Have you ever had a strange experience, one that you can't possible explain? I like to think of myself as a fairly logical, sensible soul, until it comes to thoughts of becoming the next Mrs George Clooney and then all bets are off the table.
But normally I try to rationalise things. Like the first night I spent on my own in my first little house, a two up and two down that was so small you almost had to walk sideways to move from room to room. It was a compact house but I adored it with all my heart and was so excited about moving in. I'd never spent a night in a house on my own before that evening. I'd always shared with either family or friends but the thought of being on my own didn't scare me, at least not until I was awoken in the wee small hours of the morning by a banging on the window of the bedroom.
I climbed out of bed, crossed to the window, opened the curtains and got the shock of my life as something white flew across the window and banged the glass. I'd have left Usain Bolt in my wake as I jumped clear across the room and back under the bedcovers. I lay there, contemplating phoning my Daddy and asking him to make the hour-long journey to my house, just to check what was outside the window. Soft-hearted soul that he was, I know he'd have been in the car and on his way before I finished the phone call but, in a moment of clarity, I realised that now I was living on my own, I was going to have to try and figure these things out for myself.
It took me another 10 minutes to build up the courage to get out of bed, cross to the window and steal myself for whatever lay behind the curtain, something that was still randomly knocking on the glass. All the while, I had a replay running in my head of all the scary movies I'd watched over the years, where a young character, usually female, goes to investigate some spooky goings on.
How many times had I laughed through a mouthful of popcorn, rolling my eyes at the risible plot, where someone would walk towards trouble and their inevitable doom instead of running the other way, and yet here I was. In the end, my hand acted before my brain engaged, throwing back the curtain to reveal, stuck on the edge of the gutter above my window, the ragged remains of one of those paper lanterns that people light and which float off into the sky. They've been known to terrify and seriously injure animals and I can say it certainly did the former for me that night. But at least I had proved to myself that a little investigation and a lot of nerve can solve a mystery.
At the start of this week, I took my kids and our dog down to the beach for a walk. My youngest girl and my teenage boy, like the dog, need to be in the fresh air and exercised at least a couple of times a day, although I'm pleased to say their toilet habits, unlike the dog, don't require my involvement.
I was encouraging them all to race up and down some sand dunes when I suddenly got a very strong sense of deja vu. I knew that my daughter would take a tumble down the hill of sand, that the dog would jump over her and come crashing into my feet, knocking me over. I knew it would happen in the split second before it did.
It really threw me and it took me a while to shake off the unsettling feeling. When I got home, I did a little investigating and discovered that experiencing vivid moments of deja vu may be linked to being stressed and tired.
Given the week we've just been through, with uncertainties about work, school and exams it made sense that my brain was behaving oddly. Let's face it, the day to day of life in lockdown feels like one giant, collective moment of deja vu that's been coming and going since last March. Here's hoping we can all shake it off soon.