I’d a particularly fraught dream last night; these slumber visions playing out in a huge indoor labyrinth. A highly unsettling set of events where I’d been informed by the labyrinths owner, who went by the moniker Mr G Roundhog-Day, my liberty could only be secured by prevailing in a set of gruelling, idiosyncratic challenges.

Among them a kind of half-assed version of ‘Ready, Steady, Cook’, where I was commanded to develop a COVID-19 vaccine with only sugar, eggs and flour as my ingredients.

Angst ridden at the impossible mission I’d been given, as this nightmare evolved, I utilised the raw materials to bake a light, moist Victoria Sponge Cake. On presenting the cake to the judge, she took a bite and despite an approving nod, confrontationally barked “Will this cake cure the coronavirus?”

“What’s the penalty if it doesn’t?” I nervously enquired.

“You’ll be exterminated by electronic food whisk!” the She-Devil growled with relish.

“Ok!” I gulped. Before adding “In that case, yes it will!” from an arid mouth

Will it really?!” chirped the the lady excitedly, her mood now lightening. Going on to inform me “Good lad!….. Move onto the next challenge next door!”

Thank you, your majesty!!” I toadied in the judge’s direction. Then turning to dash from the room prior to her chancing upon the truth this comfort cake wasn’t a fit for purpose pathogen vaccine….. Consequently, avoiding my death by electronic food whisk.

While waiting outside of chamber two, yours truly entertained myself by flicking playing cards into a top hat. The entertainment I gleaned from this simple pastime as unexpected as randomly finding a top hat with a pack of playing cards in an otherwise bare corridor.

This rare piece of brio within the dream soon ended when I was heavy handily dragged into the adjacent room by a couple of large henchmen. These thugs, clad in the one size fits all fleeced uniform worn on BBC TV’s Bargain Hunt, pushing me into the chamber where I’d undergo my second examination of capability.

This new challenge to be undertaken taking place in a completely empty ballroom, apart from the far left corner. Here a guy looking a bit like TV chef Anthony Worrall-Thompson sat on a rickety looking beach deckchair.

After a menacing pause of half a minute, or so, he looked me up and down from a distance of around 20 feet. As I commenced walking towards him on the polished beechwood floor, within two steps, he bellowed menacingly “Don’t you dare come any nearer!”

“Errrr…. Okay!” I acquiesced, in self-protection mode.

Tell me!” he blustered cacophonously, “Do you think I look like a bit like TV chef Anthony Worrall-Thompson (AMT)?!”

Errrr….. Yes!” I responded sheepishly. Remaining utterly lost as to where these labyrinth incarnation scenes were routing.

“And tell me further!” he bellowed at the same unnecessarily high aural volume. “Do you think this deckchair on which I’m perched looks rickety?”

With dream continuing unabated, yet again I cautiously replied “Errrr….. Yes!”

Standing from his deckchair, the Worrall-Thompson lookalike started maniacally growling like the lion whose roar precedes Metro Goldwyn Mayer movies. The terror enhanced by the fact he bore sable-like canine teeth…… Incidentally, that’s the fellow in my night vision, not the lion, which you’d probably take as read!

Now strolling towards me purposefully with confrontation immersed visage. This guy stopped inches from my face. As we stared into each others eyes, through gritted teeth the AWT doppelgänger growled “Do you answer Yes to every question?!”

“Yes!….. Errr, I mean no!” I bumbled nervously in my slumber.

With face still inches from mine, AWT enquired with further bluster “Do you like my new beechwood floor?!

“Yes!” I assured him, still at a complete loss as to the storyboard’s ultimatum destination.

“So you are a yes man, then!” my inquisitor sneered.

Angry at this incorrect sniping, I snapped back “No I’m not!…. I genuinely think you look like Anthony Worrall-Thompson, that deckchair does appear rickety and the beechwood floor is a fine piece of carpentry!……. I wasn’t attempting to blow smoke up your ass!” 

“Ok, ok!….. Keep your hair on” the AMT clone proffered in calmer tones….. Seconds later sheepishly enquiring “Incidentally, you couldn’t lend me a few hundred quid so I can furnish this place, could you?…… I think I’ve overdone the minimalist decor I sought to achieve.” 

“Can you bollocks!!” I retorted tersely, furious at his confrontational demeanour in our earlier exchanges.

“Can you not even spare a few bob so I can buy a more robust deckchair?!” I was asked, to which my response was as above.

“Ok! Fair does….. Was worth a try though!” the now calm inquisitor ruefully muttered; prior to informing me “You might as well b*gger off next door for your final test, then!”

On entering the next room, which was again empty apart from an elderly lady peering outside through a pair of net curtains, my slumber vision ended.

Upon waking, I grinned wearily while mulling over the idiosyncratic narrative which’d played out as I’d slept. After simultaneously yawning and stretching arms sideways, I resolved not to lay any longer ensconced within my pit. Instead disembarked from bed and headed downstairs for breakfast.

On entering the kitchen, my mother (with whom I currently reside) politely asked “Would you like a cup of tea, Gary?”

Before I’d an opportunity to respond in the affirmative, the matriarch enquired further “By the way, why are you wearing a top hat?”