The other night, I had a strange dream. It reminded me a bit of Amy Tan’s book, Saving Fish from Drowning, which we ‘did’ in my book club Abroad. It was a huge great tome and pretty much as pointless as the title, but was chosen by a lovely person so we all held back from giving it the throttling it richly deserved. The main substance of the book was a horrible journey into the jungle, I can’t remember where or why exactly (and thank God for that). So it was with a heavy heart that I embarked on a similar trek during my Friday night slumbers.
I really, really didn’t want to go. I’m not mad keen on walking at the best of times (my Dulwich park power walks have now slowed to a snail’s pace and everyone has completely given up the idea of getting me to jog. This morning, to take the pace down even further, I pretended I’d pulled a muscle doing my pilates DVD. As if!) but walking through a great curtain of rampant vegetation was the pits. The trouble was, I had to go, because my children were already at Base Camp and I had to go and protect them. Of course, when I’d slashed my way through a full garden centre’s worth of foliage, I found them safe and well in a very nice tent and arguing about which shade of nail varnish went best with their camouflage fatigues. Plus ca change!
No sooner had they seen me, though, than they wanted to leap up and, most uncharacteristically, press on into the uncharted jungle. In real life, of course, they would have started bickering over whether to watch High School Musical 2, Little House on the Prairie or, more likely, something totally unsuitable with a 15 certificate, but this was a nightmare, so off we all went, even though I knew a band of guerillas, or similar menacing scary folk, was sure to be waiting for us in the next clearing.
I woke up, muzzy-headed and feeling very resentful. It didn’t take much to work it out. As True Love has told me crushingly, I have very literal dreams. My children are off on the inexorable path towards adolescence, adulthood and freedom and, far from leading from the front in an Edmund Hilary, inspirational style, I am left dragging my feet at the rear, a reluctant sherpa moaning about the vast quantites of nail varnish I’m having to lug around. The moral of the story: perk up, or get left behind. Oh, all right then.