Back to China

Always change. They are leaving. She waved at us as we sat on our chairs in the sun in the car park. Her little boy, spruce in his yellow t-shirt, didn’t. She waves in a rather frenetic way, more by way of compensation for her lack of English. We leave on Monday, she said, from her position under the tree, and out of the sun. We go back to China. We’d noticed the wooden dresser-cum-bookcase that had been placed under the same tree – with its notice encouraging whoever wanted it to have it. It must be theirs, he said. Her husband came up the little hill shortly afterwards. They look so young. He seemed weary carrying two full carrier bags. So you are leaving on Monday, he said to him. Yes, said the Chinese man, and then said something about lots to do. I caught a glimpse of their flat through the door as we walked back. Yes, utter chaos, they’ve much to do. But they are so sunny, always smiling. I shall miss them. And the little one. He is so bold, so loved, so safe. I shall miss they way she lays out all her shopping on the terrace outside their flat, in the sun. And her little garden, all growing out of plastic washing-up bowls. And the smells of her cooking.

I lost it yesterday. I’m not good with things I can’t do or understand. And I don’t like machines, partly for those self-same reasons. So I fucked it up. And lost my temper. (And it was a no tea day – which may or may not have been the reason for my tantrum.) Today I am calmer (and we talked of important things and some progress has been made and I can see a way forward – Lord let me not be romantic but help me to remain open to all things) and will approach the mistakes made evenly with my unpicker in hand.

But I did try those two new recipes for fruit bread and oat crunchies. The bread was appreciated. How I love to make bread – it is such a staple and the feel of the dough so springy and light is a joy. The biscuits smelt divine but he said that they broke in his mouth. Is that a good thing or bad? Keep on trying, eh?

I have started the machine rolling – let us see what comes. I am open. I am open to the possibilities of this oh so precious life.

By Ellen Bell

Artist and writer currently living in Aberystwyth.