Last night I dreamed that I had a visit from Margaret Rutherford.
She arrived wearing a lime-green tweed suit and a bizarre shell-shaped hat that made her look as if she’d been doing a photographic shoot for Angus McBean.
In reality - or what passes for it in Dreamland - my guest looked so unlike the late Margaret Rutherford (right), being as thin as a string-bean and completely bald, that I now wonder how I recognised her. I think I merely assumed that, when acting in movies, she wore a wig and a great deal of padding.
I had some difficulty in getting her up to my flat as she got waylaid by a West Indian family downstairs who insisted on having autographs and photographs and only let her go after they had made a formal presentation of a bottle of very dubious-looking wine.
I cooked a pizza, which my guest picked at politely whilst sitting on the edge of my bed. We talked, but she didn’t seem to remember very much about her career and displayed a rather surprising hostility towards the character of Miss Jane Marple.
I kept meaning to ask for an autograph but kept forgetting and suddenly it was time for her to leave.
As I escorted Margaret Rutherford down to the Thames where her boat was to collect her, she said that she might like me to write her life story but would rather wait and see what she thought of my biography of Peter Jackson, if and when it was ever published.
At the riverbank, she was accosted by a local uniformed policeman who allegedly wanted her advice on some crime he was investigating. This, however, proved merely a ruse to get her autograph, which he did - in a copy of a child’s picture book about 'Andy Pandy'.
Eventually, a speedboat careered into sight with my guest’s husband, Stringer Davis, at the wheel. She stepped aboard - still clutching the bottle of West Indian wine - and away they sped up the Thames with her waving her shell-hat in a majestic salute…
Sometimes I wonder: what if we’ve got it all wrong and things are really the other way about, so that what we THINK is waking is actually the DREAMING…?