I can’t always catch what she is saying down the phone. Her voice is quiet, apologetic. A cancelling out of noise, rather than a making of it. I thought she said Denmark. And then when I questioned her I realised she had. It’s at Denmark, she said again. Denmark? I asked, thinking surely not, she never travels, hasn’t even been in a plane. Denmark Farm, she said. It’s like a shorthand, a restricted code. She has always lived in that place, that small community, she knows it as she knows the back of her hand and offers it up with her quiet voice as a cipher, not intentionally, but that is how I hear it. She talked of wanting to do a craft class over Easter. Again, I had to struggle to hear it, to make sense of what she was saying. Something to do with woolen animals. Then it came, felting. Felted animals. It is brave of her. All these forays into a bigger world are brave steps for her. I want to hear them described and hand them back to her as prizes. See what you have achieved. And the two of them so open to all viruses – so easily assailed. I want to wrap them up and make them safe. She was as grey as I was yesterday. I didn’t lift her. I was sorry for that.

I cook things sometimes just for the warm, rich smells that give the flat. Sometimes it is coffee in that wonderful authentic Italian coffee pot, other times like this morning it is almonds toasted in a frying pan. No fat just the heat turning them brown. Nutty, honeyed, toasty sort of smell. Gorgeous.

It’s the small things, she said, or implied, I forget which. Do what you can to instil joy. He tries to convince me. It is getting lighter, he says. It is. Promise.

By Ellen Bell

Artist and writer currently living in Aberystwyth.