Last night I dreamed I went to Dripping Trellis again. Dripping Trellis, where fresh raindrops dripped from the trellises in its many gardens. Dripping Trellis, where we woke each dawn to the clink of the milkman’s bottles, and his morning song, that odd, strangulated keening, the words never quite decipherable. Dripping Trellis, through which in the afternoons the mobile library would putter, before parking by a dripping trellis, and we would return our books, overdue, overdue, and damp from lying unread on lawns in summer rainfall. It was the bucolic hamlet of my infancy, where I lived until the age of six. It is a deluded memory. There is not a grain of truth in it.
In my dream I was skipping and gambolling across a lawn, a huge lawn, in a garden rife with peewits and starlings and lupins and hollyhocks and Vietcong. The milkman was there, with much milk, but the milk was pink and gold, like the sky at sunset. He was singing, and the mobile librarian was accompanying him on sackbut. There may have been elves. I pranced towards a grot and peered within, and saw lanterns, and caged birds, and my papa. Then tish tosh tish tosh Blunkett of Jago’s Peak. Raindrops dripped off the thousands of trellises in Dripping Trellis. A man with a klaxon made an announcement about a wolf, and waved a flag, and I knew, though I did not see, that the flag had been darned by a convict in a distant pompous land. I had toast and marmalade. There was a Nissen hut, and on its roof perched an owl, and the owl hooted, and I awoke.
Outside, the rain was pouring down, and a bitter wind was howling across the desolate expanse of cement and concrete and tar where I was born, where I have always lived, where there is not a single trellis from which the raindrops may drip.