My phoning is at the moment rather redundant, she isn’t alone, her daughter is with her all day and yet I persist. It’s partly that I don’t want to put her in the position of having to say no to me. She is a gentle being, so alive to causing offence. So I continue calling her every Friday. I like hearing her voice, though at time it is a burden, especially when I have other things I feel I ought to be doing. But it does both of us good. I like to think she believes (and it’s true) that I think of her, hold her in my head for that period of time, my time is hers and I want to hear her stories. She tells them well. Often they are repeats but it doesn’t matter this is her life and I treasure it, no matter how small. To her it is immense, her world, her whole world. Yesterday she told me of her cat. A feral creature, well virtually who lives in her shed. She’s had a second litter. Though she couldn’t work out where the tom or toms had come from. I hadn’t seen any, she said. But pregnant she was and has had four kittens. The cat allows her to pet her generally but when she has kittens she is aggressive and tense. Understandably so. And the other day when they’d gone in to see them there had been only three kittens in the basket. The mother had the other one in her mouth and was trying to secrete it in a gap in a pile of lumber. They rescued it but not without her baring her teeth and puffing up. Was she trying to protect it? I asked. She couldn’t say. It’s a concern for them, as is how to get her spayed in this lockdown. She can’t bring herself to slaughter the kittens, something that most farmers, he would say, would not think twice about. I ask about deliveries. They have one for this week but they are hard to come by. I think of her, wonder what she is like. I imagine someone bird-like but I could be wrong. Sweet woman. Keep well, keep safe. Enjoy your garden this weekend.

By Ellen Bell

Artist and writer currently living in Aberystwyth.