What would it look like, a shop that sold dreams?
In my mind it is a curious mixture of fictional creations. In appearance it resembles Ollivander’s wand shop from Harry Potter, with cracked wooden shelves and dusty dark corners. But its dimensions are more like the Tardis, with endless walls stretching beyond the height of any reasonable ceiling. And of course, the BFG stalks behind the counter, carefully labelling jars of iridescent clouds, each one the start of a child’s sweet dream.
That’s how I imagine it. But on Saturday morning I visited just such a shop, and I found that I was wrong. It was a plain old three-dimensional room, with an ordinary ceiling and walls covered in posters rather than lined with smoky jars. The mugs were dirty, the toilet didn’t flush and the safety of the milk was under intense discussion. The BFG was nowhere to be seen: just a man called Gavin with a smiling face and a firm handshake.
The Yes Cathcart shop is an ordinary place, but dreams are most definitely its business. I went there on a mission to clamber down from the comfortable Fence of Neutrality, declare my position and start making a contribution. There I met four other people who had also given up their morning to help out. Two were seasoned campaigners, three newbies like me, but all of us dreamed of a different Scotland. We spent the morning tramping through Cathcart and Battlefield in the mid-morning sun, delivering leaflets and marvelling at the astonishing variety of letterboxes in the world. It wasn’t glamorous. But it felt good. It felt like ordinary people, just getting together and deciding to dream our own dreams, and try to make them come true.
The next day, just up the road, I thought some more about dreams and ordinariness. In our national stadium, I watched athletes from all over the world run and throw and jump and scream with joy and excitement and relief, and achieve their iridescent dreams in a stubborn wee country at the top of Europe. I watched, and I saw many things I did not know were possible.
I watched a blind Scottish girl win the hundred metres. I watched a Nigerian man with one leg balance a discus on his head, throw aside his crutches and spin impossibly on his one leg, hurling that discus time and time again. I listened to Hampden roar with delight at the successes of incredible English athletes, and I heard my fellow Scots sing along to Jerusalem with genuine enjoyment.
I saw Scots and English and Irish and Welsh athletes competing in their national colours, proud of our nations, secure in our identities, firm in our friendship, and do you know what? It felt good. It felt ordinary. It felt normal. It felt like this is how it could be.
There are just fifty days to go. I hope, I hope with all my heart that the little shop of daydreams can make my wish come true.