I Don’t Sleep, I Dream

“What do you want from me?
Why don’t you run from me?
What are you wondering?
What do you know?
Why aren’t you scared of me?
Why do you care for me?
When we all fall asleep, where do we go?”

Billie Eilish

This isn’t what I’d written.

This isn’t even what I’d written to replace the first thing I hadn’t written, or rather had written, but you will never see it, so as far as you’re concerned I never wrote it…and are only now aware of it because I’ve just told you..

I may take that bit out later.

But, obviously if you’re reading it ,, I didn’t…or haven’t …yet.

I am very tired…

I have been dreaming all week instead of sleeping and this has led me to confuse both states of being. Some days the dream world is better , other days, this one.

Normally I read for a bit before sleeping, and if that doesn’t work I doze off to an audio book. But this week , on top of everything else, the book ‘Anatomy Of Humbug’ is quite thought provoking, and the audio book, Tom Holland’s ‘Dominion’ is even more so. I tried tv and settled on a Netflix series called ‘Sisyphus:The Myth’ , which is Korean with subtitles and may be the best and worst thing I’ve ever watched. I’m hooked. This in a normal week would be a treat, but it involves time paradoxes, regret and ….isn’t helping my sleep.

Last night I thought I’d have a long hot bath, liberal amounts of Radox, and listened to Nick Cave’s ‘Ghosteen’ to relax. I ended up dozing off in the bath and dreaming of horses made out of grass…again. The cold water woke me up eventually. And then of course, when I went to bed I just kept thinking about the meaning behind each of the songs.

On Tuesday night I ran though history. I actually ran 10k, past the ruins of Hollywood House, the Mullahara Orange Hall , the ruined National School, the abandoned Great Northern Railway bridge, the dried up Ulster Canal, Drumaconor House where Emily and Mary Wilde, Oscar’s half sisters died tragically, and St.Molua’s Church where they were buried. All of that in 5 kilometres ! I turned and ran back.

An old man I’d waved to as I ran past on the way out was still tidying up his hedge on my return, and called out “How far’d you go ?”.

“Three miles that way and back” I answered using the old Imperial miles instead of metric kilometres automatically as he was quite elderly.

“What’s that in kilometres ?” he asked.


“Not bad” he said, leaning his chin on the end of his rake. “ I‘d say that took you across the Clones road as far as Drumsnatt graveyard ?”

“It did indeed, exactly that. Are you a runner yourself ?”

“No, don’t have the time. Are you ?”

I should have left him there and then…cheeky bastard.

“There’s rich history around here , isn’t there ?” I said, politely ignoring his jibe.

“Some say so. It’s just life really.” He said smiling.” Big house over there, Slacke’s Grove, everyone calls it Hollywood House. It was Benjamin Slacke’s house and I remember him planting that tree over there….”

I’d noticed the tree on my way out, it was a giant of a thing, or at least had been,  broken now and dying, but it must have been something in its day. It had to be at least 100 years old. And old and all as this cheeky chap was, he wasn’t 100.

“…as if it was yesterday.” He continued. ” Now that’s a memory of mine, but may be history to someone else, a runner perhaps…or even you.” He laughed.

“Good one” I said, gritting my teeth and shivering a bit, you get very cold after a run if you’re standing around. Even colder if you’re standing around listening to an old cheeky codger with a sense of humour. “ I best be on my way, see you again.” I said , not meaning it.

“You will.” He said,  waved, and laughed.

I took off running as fast as I could, thinking ‘I’ll show him who’s a runner’, and then regretted it immediately , as my muscles had got really cold, and suddenly jerking them back into action now meant that I was hobbling away at great speed rather than running.

I could hear him really laughing now.

Bastard !

A few minutes of agony later I was back at the start and gulping on a bottle of water when a man came along walking his wee dog, Lulu.

“How far did you go ? he asked.

“10 kilometres.”

“How far is that in miles ?”

I was beginning to suspect that I was caught up in a terrible old double act, but answered anyway,    “Six”.

“Six miles, that’s some running.”

I liked this guy.

“Tell me, do you live around here ?”

“Yes” he smiled “ just back yonder. All my life.”

“Who is the old man that lives in that house back that way , the one with the really tidy hedge ?”

He looked at me oddly “The house on the bad bend, opposite Hollywood House ?”

“Yes, that’s the one.”

“No one’s lived in that house as long as I can ever remember. They use it as shelter for cattle in the winter now.”

“No, the one with the very tidy hedge, I was just speaking to the old man there now.” I said , thinking ‘God love him, they’re all a bit touched out here’.

“You’ll be getting a chill if you don’t get home soon” he said, less friendly now, and hurried back the way he’d come.

I got in the car, and drove towards Hollywood house. I stopped and got out. There was no old man, no tidy hedge, and in the field was a derelict old cottage.

The wind picked up…or was it just laughter..

I really need to get some sleep…or wake up.



Author: paul

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *