In an echoing, creaking tall-ceilinged room of Mme D in E, a French hamlet in which all conversations travel like opera, I have dreams of disappointment and trial.


I dreamed that T had an unerring ear for the music of Elgar and would come running if she heard even a snatch while I was dubbing from tape to tape. Ah cruel disappointment.


I dreamed that I was attending a murder trial as some sort of witness, but that in the night a leading witness had somehow revealed to me a piece of evidence that unequivocally incriminated him as the murderer. To cap it all, he had stolen into my bedroom afterwards and placed a knotted pink tie around my neck while I slept.


Rising from my bed though it was still dark, alarmed and enraged, I summoned the police and court attendants and began to divulge to them my portion of revolutionary evidence. But they could listen only imperfectly, because of their own poor attentional control and the irruption of distracting events. For instance, a transport of dangerous female prisoners arrived, with the women encased – Silence of the Lambs style – in body cages, with bars around the face presumably to prevent biting. However they made no attempt to resist, as they were unloaded inside their cages, rather like boxed goods. A child standing next to me raised a finger close to the face of one woman and enquired, “Who is this person?”


Frustrated I awoke to realise that I had forgotten, or never knew, just what my vital piece of evidence was that I had been struggling to communicate. This made me feel that, if I had remained in the dream, I would have been exposed, sooner or later, as an alarmist and attention-seeking impostor.