Missed It

I should have known better than to suggest I might stay up until 00:01 to see in the New Year. After a long day punctuated by coughing fits, the best I could do last night was to reluctantly munch a pizza at 18:30, then sit coughing until I just had to go to bed and lie down at 23:00.

So I slept through the moment, waking at 02:15 for yet another coughing fit. My first of 2023!
(Should I celebrate that moment perhaps?)

Fortunately, I was then able to go back to sleep until an hour ago.

The sun is shining in Beetley this morning, but not forecast to remain for the day. The birds are singing in the hedge outside.

At least it has stopped raining.

Now I Have Caught It. Or Have I?

**UPDATE. I tested negative, Julie is still positive.**

I developed an annoying tickly cough on Saturday evening. I still had it yesterday when I got up. After messing around trying to get some warmth into the house, I took Ollie out for his walk. It was bitterly cold, mainly because of a freezing wind. By the time I got back with Ollie, the cough had got much worse.

We had already decided to have an Indian meal delivered at 6:30pm, and as we sat down to eat that, I could feel that my eyes were very hot, and my shoulders were aching. By 9pm, Julie suggested I do a Covid-19 test. It was negative.

But thirty minutes later, I felt so ill, I went to bed. Then I slept for twelve hours solid, until 9:40 this morning.

Another test is going to be done soon, and it will be interesting to see if it is still negative.

Update to follow…

Visiting My Mum

When we lose loved ones, they live on in our memories. In my case, they often appear to me in dreams too.

I went to bed before midnight last night. I felt tired after a reasonably busy day, and went straight to sleep. Not long after, I was visiting my mum.

She spent her last years in a small flat in South London. When she became almost immobile with breathing problems, I would visit her there, go out and buy her shopping, then cook her some meals to leave in the fridge and freezer. Before leaving for home, I would always watch her eat a meal, to make sure in my mind that she was getting some decent food instead of existing on sweet biscuits and cake.

Her living room was small, but she had a folding table and two chairs under the window. That was for guests to sit at if they wanted to. She remained in her armchair, and ate her food from a lap tray. I was watching her eat, which was a slow process, as she had to rest between mouthfuls and catch her breath. She was talking to me about when I retired from work, and moved to Norfolk. That dates the conversation as sometime in 2011, as we had just bought this house that summer.

She was also talking about the pets she had lost, and lamenting the fact that she was now too ill to get another dog. She hoped that I would get a dog when I retired, and bring it to London to see her. I spoke again about the possibility of her moving in with us once we moved in 2012, but she was adamant that she wanted to stay in London.

It was completely real, and totally familiar to me, like watching a video of us recorded at the time.

But most dreams also have a surreal element, and the next thing I knew we were walking across a cemetery to find the grave of someone we knew who had been killed in the Falklands War. Except that she could not have physically managed that, and we didn’t know anyone who had been killed in that war.

Before we found the grave, I was woken up by a severe bout of cramp in my left leg. I had to get out of bed and stand on the leg to ease the pain, and I was surprised to find myself in the bedroom in Beetley, and no longer standing next to my mum.

Whatever part of my subconscious brain recreated that visit to my mum, I am glad it did.

Hot Nights, Mad Dreams

Getting to sleep during a heatwave can be a challenge. However, I manage to sleep by having a large fan at the end of the bed, which cools me off enough to allow me to go straight to sleep.

But the heat seems to affect my sleep in other ways, by making my mind search deep inside my brain to retrieve long-forgotten memories. Those memories appear as dreams, and I don’t realise they are things that actually happened until I have been awake for a few minutes. They are also jumbled-up, out of sequence, not following any definite pattern.

I am stroking a dog that is lying on the pavement, and the dog rolls over to show me its belly. When I turn around, I am on a beach in France, aged around sixteen. The sand is too hot to walk on, so I am struggling to put on the shoes that I had just taken off.

My first wife is swimming in heavy waves, and I am watching her from a rock that I am sitting on. Then someone comes to get me and tells me we have to go to an emergency call in the ambulance that is parked nearby. When I get in the vehicle, I am wearing my EMT uniform, and the sea and my swimming wife are nowhere to be seen.

Queuing at a van to buy ice creams. There is a pier in the distance, and lots of parked cars. It might be the resort town of Brighton. Then my dad (who I have not seen since I was 24 and is long dead) taps me on the shoulder. He tells me he wants chocolate sauce on his ice cream, and I nod. When I return with the ice creams, he is nowhere to be found.

Driving a left-hand drive car. From the road signs I know I am in Turkey, and I am alone in the car. I get a bit lost and end up in a village. Then I am shocked to see men ahead, forming a roadblock and pointing rifles at me. They are unmistakably Taliban fighters. They pull me from the car, frog-march me into a small room, and one takes a photo of me on a mobile phone.

The noise of pigeons wakes me up. I walk over to the bedroom window and open the curtains. Outside, there are thousands of Wood Pigeons, covering every surface. I close the curtains and go back to bed.

Then I wake up, relieved it is all a dream. I can understand the memories, the pigeons, the beach references, even my dad showing up.

But the Taliban in Turkey? That one is a mystery.

A Mystery Pain

While out with Ollie yesterday, I started to get a pain in my back. It didn’t feel like conventional ‘backache’, but was no less unpleasant. By the time I got home, I was feeling rather unwell with it, and couldn’t get comfortable. So I took some Brufen, and laid on the bed for a while.

I managed to prepare dinner for when Julie got home from work at 6:30 pm, but I didn’t enjoy it, as the pain hadn’t shifted at all. Before 8pm, still daylight here, I had to take more tablets, and go back to bed.

The pain woke me up after midnight, and Julie found me some much stronger tablets, Naproxen. After taking two of those, I went back to bed and managed to get back off to sleep. I didn’t wake up this morning until 9:20. I had slept for almost twelve hours, and the pain had gone.

Though it left behind that ‘pain memory’, a niggling feeling around the same area where the problem had been. I have no idea what caused it, but I really hope it doesn’t come back.

A Significant Time?

Last month, I wrote about a very bad dream I had.

I had checked the time when I woke up that night. It was 03:17, but that was of no significance to me then.

Last night, I went to bed quite early. I did not have a bad dream, but woke up feeling unusually hot. So hot in fact, that I threw off the duvet and sat up. The room is usually quite cold in the early hours, as there is no heating on until I get up in the morning. But last night it felt like midsummer.

I opened my Tablet to check the time. 03:17.

Now I am wondering if I should start to be concerned.

Bad Night/Bad Dream

I have written before about my vivid dreams. They are almost always easy to recall, usually interesting, at least to me, and on a few occasions, have managed to fascinate me.

Last night, I went to bed at a reasonable time, and settled down to sleep. It felt unusually warm for January, but I eventually got settled, and went to sleep. When the stormy wind began to increase in speed, I was disturbed by the noise of swirling leaves, and small twigs and branches falling outside. But after turning over a couple of times, I finally got back to sleep.

Some time later, I was aware of a presence in the room, close to my face. I opened my eyes to see a male figure leaning over the bed. Behind him were three others, two men, and a woman. They were illuminated in the pitch black darkness by a strange greenish-glow that seemed to be coming from below them on the floor.

I recognised them all.

The woman in the doorway was my mother. She died in 2012.

The man in front of her was my friend Steve Greenwood. He died in 1988.

Next to him was my dad’s older brother, Uncle Harry. I hadn’t seen him since the 1970s, and he has been dead for over thirty years.

By the bed was his son, my cousin Brian. I hadn’t seen him for over forty years. He was murdered by intruders in his home in Spain, over twenty years ago.

I felt unbearably hot, and threw the duvet off my body.

They all looked as I remembered them when I had last seen them, though their expressions were blank, and very scary. For some time, nobody spoke, including me. And then my mum said “We have come to fetch you”.

Then I woke up, feeling absolutely terrified, and shaking. I pressed the button on my tablet to check the time, and it was 03:17. That time has no significance that I know of.

It took me well over an hour to get back to sleep, as I was actually frightened to close my eyes.

That was one dream I never want to have again.

Sleeping With Owls

I went to bed just before midnight last night. It was quiet in Beetley of course, it almost always is. Rare to hear a car pass by after ten, and save the occasional dog bark, you can usually be assured of a noise-free night.

But last night, there was something different, and it took me some time to realise what that was.

It wasn’t raining. There was no sound of relentless rain smacking against the windows like bow waves over a small ship at sea. No endless pattering of falling rain on the flat roof of the extension or the garden furniture, sounding as if five hundred typists were hammering at their machines right outside the bedroom window. After weeks of constant rain disturbing my sleep, the prospect of a rain-free night had me lying in bed smiling.

As I settled down in the dark, two owls began to call to each other. One was close, probably in the oak tree at the front. The second much more distant, perhaps over on Beetley Meadows. It was a pleasant sound, and became soothing after a while.

Given the choice, I would sleep with the owls, rather than the rain.

Zombie Pete

Still no news about my Covid test results. I have been refreshing my email screen every ten minutes since yesterday morning, but the queue must be too big for the fast service that Julie received whe she was tested.

Meanwhile, I live life in limbo, like the undead in books about Zombies.

I am not supposed to go out until I know the test result. Julie is not allowed out either, which means she is unable to go to work until we know either way.
If it comes back positive, we wil have another fourteen days like this.

I have to take Ollie out. I cannot ask anyone else to do that, as I am not supposed to contact the neighbours. So I head over to Beetley Meadows, scan for any other dog-walkers, and head in the opposite direction. If anyone spots me and comes my way, I wave at them to turn back. They obviously know why I am doing that, as they immediately turn around or go in another direction.

Whatever is wrong with me is still making it hard to get a decent sleep. After going to bed early, I was awake at five, then struggled to get back to sleep again. I didn’t wake up until 10:45, and stumbled into the unexpected sunshine feeling like the day had already passed me by.

Once back after taking Ollie out, I have no energy to deal with anything around the house, and the afternoon and evening seems to drag, with me wondering how early is ‘too early’ to go to bed. I had been trying to watch films to while away the time, but even that lost its appeal. I get up, walk into another room, stand there for a while, and walk back again.

I hope this is all resolved soon. It’s a strange way to live, and I don’t like it.

August: The humidity arrives

Okay, more weather complaints. Feel free to yawn, and to exclaim “Not again!”

The last few days, we have had temperatures hovering around 29 C (84 F). That might be very acceptable for an English summer, I agree. However, we have also had frequent heavy rain showers, so the weather app is telling me that we have humidity at 94%.

Now that is unusual, for England.

It saps my strength, and makes everyday things seem to be a real trial. Any attempt at cleaning the house (as I did earlier today) leaves you soaked in an unfamiliar and unpleasant sweat. Taking Ollie for his usual walk at 1 pm left me weary, and sitting down on benches too often. It was alright for my dog, as he just retreated into the water of the river, to lie down and cool off.

I have changed my clothes three times already, and had two baths. Despite only wearing a dressing gown as I type, I am still far too hot and uncomfortable. So I have taken the executive decision to wash the bedding, in an effort to achieve ‘freshness’, after constantly ‘turning the pillow’ for the last three nights. It is ready to put on the bed now, but I have made a second decision.

I will fold the duvet up, and put it against the wall. Then I will sleep using only the cover, not unlike a simple sheet.

If I wake up chilly during the night, I might be pleasantly surprised! 🙂