Ten years on, and I still have the occasional nightmare. Now, I’m not averse to a bad dream…indeed, in this line of work, they can occasionally prove useful…but these particular ones are a bit different.
The details vary, but the the shape is essentially the same. I’m a computer programmer at some sort of nameless institution that is probably a bank. Something very bad has happened. I am not going to be allowed to go home until it’s been fixed. Quite often I’m hot-desking, wandering around an ever-shifting labyrinth of corridors in search of a computer to use. On one occasion I find myself carrying a duvet as well – because, of course, there is no question of being allowed to go home until the problem is sorted. Sometimes I even find myself dreaming in UNIX. Old habits, it seems, die very, very hard.
And then I wake up and realise that – well, I don’t do this sort of thing any more. Neither of us do.
Incredibly, March 4th marked the tenth anniversary of our moving to Venice.
March 4th 2012 didn’t begin all that well. The two of us were so stressed we genuinely couldn’t remember if we were flying out from Gatwick or Heathrow. We did, thankfully, finally decide on the right one although – thinking back – I’m still not one hundred percent certain which it was. I remember sitting down with a coffee at the airport and realising that, for the first time in my adult life, I no longer possessed a key for anything; a thought that was simultaneously liberating and terrifying.
And then…well, you know what came next. If you don’t, then some bloke called Philip Gwynne Jones has written a book about it. Suffice to say that everything changed. Italy gave us a second chance and we will always be grateful for that.
As for the nightmares…they’re few and far between these days. Dave Brock of Hawkwind even turned up in a recent one and told me it was going to be all right. That, I thought, was a good sign.
We have keys in our pockets again, now. Thank you Italy!