With some difficulty, I rode a small-scale penny farthing bicycle down a sunny country lane somewhere in England. I turned off the lane and cycled into the well-kept graveyard of a large parish church. Gathered around the door of the church, evidently waiting for me, were lots of my uncles, cousins and assorted family members, who had all gathered there for a family reunion. I knew they wouldn't mind that I was a little late because, for heaven's sake, it's really hard to travel by miniature penny farthing.
Notes for Freudian Interpretation
Just before going to sleep, I'd been reading a book made up of extracts from the Illustrated Police News, the Victorian newspaper that printed sensational crime stories accompanied by often quite lurid engravings. Here are a few of the things I read about before turning out the light, any of which would have provided material for an absolutely gripping dream: a man being thrown into a copper vat of boiling water by his boss; a depressed mother who threw her children into the Thames and another who threw her baby out of a tenement window; a savage mob trying to burn an adulteress alive; and a madman imprisoned in a cellar beneath a domestic kitchen. Odd, then, that I should choose to have a dream inspired by the short and puzzlingly unsensational piece about a cyclist in Brentford who was almost toppled from his penny farthing by a ruffian, but did not, in the end, suffer any harm whatsoever.
It's always surprising what the subconscious decides to fixate on. It's like an annoying child playing with the wrapping paper instead of the present. Bloody ingrate.
However, I expect the bike story ended up as dream material because, at a deep, tribal level, I identified with the Victorian cyclist due to the fact that I've been cycling to work for a few months now. Evidently, while the reports of manual labourers and mentally unsound poor people murdering each other and being executed perturbed me not at all, the notion of a middle class cyclist -- one of my own! -- being roughly treated by a hoodlum caused my primitive brain to experience a degree of agitation that could be soothed only by the creation of a pleasant fantasy in which a bike ride ends in a much more agreeable way.