Dreams and Phantasms

I had one of the oddest dreams I’ve ever had last night. The point where I remember it from is being in a very dusty oldfashioned shop with tall wooden cupboards and odd bits of machinery. I don’t remember the shopkeeper at all. Where this begins was with looking at an engraving of a pair of rather spiffy lace knee-highs (which I often wear). I said I liked them, and the shopkeeper said, ah, we have rather a special process. We can just put that picture on this xerox machine, d’you see, and in just a moment, you’ll find a real pair in the duplicate tray. So I told him to go ahead, and we all watched the exit slot of the xerox machine with some interest. What emerged was a small, flat pork pie, which fell to the floor because the collection tray was missing. I had taken off my sandals, in order to try on the lace stockings, and the pie glided purposefully towards one of them and took a bite out of it. Since it was obviously malevolent, I shied something at it, and it shot under a cupboard. The shopkeeper and I routed for it with an old walking stick, producing a collection of dust-bunnies, old red shoelaces, and cotton reels. The pie resisted arrest and was heard growling … At that point the old dog started barking and woke me up. We now have a new bathroom, quayte layke a dream of modern life, or at least, noticeably more like one than the bathroom as it was. Tomorrow we hope to move back to our own quarters. But of all the dreams and visions of the day, the most welcome has been the (not in himself, unusually lovely) person of the Recommended Slater. Getting hold of this individual, whom we have been on the trail of for about 18 months, has been like hunting the Unicorn only with less wear & tear on virgins. Anyway, he turned up today, at long last, and has put up scaffolding. He decided to start on the wall alongside my study, which has caused conniptions. One leg of the scaffolding impedes my door: Miss Kit can get out, and so can Miss BF, but I can’t. The animals are creatures of fixed habit. My study door is THEIR door. I will have to take Miss Kit for her last ablutions via the front and what she will have to say about this, I can’t think.

24 Responses to “Dreams and Phantasms”

  1. Eleanor Says:

    Ha ha ha — I LOVE this dream! A growling pie!

  2. Jane Says:

    I can now add, I wasn’t wrong about Miss Kit — it has taken half an hour of buggering about in the dark to achieve her night time ablutions, due to approaching the garden from the WRONG ANGLE, as far as I can see.

  3. Jon Says:

    Pork pies can never be trusted.

  4. Will Says:

    Amongst various other dreams last night - including losing my passport, a plane crash, a car crash, death and destruction - I dreamt I was remarrying my ex-wife. Not sure which is worse. In fact the worse bit was not the various guests who I would never invite in the first place, but the fact that my father and brother nipped off to get a glass of champagne.. and didn’t bring me one back!

  5. Jill Says:

    Lace stocking, a pork pie with a avenging spirit? Could you be channeling Angela Carter in this intriguing dream?

  6. Jane Says:

    Peter here: I remember suddenly that Andrew used to buy a sort of pie called a “growler pie”, have we a subliminal pun?

  7. Jane Says:

    I seem to have started another trail — come on chaps, beat 17! According to Google, ‘growler’ is a Yorkshire term for a pork pie, which I don’t think I ever heard through six quite happy years in that city (on the other hand, the happinesses of that six years didn’t, at any point I recall, involve a pork pie). I don’t recall Dr Biswell using the term either, but I think that in 19th century usage, a meat pie referred to as a growler was a pie of low & dubious quality — not so low that the contents might be human (as in the Sweeny Todd tales, where the barber’s victims end up as Mrs Lovett’s hem-hem pies), but low enough that they might once have gone woof. Perhaps Dr Biswell, though currently rather preoccupied, might elucidate? Consult your slang dictionaries! The hunt is up!

  8. Jon Says:

    Careless investigation of “growler” as slang could lead to all sorts of trouble, I fear. Dr Biswell, when unleashed on the case, might indicate whether there’s a connection.

    More politely, I recall being told you could tell when you’d left the environs of Birmingham and arrived in greater Coventry by bread rolls becoming “batches” rather than “cobs”.

  9. cp Says:

    growlers & beer.

    and lace knee-highs. why lace?

  10. Jill Says:

    I’m still on the case with Angela Carter- bets are on. In Nights At the Circus, there is this reference:”After he’d departed in a growler back to his manse in Deptford…” Where is the good Doctor when we need him?

  11. Jane Says:

    A ‘growler’ in that sense is a kind of hansom cab: perhaps it growled over cobbled streets more than ther varieties?

  12. Jane Says:

    A growler is actually a non-hansom cab, though both are hackney carriages: “When taking a cab, one had two choices. First was the standard four-wheeler, or “growler.” The growler saw its best use by groups of more than two people. But if one or two persons, such as a master detective and his friend doctor, wanted a swift ride through the city, a different cab was more to their liking: the hansom.”

  13. Will Says:

    I suddenly fancy a trip to Huddersfield for a Pukka Pie.

  14. Jill Says:

    Witty alliteration aside, what, prey tell, is a Pukka Pie?

  15. Jane Says:

    From company website: ‘Pukka Pies is an independant company based in Leicestershire. We only bake pies with our name on them. In 1963 Trevor Storer founded Trevor Storer’s Handmade Pie Company which started the smallest of bakeries and set about selling great tasting pies. His first creation was the Steak and Kidney Pie and it was Trevor’s wife Valerie who produced the recipe for the Chicken and Mushroom Pie which like all the pies, remains the exact recipe today. He baked the pies on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays and sold them on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays. Trevor opened 13 accounts on the first day and sold 1,200 pies in the first week. By the end of the first year he employed just 12 members of staff. Pukka Pies now sell over 60 million a year and have 280 members of staff.’
    They have rather splendidly retro packaging. I’m actually rather surprised that they’re as late as 1963. The general appearance & the use of (Anglo-Indian) ‘pukka’ made me think, insofar as I’ve ever thought about them, that they’d been about since the Edwardian era.

  16. Lampy Says:

    Too much cheese perhaps?

  17. Jane Says:

    Doubt it - with the Prof on a strict diet (he has lost two stone) cheese doesn’t feature. I eat a bit myself, because I use no milk & feel I need the calcium at may tayme of layfe. But not much, & not just before bed time!

  18. Jill Says:

    In keeping with your penchant for musical references, “The Heat Is On”. or was. Has your challenge been met?

  19. Jane Says:

    Yes it has!

  20. The Man From Maryport Says:

    Growlers of the highest quality may be purchased at the estimable Tebay Farm Shop at Westmorland Services on the M6 . . . though I confess the one in your dream sounds like the bastard spawn of The Great International Christmas Pudding & the Alien . . .

  21. Jane Says:

    O Sage (and onions) of Cumbria, what IS a growler as currently understood? A pork pie (the pie in my dream was definititely a pork pie, of the small, third of its diameter in height, variety, but it clearly had a hot-water crust and a pork interior could be inferred. But is not Dr Biswell’s growler at heart and essence a beef pie — or beef and onion, beef and potato, or suchlike? I ask for that I do not know. Nor am I prepared to guess as to the comparative homicidal tendencies of the beef or pork varieties of hand held pastry.

  22. The Man From Maryport Says:

    The Pie Detectives will be paying a visit to Tebay en route back to Cumbria on Thursday night, so will make a full report. I suspect that beef features somewhere in the picture . .

  23. The Man From Maryport Says:

    Hot news from the cutting edge of artisanal piemanship oop north . . . the Growlers of Tebay (possibly the title of a long-forgotten JB Priestley novella) are delicious. Lusciously calorific pastry encasing minced beef liberally dosed with Tewkesbury mustard. More please!

  24. Jill Says:

    Followed by a pint of Brodie’s Prime, presumably. Ah, the thought of it. Thank you.

Leave a Reply