Posted in Dreams and Nightmares, Fantasy and Science Fiction

Vale of Tears

Dreamed there was a kind of flood disaster; people were standing around looking for help to get their loved ones to safety. When I looked round and said to the nearest person, “please help me get Zipadee out,” he fixed on me and said “help me get my brother out!”, causing me to feel frustration and irritation… how dare other people put their loved ones before mine?

All round me, that was happening… people asking for aid from people asking for aid.

I was too late to save my friend and she turned into a clear raindrop, being borne away in a huge river called The Ocean of Crystal Tears. It looked just like its name; there was no blue, mud or weeds in it, but it roiled and foamed so much you couldn’t see through it to its depths. It was icy cold.

I was telling my sad story to two important elves from The Lord of the Rings… Galadriel and Elrond. As I talked, I held myself firmly in check because I feared I might break down, and they looked as though they would like to weep themselves. But they turned to me and said “your friend is not alone; the River Mississippi saw her plight, and has dived into the Ocean of Crystal Tears to bear her company. It snakes through the centre, warm and brown, sparkling and laughing, enclosing your friend and keeping her safe till the journey’s end, when you will see her again.”

Posted in Fantasy and Science Fiction, Poetry and Verse, Teddy Bears, TV and Films

Alas for the Mailed Warrior!

We watched three movies on Saturday night, one after the other: Merlin (part I); The Lord of the Rings (The Two Towers); The Fifth Element. We didn’t plan to watch The Fifth Element, and Mum would probably have avoided it normally, not having seen it before, but she hesitated during her channel surfing, and I said “this is funny.”

I asked afterwards “which did you like the best?” and Mum said “The Fifth Element.”
I enjoyed all three (we both did) but I liked it the best too. It’s always been one of my favourites.
“It reminded me of The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy”, said Mum – I never thought of that.
“It’s less boring than The Hitchhiker’s” I said. Don’t get me wrong, I loved the book, just as I loved all Douglas Adams’s books, but the old TV series was duller than a Vogon’s poem.

Have you noticed all the deep voices in The Lord of the Rings? When they have something sonorous to say, it’s always by someone with a booming voice. Theoden, King of Rohan, when Helm’s Deep was about to fall, turned aside and thundered gloomily, “Where is the horse and the rider? Where is the horn that was blowing? They have passed like rain on the mountains; like wind in the meadow…” and I clutched all my stuffed toys to my chest and whimpered.

There’s a YouTube clip of it. Also a bit of trivia courtesy of Wikipedia… it’s probably based on an Old English Poem, The Wanderer.

That’s one of the hard things about moving in with Mum… you can’t weep at the sad bits! Teddies are useful for packing all round your face so nobody can see. Unfortunately ‘hearies’ have this annoying ability to hear you breathe. I never realized this till my early 20s, having a furious row with a friend; she said I was breathing rather quickly.

Ever since then I’ve been so sensitive about people hearing me blowing like a grampus at moments of stress that I develop tight bands round my chest in an effort to breathe normally. Thus, when Gandalf is gasping “Fly, you fools!” or Sam (with a crazy Frodo holding a sword to his throat) is pleading “it’s me… your Sam!” or when a mother grieves as her young son is taken away to fight a losing battle, the only thing to do is put teddies all round your head and stop breathing altogether.

Have you tricks for surviving miserable movies?

Posted in Fantasy and Science Fiction, TV and Films

In Good Fellowship

I saw The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring last night – not for the first time. I enjoyed it more than last time, somehow – it felt more as though I was reading the book and ‘seeing’ what was happening, and I wanted to repeat all the sonorous phrases that came rolling off their tongues. I was acting a bit silly for some reason, and when Gandalf paused, sniffed around suspiciously, and frowned, I said “it’s the Balrog!” and waited with bated breath… “blah blah blah blah the Balrog,” he said, and I cheered…

Proof that people over 40 aren’t any less giddy than kids of 14.

Fusspot the Siamese was watching when Gollum turned up. Gollum peered through a gap with his great golden eyes glowing in the night, and Fusspot sat up and stared. He didn’t relax till things started moving again.

I found myself thinking that if we fell through a wormhole in the middle of the night and woke up as characters in The Lord of the Rings, I would probably be Boromir. Nobody wants to be Boromir, though there are a lot of Sean Bean fans about (like me!) I didn’t realize it until, dying on a tree root, he uttered the following words:

“The world of men is failing. All things will turn to darkness.”

Aragorn tells him no – there is hope for us yet. Trouble is, I think many imagine that we live largely in a world of light, perhaps with war beating at the door, but I think there are a lot of orcs right in here with us, along with wizards like Saruman. The Shire is the achievable ideal, and we’re moving further away from that all the time.

It’s not a world of light yet. Nowhere near.

Edit Feb 2008: Comments to this post when it was on Blogigo:

Iain wrote at Nov 9, 2006 at 00:26:
re if LOTR had been written by someone else, here’s an enormous thread you might find entertaining – it’s patchy, but some bits are very good.

Diddums wrote at Nov 9, 2006 at 20:11:
Boy, they really went to town. I was only able to read 3 or 4 pages before my brain seized up, but one of my favourites was the Mary Poppins version.

Posted in Books, Pet-Minding, TV and Films

My Very Own Lost World

An experience from June 2004:

I walked Thundercloud and managed to get lost in a wood. Setting off between the cool trees, I felt uneasy. Lots of people walk this way, but what if one of those big black ‘Beasts of Bodmin Moor’ (or whatever) is around somewhere, perhaps lurking just behind the next bush?

There was a sharp dip in the ground where we had to cross a muddy runlet – Thundercloud stopped and looked round anxiously. She seemed to sense something, and didn’t know if she should go on. I clapped her rump and said “move”. If there was a big black beast around, crouching behind a tree stump, the best thing was to keep on our way – confidently and noisily. Cats, I can handle. I’ve got three of my own at home.

I thought I knew that route but it didn’t turn out how I expected. The track went on and on – and on. I thought it would continue to the edge of the world, the forest never-ending and the burn meandering forever through its tangled groove.

The track disappeared, and we passed through a dark mossy ‘basin’ – dank, depressing, and filled with crisp packets and empty beer cans. My sandals sank into the moss and very little light filtered through the overhanging trees. Eventually we scrambled up a steep bank and emerged into a field I didn’t recognize. I looked around disbelievingly. I couldn’t remember any of my previous walks ending up here. It was like reaching out to touch the back of the wardrobe and ending up in Narnia.

I took a step or two along the edge of the field, then turned to see where I had come up, and it wasn’t visible. It was all grass, shrubs and trees. I had visions of myself hunting desperately for the way back, so memorized the landmarks – those houses just visible over there – that gorse bush over there – best of all, the blasted oak. Yes, that’s the guy. Better still, let’s just go straight back down.

It was like crawling down a hole into the dark underworld. Thundercloud kept shoving her nose into the long grass all around as though she was convinced something had died in there. “No,” I thought, “I can’t go back down there! Not where the dead beer cans are!” I hesitated, then remembered the band of gritty adventurers in The Lord of the Rings. A brown blackbird suddenly whirred down into the hole and was gone. “If birds are about, there can’t be anything nasty lurking…” It was like a sign.

Going back down, we pushed our way through a large patch of nettles – my legs were bare but I didn’t particularly care, just got on with it. Thundercloud decided she wasn’t so keen on the nettles and let me go ahead while she sheltered her sensitive nose behind me.

We slunk back along the dark path, trees crowding in close and twigs snapping underfoot. Sometimes, just as I was walking along a precarious bit with a sudden drop beside me, Thundercloud would slither rapidly down the hill and barge into my legs.

I thought to myself “if this was the Lost World I wouldn’t last more than two minutes. I would scuffle straight along this path till a T-Rex or a litter of raptor babies appeared, and then I’d just scream and run along the path some more till they got their act together and brought me down. Thundercloud would be no help – she would yank the leash out of my hand and run a bit faster than me. Maybe she would get home to N. while the baby raptors were still chewing on my bones. If I managed to hold onto her she’d help me fight them but that seems a bit mean as they’d just eat her too. Would I make her stay or let her run? She’s quite strong and pulls me along with her, so I think I’d hang on!”

Having settled that to my satisfaction, I jumped when something popped up behind a fallen log – but it was just a large golden retriever, bending a motherly eye on Thundercloud. Behind her came a human mother with her children and a second retriever. I was quite relieved to find there was other raptor fodder about.

By the time Thundercloud and I got all the way back to where we started, I’d had enough and thought “let’s just go straight back to N.’s”. It was only 10 minutes from where we stood but our hour was already up.

The nettle stings tingled all night.

I remember a story told by Mum – or was it Gran? Boys chased her home from school and she ran straight through a patch of nettles, knowing they wouldn’t dare follow her – and they didn’t! I didn’t remember the story till I had already tramped stolidly through the nettle patch and gone home. Getting back to civilization was more important than any little dangers and inconveniences such as hostile vegetation, tree roots, steep precipices and rusting beer cans.

Posted in Books, Dreams and Nightmares, My Cats

Things in the Pools

I was reading back over stuff I wrote before, and found this old dream I had in February 2004.

The three of us went on holiday to a UK nature reserve, and we took all our cats with us. We didn’t bother to pen them up – they came everywhere with us, both in the car and on their own paws.

In a forest, Mum and my sister stopped to pick wild mushrooms, putting them in a straw basket. On my way to join them I saw Mum’s accident-prone cat Cheeky, right in the corner of the forest. She had wandered away by herself and got tangled up in two trees at the same time. I told Mum and we went back to disentangle her, but she had disappeared by that time.

Off we set to an indoors area where there were artificial pools. They were supposed to be full of trout, salmon, water snakes, otters, beavers and anything else that swam… but everywhere I looked, I only saw our cats. For instance, Sharky and J. were swimming together in a particularly rocky pool, past a small waterfall.

I thought it was hilarious, but my sister didn’t look at any of the cats, just walked straight past them. I didn’t want her to miss their antics, so I kept grabbing her shoulder and pointing here, there, and everywhere, and she would turn with a look of anticipation on her face. But when she found it was just grumpy old Grumble, boring old Sharky, or Cheeky splashing around in her usual manner, she would pointedly ignore me and walk away. She didn’t understand why I would go to the trouble of pointing out our own cats when we could be looking at pale-eyed otters or hump-backed salmon.

Not that we could see any…

A possible trigger of the dream: I was reading The Lord of the Rings at the time. Only the day before, the hobbits finally caught up with Gollum, and they were discussing the terrain. He hissed “There are snakeses, wormses, things in the pools.” I liked it so much I went around hissing it to myself – the cats purred at me, their eyes gleaming through slits.