I woke for a pee at 11.30 pm from a richly-layered dream. I knew this. The landscape stayed with me but the details were lost on waking. Let me remember the next one, I asked as I climbed back into bed. And I did. My now deceased Norwegian aunt was there. We were in some kind of hotel, but as is often the case with my dreamscapes the rooms are not closed in, or defined, they lead into each other. She was staying there and had her own special room. Even in my dream I remembered her sojourns as a young woman to London to sing and how she’d stayed at the Holland Park YHA. A little different then. We’d visited it together, she and I, years later. How delighted she’d been. Perhaps it is listening to the production of Girls of Slender Means by Muriel Spark on the radio that brought forth this image into my reverie. Who knows. I was to sleep there too but I was shown a downstairs room that appeared to have no ceiling, or indeed, walls. I thought of rain and how I would shelter and then I noticed that there was a semi roof running along the edge of the non-ceiling. All would be well. There was also some kind of performance or critique going on, for at the end of the dream a man put his head round the door and said, She’s marked you down. It stayed with me, that phrase, she’s marked you down. I knew to whom he was referring. But she always loves your new work, he said by way of consolation. I knew this too. This was a blip as far as she was concerned. She was confident in my ability. Need I be downhearted? I’d asked to remember it and so be it. I take the consequences. Perhaps it had been his somewhat throw away comment, well what will you do now? Perhaps I read a criticism, or at least as requirement to always have the next new idea. But he too qualified his statement, you’ve got to have something to worry about, haven’t you? he said. I tell him the dream and he laughs. It had to be an older woman, didn’t it? he said. Yes, I said, though funnily enough all my art tutors have been male. Perhaps this is not about my work after all.

The wind was less strong this morning, though the rain struck like splinters of glass on my face.

He bought us some daffodils. To remind us that Spring is coming, he said. And their British. I was less than grateful. Too tired to want another thing to do. I tried to pull back. Thank you, I said cutting the ends and immersing them in water. Thank you. Sometimes I am cross and I am sorry for it.

There was a tube of Fixodent on the path down to Llanbadarn Road. It seemed out of place, inappropriate, considering the demographic. Where had it come from? Someone’s pocket or had it fallen out of the recycling bag that the wind has clearly blown onto the path?

I need to write this morning, though I long to sew and hear the end of Stone. I need to write about what I want from next week. I am concerned about the residency. I want to be able to maintain a low profile but am not sure that she will let me. And the interview. Did I tell you she said yes? I saw her again this morning pushing a trolley with ten bottles of water inside. We’re not on the mains, she said. It’s spring water, perfectly fine but I’d rather not drink it. She looks different without her glasses. What do I want from her? Is it enough to say, see what happens? I’ve been thinking about detachment today. How to be more detached. Guide me. It doesn’t mean not caring, it is just more peaceful, somehow. Sometimes, I believe that is all I have to offer. Peacefulness. Let is be so. It is enough.

By Ellen Bell

Artist and writer currently living in Aberystwyth.