In one of my earlier parts of Chertsey Tales I mentioned Ravens and a dreamland. Although it was an important part of the Tales, I have found it hard to know were to place it. So, I think it may be easier to make it a separate little story.
First of all, I had better explain something. I was the only child in our family to be born in hospital, it was hard birth and there was a fear that my hearing was damaged. I was a very slow talker and relied on my brother Don to speak for me, only making myself understandable when I was about five years old and even then, with a severe stutter. This of course made me very withdrawn and always seeking to hide.
As soon as I was old enough to cross the road, I found my dreamland. Lasswade house, less than 50 yards away, it was partly derelict with a lovely overgrown garden, perfect for me to hide away if things became difficult. I would spend hours over there. My mother always knew where to find me, she never questioned it and seemed to understand why.
Now the story starts, it is 1940, we have been bombed, I have been injured and going in and out of consciousness. I can hear Mrs Salmon speaking softly.
‘Can you hear me luvvie.’
I can just see a blurred movement, I hear my mum, she’s crying.
I feel water splashing over my hair and making my shirt soaking wet, I feel giddy and I’m sliding down a hole. I can hear birds singing and water trickling in a little stream. I am in my dreamland, Lasswade House orchard. It is lovely and warm; I sit on the broken wooden bridge letting the water cool my feet.
I hear voices, they seem to come from the top of a big tree, but there is no one there. Then I see a flutter of wings, two large blackbirds are swaying with the light breeze. Surely, it’s not them, but I’m afraid it may well be, anything can happen when I go into my dreamland.
Before I can move closer to see what is happening, my mates are climbing through the hedge into the orchard, at first, I can’t focus on them, they look a bit odd as if they are floating. They walk right past me without saying anything, I try to touch Goldilocks but there is nothing there to touch.
Of course, I’m having one of my dreams. I stopped telling mum about them a long time ago, anyway I don’t have them very often now, just when I’m worried about something…like now. My mates go into the orchard to do some scrumping, I wish I could join them but that is impossible, they are in another world…they really are!
I move over to the tall Aspin trees to have a closer look at the birds, I know they are Ravens. Chertsey has a lot of Ravens, they go back centuries when they used to keep guard on Chertsey Abbey, now they just get together anywhere since the Abbey was destroyed.
I’m not surprised that they are talking, they are very clever. Mr Wade knows a lot about animals, and he has a little Jackdaw that he has taught to speak, he might even have taught theses to talk as well. I can’t quite hear what the birds are saying, but it sounds like they are having a row. I move closer.
I can just see one of them, it’s a male, he has a funny way of standing on the tree’s branch, he has only got one eye which is making him cock his head to one side in a very peculiar way. I think this is going to be one of my more peculiar dreams.