The Mysterious Adventure Restaurant in the Woods

Had a wierd, wonderful and detailed dream – perhaps only remembered because I had to wake up at 4.30am to catch the train to London, and doing so caught me mid-dream. As is always the case, I remember very little of the details or the early stages of the dream, more of the feel of it. I was together with my family – extended version, the same people who accompany us to family camps (Gill, Rowan and Morgan, obviously, plus my Mum & Dad, Lib, John & Alice. I don’t remember whether Hannah and Jon were also there).

Our group had all been for a meal at some wonderful but bizarre restaurant – the restaurant was largely open air (or under that type of clear-plastic tent that you might find used to cover a patio). It seemed to fill a whole forest (of the old English beech variety – lots of big leafy spaces and a carpet of rust-orange leaves glowing from the floor) and other areas of countryside. We had finished our meal and paid, and were in the act of leaving when I discovered from the waiter that Guy & Annick were eating at the same establishment.

I had wanted to see Guy earlier, but he had told me that he had a prior engagement. Now I knew what it was. Of course, only being happy with the finest things in life, he had opted for the prime table in the restaurant – which was also the table deepest into the woods. Now, this restaurant you see played a little like an adventure game – to get through it you had to solve certain tasks and dodge certain adversaries. Some of these, of course, I was already familiar with, having dealt with them in the trek to reach our own table. But I was concerned at what challenges I might face later on in the game (and, of course, being an adventure game, the puzzles got tougher the futher one went). My family were disparaging, wanting simply to leave quickly, but they allowed me my whim. I gradually realised, with growing fear, that it would be more than this – it could take me hours, days, weeks to solve the remaining puzzles, and there was no guarantee that I would return alive – perhaps some cunning wood goblin would pick me off with an arrow, or another foe would vanquish me with similar ease.

But set off I did. The early puzzles, which I had solved once already, merely served to bore me. I remember cycling with Lib, John and Alice for what seemed like miles, up and down hills, waiting for the slower cyclists to catch up at the crest of every hill. Later parts confused me, and merged one into another. The restaurant’s mysterious gardener seemed to appear in many of them; a dark, mysterious figure in thick soiled gloves, he spent much of his time loitering in a greenhouse, and would not have looked out of place inhabiting a Thomas Hardy novel, the author giving him an unusual name such as Zadoc which sounded both noble and low.

Sadly, just as this dream starts to sound interesting, my memory begins to fade and merge. I did complete many tasks, got scared out of my wits on a number of occasions, puzzled over seemingly insoluble problems, but ultimately didn’t reach Guy & Annick (although I did find time to imagine their surprise on seeing me – “wow! We never expected to see you here, so glad you managed to track us down” – but tempered with a little uncertainty – they had obviously been dwelling on deeply personal matters and were somewhat uncomfortable at having their summit interrupted at a crucial stage).

beep beep Beep Beep BEEP BEEP BEEP! The alarm on my phone went, I leapt out of bed, and the mystery adventure restaunt in the woods disappeared into the back of my mind forever.