Fish Lorry

Scan of sea horse

Walking down into the Harbour I can hear its generator. It is not yet 4.30 am. In the dark I can just make out the driver, out of his cab, his wellies galumphing along the tarmac, a bucket in his hand. From sea to table in 24 hours, promises the lorry’s strapline.

It was warm. Unseasonably so for the still early morning. A shape passes me in the Castle gardens. Hi, it says. Hi, I say and walk quickly on. There are courting couples on benches, coatless students, silent now. I feel cocooned by the warm dark, grateful for its dryness. Nearing home a car pulls up alongside me, its headlights flooding the pavement with yellow. My hackles prickle. A window rolls down. It’s a taxicab. I’m going to Llanbadarn, says the driver ducking-down low to speak to me, do you want a free lift? I thank him, explaining I’m nearly home. He grins and gives me a thumb-up. No hard feelings. He drives off. Nice. I am touched by the gesture.

This morning was colder. They promised it would be. And rain. My coat got saturated. The Pier was still open, a bouncer in a yellow high vis jacket stood outside smoking. Students lurched about in groups of three and four. Pizza Lush was open. Through the window I could see a large man leaning on the counter eating. Walking down Great Darkgate Street a young woman was walking ahead of me, shielding her head against the rain with a Pizza Lush box. From behind she looked like a painting by Botero, wide thighs tapering to impossibly tiny feet. She wore a short leather jacket and a lacy emerald-green mini-skirt. I followed her all the way down the hill. Occasionally she’d break into a run, her legs swaying from side-to-side. Then she’d slow down, returning the pizza box to above her head. As I turned into Llanbadarn Road, she was continuing up Penglais Hill.

I’ve finished it. It isn’t what I thought it would be. I have so far to go. So much to learn still. Is it worthy of publication? I wanted to share their stories, that they so generously shared with me. Have I done them justice? I feel tongue-tied, made awkward by the responsibility of it.

Wait and see, eh? Wait and see.

By Ellen Bell

Artist and writer currently living in Aberystwyth.