Reveries can be voluntary or involuntary, sometimes happy and sometimes painful. I'll give you some examples: for instance, a bus coming towards me might make me think of a game I used to play with my mother at a bus stop - having to add up the numbers before the bus arrived, and not being very good at arithmetic.
Or I might smell shaving-soap and cigarettes, which reminds me of my father, who's been dead a long time, shaving in the morning, with his cigarette resting on the bathroom shelf.
An image can arise, and I might find myself anywhere in the last 47 years - watching a long-gone dog shaking rain from its coat; enjoying a dinner party 10 years ago; or being in my grandfather's garden, watching him skillfully peel an apple into a perfect spiral.
You can go where you want really; places that you'll never see again. A misted car window reminds me of driving my father asleep across the Pennines, or him giving me an illicit Senior Service cigarette along with the warning: "Don't tell your mother." He was a hardware and fancy-goods merchant, and he'd take me on these great journeys. He also made me drive before I'd passed my driving test, which was scary but fun.
I think you become a bit of a haunted house as you get older. It must be one of the few compensations of age. The older you get, the more memories there are. And if you live to 70, you've got years of stuff to whizz through.
John Davies's next exhibition is a drawing show in January at Purdy Hicks Gallery, Mill Street, London SE1, in association with the Marlborough Gallery. He is currently working on a portrait of the architect Sir Norman Foster for the National Portrait Gallery, London.Reuse content