Nicole Kidman and the guinea pig

MY wife has dreams.

This is not unusual. We all have dreams. I have dreams.

On a bleary Sunday morning when my dream is still a froth of bubbles floating on the surface of my thoughts I might remember it was about Russia, or that it involved bricks.

This is not how my wife dreams. She takes minutes as detailed as those of a parliamentary cabinet meeting.

For instance, last night she was talking to Nicole Kidman. Nicole had a bag of marijuana and a cricket bat.

They discussed, for a while, the fact that, having flushed the guinea pig down the lavatory, its chances of survival were slim.

This was an academic question, not an emotional one, and in any event when they moved into the dining room, which was actually a hair-dressing salon, the guinea pig was sitting there having a blow-dry, which surprised neither of them.

I could go on. The dream did, for at least 10 more minutes of narrative. Let me say right now that if anyone can interpret this dream, don’t get in touch with me.

I don’t want to know what it means.

Mostly I’m just stunned that the human brain can remember the minutiae of an event so bizarre you’d seriously have to consider whether you should change all the knives in the kitchen drawer for plastic ones.

Personally I think dreams are just the sink-tidy of the mind – the place you chuck the tea leaves, the skin off the onion and the little clusters of rice that stick to the saucepan.

But what if they’re not? What if dreams really do have meanings that are significant to our lives?

Should I have my wife locked up?

Oh, I know lots of people dream weird things, but they don’t video tape them to memory so they can frighten their families over the breakfast table.

And I thought dreams were supposed to occupy only the brief seconds before we woke.

My wife’s dreams are so long I think she starts them before she goes to sleep. I used to remember dreams when I was a kid. They fell into two categories: being conned into thinking I was weeing in the toilet when I was still in bed; and arriving at a crowded school without my trousers.

Anxiety dreams, I think they’re called.

Occasionally I dreamt I was flying and for some reason this always imparted a sense of enormous well-being, even though I couldn’t tell you what I was flying in, or where to, or whether I had Nicole Kidman with me.

And if I could remember, I probably wouldn’t tell. Not over breakfast, where you can see the family checking the escape routes in case they have to make a run for it.