy. Is it only the young that can lie down and fall asleep at the lowering of an eyelash? I certainly can’t remember lying awake for hours in my youth can you? I can’t remember turning from my right side to my back to my left side and repeating the whole cycle for hours either. I can’t remember ‘killing’ pillows and having to buy new ones every few months, because the weight and swivel of my head leaves an unfillable crater in them, whether they cost £3 in the bargain shops or £30 in John Lewis.

Dreams were rare in my childhood. There was a nightmare that had a couple of times, self-inflicted I believe, and about rats. I used to play near the panny you see, a tunnel built to channel the North Brook under the road, for about a mile near where I lived. It was a sort of dare game, the place was mucky, wet as brooks are and as dark as tunnels under the road are bound to be. There were also eels in the water, so the choice was wading through it with them swimming over your toes, or trying to walk on the narrow edge where inevitably rats were scurrying over your feet. I’ve been rat phobic ever since and these images often come to me when I’m on the sleep threshold.

When I eventually get to sleep these days, my dreams are more sophisticated. I had a spell where I had very lucid dreams, like the one about the mansion. I’d be strolling through an endless set of rooms, each more grand, exciting and vibrant than the last. Very ornate, elegant and full of important paintings, sculpture and literature and I was always on the top floor of the mansion. So, as I understand it, dreams about the top floors of buildings are about the psyche, the fascinating stuff of our minds, what’s in our head space. I’ve often wondered what this dream says about me.

Another very powerful dream that’s stayed with me, was in a very definite place, at the top of the hill on the Moretonhampstead road, after you drive over the first cattle grid on Dartmoor. A deep valley is on the right and in my dream it was on fire. I want to get my family to safety in our tiny 2CV, but I know it’s futile because it’s more than just a fire. I hold my children in my arms and wait the end of the world.

My eyes are sleepy now. I might take my book to bed, but it’s rather good and will keep me awake. I need a boring one instead. I hope that you sleep well and wake refreshed.

I’ve written this in response to the Daily Post today, by Michelle W.

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26 thoughts on “Sleep, no, dreams, yes

  1. Aargh, insomnia….definitely more prevalent in the last c purple of years. I used to sleep like a top. I can identify with the cratered pillow, the tossing and turning 😦

  2. This is so realistic, Gilly. I thought you were sharing a personal post and here it’s a prompt. I hope you do sleep well, or well enough, not like the story’s subject. I was sucked into the story right away. 🙂
    I can’t imagine how people go through life never getting the sleep they need. How do they function with a fuzzy brain. I have a sister like that but still I find it beyond me.

      1. Great because it read as true. Dreams are so intriguing. I don’t dream much nowadays but had lots of nightmares when I was much younger. Have you figured out what is setting yours off?

      1. I’d like to do that now that I am older, but no dreams. Sigh. Mind you, now that I think of it, about 2-3 years ago, I remember a dream about an old boyfriend who came back to haunt me and I had nightmares. 😀 😀 😀

  3. I can relate to this story, not so much the dreams part but the lack of sleep,, I go to bed late and rise early not always refreshed.. been like it all my life.. so your story is great and meaningful to me at least. 😉

  4. I thought you were talking about my nights there for a moment! My OH falls asleep as soon as his head touches the pillow, but I have nights where it is well after 4 am before I nod off. And you reminded me of a very vivid dream I had last night/this morning about creepy-crawlies. Ugh! Horrid.

      1. Gosh Gilly if I tool to writing my dreams down I’d never get anything else done. I dream A LOT! My OH refers to it as Living on Jude’s Planet. I.E. Weird!!

      1. At first I thought you were discussing your own sleep patterns but then I saw the comment and it put a doubt in my mind as to whether it was fiction. Good writers can do that…

  5. I seldom have trouble ‘dropping off’ these days because I’m up early and pretty late to bed. Exhaustion rules 🙂 🙂 But if I wake, it’s a different story, or if I have a niggling worry. My remembered dreams are only ever the nightmare variety when I wake bathed in fear, and harm is/has happened to my son or daughter. Horrible, and they stay with me for the longest time. Hugs, Gilly! A tale well told 🙂

  6. Even now, I dream a lot, more than in my youth. I call myself Josephina, after the biblical Joseph the dreamer. At the same time, I have no problem sleeping soundly once I hit the bed, except when I have something on my mind (even then, I drift off eventually,) or when my knees are acting up.

    Much recently, though, what keeps me awake, (and everybody else who does not have generators at home) is the extreme heat. As a result of the power rationing in the country, (dubbed dum-sor) I sleep in darkness on some nights with no electricity to power the fans in the rooms. and I tell you we actually bake ourselves alive. 🙂

    Please read more on the power situation here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dumsor

    1. You still get them even now Celestine? When I was in Mole in 2007 we stayed in a lodge along a path – there wasn’t a main hotel building and the power went at about 9pm. It was a bit scary because of spiders etc. Also the water went off at night! But that was way up in the north, Accra should be able to sort a regular supply surely?

      1. Unfortunately so, Gilly. This is a national crisis. The Akosombo dam has dwindled to trickles so not enough water to power the turbines. And that is the only main hydro electric generation we have. The govt got some going at a place call Bui, but that and even the Aksosombo one depends on heavy rainfall from the Upper Volta and the northern regions which woefully has not been the case in years.

        The power generating machines are faulty; we have a poor maintenance culture in Ghana; we have extended the electricity grid to the rural areas, we have increased in population; non-payment of electricity bills by individuals and government institutions alike. The issues are many. On top of all these, Ghana sells power to neighbouring Togo, Benin and Cote d’ Ivoire. The contract was signed years ago when we thought we had more than enough power so we cannot go back on it now. So you see how dire the situation is.

        Meanwhile, a few wealthy individuals have put up a gas plant as alternative source of power. But this is not enough as the industries also need a chunk of the supply. 🙂

        So, we ration; 24 hours off and 48 hours on where the load is not heavy and 12 hours on, 24 hours off for the heavy areas. I live in the light load area so I count myself lucky. As for ht office we augment the load through heavy generators and you can imagine the expenditure.

        On the whole, not a pretty picture at all. 🙂

  7. Great piece, Gilly. I do get the odd sleepless night, but luckily not very often. Your dream about walking through a mansion is similar to a recurring dream that I have, but my ‘mansion’ is made up of all the houses I’ve ever lived in, with lots of embellishments, and quite often it’s filled with people who’ve come and gone throughout my life, some nice and others horrid. 🙂

  8. I’m a good sleeper, and haven’t had a scream-myself-awake dream for a long time. You give me great insight into insomnia and also you. I know your head is gloriously populated just from my blogging acquaintance with you.

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