Handmade Book

Pen and ink and typed text on Arches watercolor paper


About Dreams of Reality. Reality of Dreams

Reality of Dreams on the left-side of the book is the reality narrative of car accident when I was 23 that 'wrote-off' my first car in the first week of having it, I hadn't even finished paying for it. The accident was with an uninsured driver and I was naive enough at that age to believe the costs could be recovered if I put in the effort.  It is truly laughable to think I ever believed that. On the right-side of the book are layers and layers of narrations of dreams dreamed or dreams felt as I emotionally came to terms with the loss of several miscarriages, one that left me fighting for my life in London Hospital the year before. I was trying at that age to reconcile the reality of losing children and then the added reality of losing my first car.


Dreams of Reality. Reality of Dreams won the Pamela Oven Prize, the art critic Tony Godrey wrote of the piece " This is an extraordinary piece of work. It is one of the best attempts to provide an equivalent to different levels of experience - verbal and visual, confessional, anecdotal and speculative - I have read."




“Oh man, your beautiful car, it’s gone, they’ve fucking smashed it, it’s gone, it’s gone.”


“Is he alright? He's alright ain’t he? Nothing happened to him, his not hurt or anything is he?”


“He didn’t stop, he just came right out. No, not fast but he just kept coming, right into the front wing. The wheels pushed in, I hope it can be fixed.”


“Well he told me he was me was insured, though he didn’t give me their name. He tried to drive off but his car wasn’t going anywhere, silly bastard then went and hit the fucking bollard.”


“His going “we don’t need the police, yer got me name, here it is, that’s me name.”


“He didn’t want to let the ambulance woman to speak to the passenger  at the front of his car, she was hysterical.”


It wasn’t his car, it belongs to the woman at work, well he said he was insured.”


“I bet he fucking ain’t”


“Good morning can I speak to Jane Ibbinson please, yes I’ll hold.”


“Hello, this Jane Ibbinson, well…er….um could you hold a moment?”


“Hello, I’m Miss Ibbinson’s manageress…you see she was doing Adrian a favor by borrowing him the car, you see he isn’t insured for the car he was driving, can you say Miss Ibbinson was driving?”


“No, the police know who was driving. I thought someone was going to say something like that, so he isn’t insured?”


“Hello, is that the recovery service? It’s about the Ford Escort you brought in last night. Yes, from Kilburn, the silver one V reg. What exactly is the damage? Can it be repaired? How much will it cost?”


“Can you ring back at 4 o’clock and I’ll have a look for you?”


“Engliegh Insurance? My car was involved in an accident last night, I wonder if you could tell me whether Mr Adrian Smith was on her insurance?”


“No, only a Mrs Ibbinson, it wasn’t Mrs Ibbinson was it?”




Hello, is that the recovery service? It’s about the silver Escort, you said to ring back at 4 o’clock. How much? £1,000 to £2,000? Beyond economical repair? The steering, suspension, axle and body shell. Oh, yes, she was a nice car. Do you think you could do a written estimate of the repairs, and is it possible to get a second estimate the insurance needs two. Oh, only when the car can be fixed? So I need only one, well thank you anyway. I’ll get back to you on Monday then.”


“Hello, can I speak to Miss Ibbinson please…Mr Thomas, thanks. Oh hello Miss ibbinson, who? Yes, I’ll hold…oh the manageress, I’ve phoned about the repairs and they estimate, they are at the moment, if it is repairable between one or two thousand pounds…look that car was beautiful before, there wasn’t a scratch on her…look do you know anything about how the body of the Mark II Escort is constructed on the unitary system? That means the body and the chassis is build in together…. that car was perfect before your employee choose to drive into the side of it…have you seen the damage to the car? Look I don’t know what your employee has been telling you, but if you’re that interest go and have look at the car for yourself.”


“She said the damage was done before.”


“Fucking bitch, what does she know about it?”


“Please god, let it be repairable. If it had been another car it wouldn’t have mattered, we get the best car we’ve ever had and it’s bloody gone in 8 days. Eight days, it bloody unbelievable, why that car, why that night, why, why, why?” We must have some rights? Someone can’t just drive around without insurance and get away with it. So he has 7 days to produce his documents before they arrest the bastard. God, you know, he could have killed someone.”


“Here are some herbal tranquilizers. No take five you need it. My stomach aches, I feel really tense, god, I’d like to kill that bastard.”


“Morning. Sleep well? Me neither. I couldn't stop thinking about it, it’s really gutting ain’t it? Eight days. I was going to go to the seaside to do some work this weekend, and could have gone to Thetford forest and seen my aunt Bet. I want to cry.”


“What a bloody Sunday.”


“Well try to relax we can’t do anything till tomorrow anyway.



“I’ll go to the Citizens Advice bureau.”


“Rich, Rich.”


“Where were you? So what did the Citizen Advice Bureau say? Write him a letter… go for the driver first. Alright let’s get going”


“Make a cup of tea, oh go on.”


“Hello, I wonder whether you could help me, my car was involved in an accident on Friday night, and I wondered would you give me some advice? Well he wasn’t insured…I’m third-party fire & theft…yes I know….his fault. He just came out of a junction and hit the front wing of the car…well I’ve written a draft…oh…hold him fully responsible and I intend to claim costs. Okay, ask him for his insurance…if he doesn’t have any, ask how he intends to deal with the matter. Right..yes…umm….yes….umm…right…yes….umm..okay…yes…umm…umm..umm. Well, I’ll do that…right…one to Miss Ibbinson…my insurance…send it registered delivery, okay…umm…umm…right, thanks, you’ve been a real help…yes, I’ll need all the luck I can get…thanks again…yes…bye.”


“Well lets get this letter to him.”


“Hello, can I speak to Adrian Smith please..oh his gone out…I’ve just missed him…when will he be back? Five minutes to an hour…who am I speaking to? Phil. Phil who? Fine, thank you very much.”


“Hello, can I speak to Adrian Smith please, not there…back in five minutes to an hour, right.”


“You try, they won’t put him on, they’re taking the piss, bastards.”


“Hello can I speak to Adrian Smith, No, oh. Who’s that then? The Manageress again. I wonder whether I could have Adrian’s address? 16 C..H..E..S.field..Chesfield Green…Edmonton N.9..8HA, Thank you very much.”


“I’ll go and get these photocopied, have you got the letter to Jane Ibbinson? Right, how many copies of these? One to her, one to the insurance and one for us, okay.”


“I’ve made a cup of tea, want some herbal tranquilizers to go with it?



“It bloody annoys me, they’re all sitting in that office acting like nothings happened, and we’re the ones doing all the work. He’s working, we ain’t got a pot to piss in, we’re the one’s who couldn't afford bloody insurance, but we do we drive around without it? No. We pay for it and what do you get for it? They don’t want to know…he’s bloody laughing. What do we have insurance for? We ain’t even paid for the bloody insurance, let alone the car, we’re going to be paying for a car we haven’t even go the use of. That was going to be my freedom. All that time in Nelly and nothing happened, eight days in that car and it’s gone, taken away by some little git. God, I’d like to…………grrrrrrrrrrrrrr”


“Hello, my car was involved in an accident…it’s a right-off and I wonder whether you could give me a rough estimate of it’s value…..1979….November 79…1600 Ghia….about 63,000…good condition…£1,500 trade…..£2,200 retail…no….the other bloke wasn’t insured….well thanks…cheers, bye.”


“Well, that’s roughly how much to replace the thing. The insurance said we were entitled to the full replacement value of the car.”


“I like that one, I really don’t want another one, it was just the right size, I didn’t need any cushions on the seat, I could see over the bonnet and I wasn’t embarrassed to be seen in it. Everyone I know has got convertibles or new cars. The first time I am proud of a car some shit-bag destroys it. Irresponsible git.”


“It was that Friday we’d drove to Epping forest, had a cup of tea and went for walk, came back and sat in the car. I moved the seat, this is the life for me, luxury, it suits me right down to the ground, no more old bangers that don’t go, one’s with stereos and carpets, yeah this is the life.”


“Please let it be repairable, please, if there’s a god up there, please.”


“Hello, it’s me again about the silver Escort brought in on Friday…right, I’ll hold…they’re getting the geezer….er..hello…right, yes…that’s right….oh…what no hope at all? You see the other fella wasn’t insured, so I’ll be suing personally…and it’s still a right off?…£50.00 recovery…£4.00 a day, right. I’ll try and get over to you tomorrow..yeah, thanks..”


“No, it’s unrepairable, the whole body’s gone, and the chassis. We’ll go tomorrow and take some photo’s of both of the car’s and pick up the written report, and we’ll go to Kilburn to do some photo’s of the road where it happened.”


“God, I’d like to put my hands around his f’ing neck and kill him.”



“Make a cup of tea.”


“No, piss-off, you make it.”


“Alright, do you want some herbal tranquilizers to go with it too?”


“Hello, Ensleigh, I haven’t received the report form yet…could you tell me about the Motorists Legal Protection fund we took out? So you’ll send the report form on then, how long does that take? About ten days…fine, thanks.”


“Well, it was bloody lucky we took that fund out, it might save us a lot of hassle in the long run.”


“I tell you, if I’d known anything about insurance and what can happen, I would have been comprehensive, I wound’t have mucked around with third-party.”


“It’s double the price though.”


“I’m going to ring me mum.”


“…Well that’s the news so far…we are entitled to the full replacement value of the car, and what looks like good news at the moment is, we took out an additional protection…they say they’ll give us a solicitor and up to £10,000 worth of court costs…umm…I could cry…all I keep doing is shaking. We’re going to see the car tomorrow. No, nothing, it’s gone for good. The police reporting him for careless driving and we’ve got a witness. We’ve got to ring him to get his address……”


“Want a cup of coffee?”




“Who is it? Jacky, right put her on. Hello Jack…no worse than we thought…yeah you were right, the roof has gone…no, it would need an entire new shell, the chassis would need to be straightened or something, we might as well say goodbye to it. No, we still have to pay for it…if it does go to court, it will be a longtime. Well at least nobody was seriously hurt, though I’d like to damage that geezer….yeah….umm….umm. Change the subject, how yer doing then?…”


“Well, is everything typed then? Everything's in order? Well we might as well walk down to the post office, what’s the time?”


“Quarter to five, hurry up then.”


© Denise Evans. 2017