Last night's dream was a good example. For some reason, I was meeting a London-based Friend and planning a journey to get there. The dream tube map was more complicated than the real one; as is frequent, the Metropolitan line had more close-to-each-other endings, miniature branch lines and similar messinesses than it ever did in real life, even when it originally covered what all of we now know today as the Metropolitan, East London and Hammersmith & City lines. There was also a bit of the line which wasn't connected to anywhere else, but which was apparently still the same line. (Wasn't the Jubilee Line Extension like this for a while, come to think of it?)
For some reason I had to take the Waterloo & City line, which is the little turquoise effort you see terminating at Bank on my icon above-left. In real life, this shuttles between exactly two stations: Waterloo and Bank. (I have no better explanation for why it's called Waterloo & City rather than Waterloo & Bank, or WaterBank, or Bankerloo, than that Bank - which itself is named and situated after the Bank of England - is considered to be the heart of the City of London.) In my dream, it had a third stop. I think on the map this was a branch line. The branch diverted a little way to the right of Bank and the whole line might even have been south of the Thames. I suspect that the third stop was called something like North Stansted (which would be inaccurate by a mere 45 miles or so) or North Stepney. In practice, when I ended up taking the train (rather than being a passenger inside the train, I was sitting on top of it, hanging on for dear life), the train went through North St-whatever-it-was and very shortly indeed afterwards stopped at Bank.
Now somewhere along the short journey I had remembered - or had heard over a PA system - that people weren't meant to take the train to the very end of the line, for it was abandoned at the far end. When the train came to a halt, instead of clinging on to the top of the back end of the train, I was clinging on to the top of the front end of it - and ended up being thrown off the front of the train onto the tracks, or more specifically onto some bushes on top of them. This was temporarily very scary indeed, but I learned that the third (power) rail was not live and that I could get out safely. I had the worrying sensation of being somewhere that I was meant not to be and knowing it, but I managed to get out OK. (Don't think I ended up meeting said Friend in the end, though; I think that getting to Bank just left me closer to my final destination.)
Anyway, not long after I got up, rialtus e-mailed me a link to Disused Stations on London's Underground, which I felt to be more than a little coincidental. Thanks, Carl. As it happens, the site is one of my bookmarked Favourites already, probably from addedentry's own bookmarks, but this only goes to show how well you know my tastes!
The strange thing is that was quite a restrained London Underground dream by the usual standards. There was a very peculiar one about walking along the track of what was probably the Croydon Tramlink, except that it could be described as a downward helix of remarkably tight radius akin to fairgrounds' helter-skelters, or to the introductory sequence of the psychedelic 1980 ITV kids' show Jamie and the Magic Torch. If only the real tube were as much fun.
The second most frequent subject for my dreams amusement arcades, particularly those of Blackpool. These dreams are always fraught with danger of seeing something that I'd rather not see (sorry, I'm not saying what) so generally more worrying and less enjoyable. In general, my dreams are a lot less fetishy/sexy than they used to be, which is mildly disappointing. (No specifics.) You might infer from this that I am rather more satisfied with my attitudes to sexuality than I used to be and so don't need to explore things through my dreams. You might also infer from this that while I find light rail systems and their maps wonderful and worthy of much consideration whether awake or asleep, I do not find them sexy. Sorry.
Onto more practical matters. Today was the sixth meeting of the Cleveland Speakers' Club, which saw the Christmas party. There were possibly 17-20 people there (most of the normal 12-13 attendees plus spouses). Games played included Call My Bluff (based on the TV show - pick the real definition of a word from three), a quiz race with questions based on TV listings, co-operative story writing game Consequences, a couple of rolling quizzes and a What's My Line? / Twenty Questions "Whose name do I have on my back?" game. The buffet was a good feast: open sandwiches (tuna, egg, chicken-and-mushroom, crab and the dreaded cheeseslaw), sausage rolls, corned beef pie, crisps, cheese cubes and pickled onions. There were many prizes to be had by all: I got a King Size Twix for identifying that I had Darth Vader on my back - ooer, titter ye not, missus - and all the teams got prizes in the TV listings game. (In my case, a little book about Leonardo da Vinci - published by Robinson, no less!) There was also a raffle, into which I donated a Terry's Chocolate Orange and received a really quite beautiful gift pack containing body/face lotion, wrapped soap, sponge, a purple starfish-ish candle and a hand-painted jar to keep them all in. (Naturally, the pack stacks the goodies on top of the jar to make the package look more impressive, rather than inside the jar.) Not a man's prize, perhaps, but definitely the better side of the bargain.
Really not very sure about my long-term involvement with the Cleveland Speakers' Club. The people there are very nice but are all 15-35 years older than me and so I find it hard to make particular friends there. Never mind. (More seriously, I'm not actually convinced that they are particularly good speakers or that my speaking would/will improve very much as a result of membership.) Certainly worth doing at least for one year, though.
Came back to a lovely mail from addedentry, in which he points out the existence of fivemack, a friend from university. Owen and I had long joked that he must have a LiveJournal simply because he is so much the LiveJournalist type - but, until now, we hadn't found his journal. Ah, my. Lovely bloke, brilliant mind, deep thinker, fine writer, one to watch. huskyteer also very kindly alerted me to a job that I think I would enjoy and for which I will apply, which is the first such one I've seen for about four months. Yikes!
Things are definitely looking better than usual right now. Long may the upswing continue!