I dream of a journey and 2 space hoppers

A night out with GS and Kate P. I’m in pyjamas, and they are pretty unimpressed. They are in slinky dresses and are worried about appearing fat. I’m saying it doesn’t matter, they say I would say that because I’m in pyjamas.

Later – early morning, brilliant sun, warm, hazy – I sit with G and somebody else on a fallen tree (I had to circumnavigate an enormous fallen tree in York the other day) in her garden which is like a wild meadow – her house is solid, old red brick, ivy etc, far above London (the view is a cross between Parliament Hill and the meadow I looked in briefly on the way to the HEA in York). There is some disapproval about my pyjamas and how I have to make changes to the way I go about things (actually, we have had conversations recently and she thinks I should change jobs). Then I set off for home south of the river and after some journey I reach the river – huge, built up and many bridges but I don’t recognise where I am. I have two things to carry, one of which is a giant space hopper (SG’s birthday present to me last week) and the other I don’t remember but it’s bulky, and the whole journey is turning into a sweaty, uncomfortable pain in the neck. Two young geordie men are in the river by the bank (which is more of a kerb than an embankment – the water nearly reaches the top, like a canal). They have 3 tiny canoes, too small to fit inside. One of them straddles a single canoe, the other, two. They call out to me and I approach. I’m a bit self-conscious, and say “As you can see, I’m in pyjamas”. They don’t seem to notice. The river smells rotten and I advise them to get out. They hoot with laughter and roll of the canoes. They allow themselves to go under the surface to show me they aren’t bothered about the filthy water.

I leave them and make my way along the embankment with my stuff. I try to ride the space hopper, but it makes it hard to hold the other thing. I acquire another space hopper because I confuse it for my one (forgetting that that’s underneath me) but soon realise that it’s not mine (because it’s smaller and grubby) and abandon it. The river-side is very built up and central-looking and I feel it should be familiar, but it isn’t. Eventually I get to a building which looks as if I can find a way through up to street (bridge) level and at least head south. I cart my stuff through strange Oxo Tower-like retail units – haberdashers etc – and it’s very labyrinthine (like the end of One Hour Photo when Robin Williams is trying to get out of the hotel). Then I wake up (into brilliant sunshine, and spend half an hour sunbathing on the bed reading something of Matt’s about Rochdale’s coming renaissance).

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