I write down words that I don’t understand (or if I’m at the breakfast table I ask him and he looks them up on his iPad). Sometimes I know them but the meaning is uncertain. Sometimes I just like the sound of them and the sense they give of something.

It was a reading day yesterday, and I set out to read about 19th century women. I began with working-class women. What hard lives they had. Did they see it that way? Or did they accept their fate with grace? I also began reading Austen’s letters. They are in a small collection published by a man, probably in the 50s or 60s. They make for interesting reading. It’s all about detail. Homely detail.

Like her daughter on the phone. (I didn’t speak to her. Her daughter said she was sleeping and didn’t want to wake her). She spoke about double-deckers and wormwood. Not just any biscuit or indeed remedy. It is the detail that makes us human, unique even.

The woman with the bag has a new jacket. She was wearing it this morning as she ambled along South Road, buffeted by the wind. It was a kind of cagoule in pink and mauve.

By Ellen Bell

Artist and writer currently living in Aberystwyth.