I love a good daydreaming session. It is, of course, part of the job when you write for children - a delightful part. But beyond the poetic rats, the downtrodden orphans and the crumbling gingerbread mansions that fill my mind and spill out onto the page, there are more realistic things about which I dream over and over again. Things which seem vaguely possible. Things which may, one day, truly come to pass.
Here are my top three daydreams:
1. I will be upgraded to First Class on a flight to Europe. In this fantasy, I am plodding forlornly along the Economy Class aisle of the plane, towards my minuscule seat, when an air-hostess taps me on the shoulder. ‘Excuse me Ma’am,' she says in a Texan accent. (I don't know why it's Texan when, obviously, I'm flying Singapore Airlines or Cathay Pacific.) 'You have been upgraded to First Class.’ My dreaming doesn’t run to the details of fourteen blissful hours in First Class heaven. I don’t dwell on exotic seven-course menus, complimentary pyjamas and slippers or a seat that stretches out into a full-length bed. I just wallow in the pure delight of hearing the words ‘upgraded’ and ‘First Class’ being spoken ... for me. Me!!
2. I am forced to live in a four storey row house on the edge of hilltop village in the Alpes-de-Haute-Provence region of France. Forced to, you hear me? And I have to stay there for a whole year, writing every morning as I sit on the balcony with the view across the valley, then spending the rest of the day dining on cheese, figs, olives and chocolate éclairs, roaming the countryside and speaking fluent French to the locals. (Not bad for someone who can barely ask for two baguettes without muddling the words!)
3. I live on a lush, hilly farm surrounded by quirky, affectionate animals. There is a goat called Feta who sneaks inside to climb the bookcases and trit-trot across the rafters. There is a spotted pig called Harold who sleeps - and snores - in the middle of the kitchen all day long, a hen called Trudy who lays eggs in a hat on my desk and a shy blue tongue lizard called Ralph. Ralph roams the garden in summer but sleeps on the hearthrug in winter. Olive my whippet will be there, of course, joined by a greyhound called Chubs and an enormous rescue dog called Knud. There may even be a monkey. Just a little one ... with very good manners. The animals don’t smell, make a mess, try to eat each other or contract unusual diseases. We live in a state of high health, happiness and harmony. We also drink lots of tea poured from teapots decked in daggy crocheted tea cosies and sup on home-grown vegetables and chocolate éclairs. (I don’t know where the chocolate éclairs come from. Maybe they are flown in daily from that hilltop village in which I was forced to spend an entire year. Maybe my husband and the monkey make them. I'm not fussy, as long as they have fresh cream and plenty of chocolate.)
So there you have it - my fabulous fantasies … or are they my destiny? Only time will tell.
I wonder what fills your daydreams ...