Dreams like this

A white seagull and a brown seagull compete to drink from the pond, a butterfly flits gracefully from plant to plant, many bees labour to collect pollen from the two big lavender bushes, a bird splashes in the stone bird bath, and I think all is well.

I’m falling through the blue sky, dropping at speed, the raging sea crashing against the jagged rocks many feet beneath me. I’ve seconds to live, I realise. Will I splash into the water to be dashed against the rocks, torn to shreds by their sharp and dense mass, drowned seconds later by the pounding waves, or will the waves drag my battered body back and forth, prolonging the agony. No mercy shown? Did I fall or was I pushed? I’d been walking along the cliff top. 

I wake in a hot sweat, my heart pounding, unsure of where I am until I sense a body lying asleep next to me. It’s Flick, I think, and I’m lying in my own bed. 

Recently, I’ve often had dreams like this, first the good stuff, then the chilling, then the waking. I guess it’s all to do with the scary world we’re living in. I’m not sure, how to stop these dreams, but I’ve listed a few things I’ve tried that’ve worked some of the time.

Don’t read any news before you go to sleep, that’s unless Putin falls from power and the war stops, energy prices dive, it rains seriously, the dire problems of the NHS are resolved, a magic solution to the climate crisis is announced, shops don’t look empty anymore, and the present government fall, giving someone else a chance to sort out the deep poo we’re in – and for sure we’re up to our ears in it, but there’s always hope!

Think of a few good things that happened today, there’ll always be some, however small, like a few good cups of tea, a cold glass of wine, a great meal. Many in the world have nothing. Be grateful for what we have.

Then there’s the maths trick. Think of a puzzle involving numbers and try to solve it. One that I did was adding up the population of countries in the world, west to east, until I reached the world’s total: 8bn. Wow. Most times, I never get beyond India.

Try imagining a circle of cotton wool around your head, like a perpendicular halo, and gradually draw it close in until it’s almost touching your skull. I find it has a sort of soporific effect, helping me drift off. 

There are alphabet games. Run through the alphabet, A-Z, choosing a name for an animal for each letter, or food items, plants and trees, countries, towns, books, movies, anything you fancy. Again, with this I often don’t reach Z, falling to sleep along the way.

Falling asleep and staying asleep is not easy in these troubled times. I hope my suggestions may help. I’d be happy to hear yours.

I wish for you good sleep and happy dreams. 

New book: I’ve just finished writing Revelations – How tragedy and a man’s search for his unknown father reveals the truth about his parents. It should be available toward the end of the year or early next. Revelations

My recent publications

Otto and Frankie, my latest novel, is about a dying man’s fight against injustice, his wife’s unusual affair, and the love from his long-lost daughter. 

Otto and his daughter Frankie could not be more different. He’s rich, an acclaimed author, human rights activist, and lives in England. She lives in New York, just about survives from one pay cheque to the next and hasn’t seen or spoken to her father for twenty years. Dutifully reunited by his impending death, she’s amazed to find him a kind and noble man who, while grappling with his wife’s bizarre affair, champions for the world’s forgotten and dispossessed to his last. After Otto’s death, Frankie’s admiration for her father leads her into a dangerous and life changing pursuit. 

amazon.co.uk. amazon.com.

Life in four stories 

Four shorts: two about life, love, and death; one a poignant and disturbing memory that dangles a question unanswered; and one a wild fantasy – plus the first chapter of my latest book, Otto and Frankie.

All proceeds of this book go the INTERNATIONAL COMMITTEE OF THE RED CROSS (ICRC), who help the most vulnerable communities fight COVID – 19. Thank you to all who have bought it.


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