His name was Arthur not Jack. Where had I got the name Jack from? Had it been the researcher? He’d said it was probably spelt Jac. We were both wrong. I met your partner, she said when I opened the door for her, he’d called him Jack too. It was Arthur. A Lurcher. He was very good, considering, keeping his dog noises to a minimum. He may moan, she said. A good woman, I think. She wanted it to be understood that we shouldn’t make sweeping judgements, to treat each case on an individual basis. I can see both sides. Health and Safety had to be marshalled. A dog in the studio. Do you mind? No, not really. He licked my hand. And left a musty, hairy, slightly moist doggy smell behind. It has been a long time. We always had dogs. Ever since I can remember. A Poodle followed by a Dalmatian, a Great Dane, a Labrador and then a Yorkshire Terrier. They were never our dogs, always hers. She could be harsh with them, rather like Emily Bronte was purported to be, but they adored her. Was it adoring, exactly? They followed her, obeyed her. Is that adoring? Is that even love? She was top dog. That was all.

There were two dogs when I walked the Prom this morning. I saw the Alsatian first. Then a rather fat little white patchy dog came bounding towards me barking. That set the Alsatian off. Sorry, said a rather elegant woman. The fact that she was holding a half empty bottle of spirits by the neck was the only thing that punctured her poise. And yet, I thought, so what. What harm? Two men were with her. One, a rather striking man with close-cropped hair, had grabbed the Alsatian’s collar at my approach. I wasn’t frightened of the barking dogs, even the Alsatian with its deep throaty growl, didn’t perturb me. I was surprised by this. They felt kind, those people. I was no threat to them and vice versa. Had they been on the beach. I bumped into them just by the bandstand.

The air was warm. I shall have to eschew my winter coat for my walks soon.

I think about work as I walk. Ideas come thick and fast for another performance. Let it bubble away. Get it firm in my head and then send it out. That is the creative bit for me that fermenting, that forming in my head. I feel enriched by it.

By Ellen Bell

Artist and writer currently living in Aberystwyth.