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Sunday, 29 January 2012

I Dreamed a Dream

Last night I dreamed a dream, and it made me think long and hard about the brain, about the quantum theory and about time. But about my dream - the characters in it were drawn straight from my distant youth. There was Alf Withers and his wife, whom I will call Mrs Withers, as I cannot recall her first name. Alf and his wife kept a greengrocer’s shop across the road from my birthplace, Dennis Lodge, where I was to spend the first few years of my life. They had three children, Alf jnr., Chic and Patricia. I remember Mrs. Withers for her “I’ll just go and put the kettle on for a cup of tea” each time my mother went to buy vegetables. The kettle, as I recall, sat on a huge (to me) Aga stove in a room to the rear of the shop. There was also an outside loo that was occassionally stocked with the tissue paper that had once wrapped individual oranges - a welcome change from the usual scraps of newspaper and a foretaste of the first toilet tissue! Dennis Lodge still stands (52°28.205’N 2°09.262’W), and is believed to be a dentists' practice, although the Withers’ shop has long been demolished. 

Let me place you in the time scale. I was born during WWII and lived with my mother at Dennis Lodge, my paternal grandparents’ home, until soon after my father returned from France after the end of hostilities. I recall, it must have been after things got back to normal, making forts out of old banana boxes in a storage building to the rear of the Withers’ shop. (What did people do with old wooden banana boxes – you could hardly send them back to the Caribbean?). Chic was to marry a Dick Garrington who became one of the Midlands’ first importers of VWs. Alf jnr., whom I recall was the owner of a scrambler bike and played the trumpet, stayed in the business until well into the 60s, maybe even later, for I remember him delivering vegetables to The Bell Hotel, which was to become my home from 1960, when my parents took over its management. 

I was to become quite good friends with Pat, even though she was several years my senior. I remember cycling the 20 miles each way to Worcester and back with Pat and two of her friends, Dalveen and Liz, when I was 14. Pat was later to emigrate to Australia, never to be heard from by myself again. My dream brought back memories from more than 60 years ago. I wonder which little part of my brain could have been storing them for all this time. I was only thinking the other day that a mere ten times my lifespan, going back in time, saw the attempted extermination of the Knights Templar in France. What a tiny drop in the vast ocean of time-space my life is. Still things amaze me. Liz and I still have a quantum thing going between us. Only this morning I was thinking “I must go and open the curtains” only to find Liz doing just that immediately after I had thought about it. Quantum Physics continues to have a great influence on my all-too-short life. I am a firm believer that it can explain so many yet-to-be-explained occurrences.

Edited version 2 1/30/2012 after some input from my sister, Suzane.