Circus (5)

Gossamer threads. Threads of ideas, of things noticed, caught in the corner of my eye and so easily, too easily forgotten. I murmur them to myself as I walk home. The glove puppet on the ground. A teddy bear? I couldn’t tell. It looked fresh, too clean to have been discarded and come upon at that liminal time between night and day. The next day a strapless bra in the same tone of beige, both found on Great Darkgate Street. Is the loss of them mourned equally, I wonder? Then two bakers. One standing outside Slater’s dressed in white shorts and t-shirt, floured apron around his midriff. The other, inside the Pelican Bakery. A large man, lumbering around in the back. The smells are always a little late. I catch them a few blocks down, sweet, then salty, musky and warm.

For the first time this year the B&B at no 1 South Marine has hung up his NO VACANCIES sign.

There was a dead seagull on North Road this morning. An adult. Too white in the night gloom. It’s carcass was untouched. How had it died? Such huge birds. It’s eye stared accusingly.

The honeysuckle on North Road has ceased to emit it’s scent. Now it is the buddleia’s turn. Sweet and sticky.

The other afternoon I saw a man carrying two large balls of fake box. They hung on chains. I’d seen some hanging outside a council house in Oswestry. Such things, like china dogs are remnants of something grander, made egalitarian. He was traipsing after his wife. Had she bought them and told him to carry them? Odd things. Not real, a fake circular topiary to hang outside a door. He looked cross.

The heatwave brings beach barbeques, the smell of the smoke is still there when I walk in the early  mornings. The other morning some were still alight. Fire in the sand. Further on a large bonfire. I could see the burning skeleton of a pallet. Black shapes encircling it. The smoke swept across South Marine. My eyes stung with it.

I heard his cry, then his retch as he vomited outside the station.

Radio stories. Robert MacFarlane’s Old Ways and his encounter with the middle-aged traveller who sold his house when his wife died to walk the world. He with the old, now unlabelled coke bottles, that he constantly re-fills with water. You go on ahead, he said to the author, I’m in no hurry.

Revisiting Sara Maitland’s Book of Silence and my longing for that cottage in Skye. You must go then, he said over supper. Shall I? Can I

The circus is in town. A great bouncy castle like blue tent down by Morrison’s that bobs in the wind. Fliers put on every car. They used to alarm me. We went once in Cambridge. I wanted to draw. It seemed so much smaller that I’d remembered. The smell of sawdust. We were too close. I could see the faces under the make-up.

No rain yet.

By Ellen Bell

Artist and writer currently living in Aberystwyth.