I felt something like joy yesterday. It’s been a long time. The greyness, I have to confess has assailed me. Even the usually blessed Aurum has made no difference. It was but a short interval, however, for my back is as rigid as ever today. Thoughts. Just thoughts. Tiny things, inconsequential things that enter my head and take root. At least I know them now. They are familiar. My familiars. So joy. Yes. Yesterday. What was it? Should I deconstruct what it was? Will that help to secure it again?

We went out for the day, well half a day. Once I’d done my chores, written and done yoga, it was the mid-morning. But that was OK. And it was, for the sun shone. The hills were made hazy by it. Look at the hills, he kept saying as we undulated towards them. Softened, they took on tones of pinks and pale oranges. So hopeful. So promising. It’s on it’s way, he said.

When we got there the lounge was empty. Our favourite lounge. The adult only lounge. Someone had finished the jigsaw and had left it, no doubt proud as punch, for everyone to see. The adjoining lounge was busier for they have the sun in there. We were happy for our quiet and ordered tea. A big pot, he stipulated. A gigantic pot. No stinting, this has to last.

I had too much. It fills my tummy and raises my spirits. Tea is the new cocaine. Lapsang Souchong. Oh, you want milk, said the waiter. Where you from, I can’t place the accent? he asked of him. I’ve spent a lot of time in Dudley, he replied, smiling, warming to us and itching to linger. It gets stronger when I meet people from the Midlands, he said. Yes. He had a small beard and a pager clipped to his belt.

The tea made me fizz. Not sure you want it, the waiter had said earlier, coming to us with the box of teabags prior to making it. It says smoky, he said putting on his glasses and reading the box. Yes, I said, I want it. It is a rare taste, better with real leaves. They used to do real leaves but clearly tea bags are simpler. The pots are still metal though. Small mercies, eh? I love the taste, the smoke, though a slight nausea can come on. Too much but I was feeling better and wanted it to last. And the joy? Well, it was sitting out.

I’m not going out there, he said, it’s freezing. In the end he suggested it. Ten minutes, he said. It was glorious. The sun on my face. Joy. Joy is the sun on my face. A man came to near where we were sitting and lit up. Let’s go, he said. I don’t want other people. His partner joined him but they soon left. Was it his scowls? So delightfully anti-social.

I walked behind a man carrying a plastic carrier bag at 3.10 am. He had no coat, just a white shirt and his ankles were bare. He walked sharply. He must’ve been cold, it was minus 3 at least. The air hurt my face. Nearing the bandstand he threw something in the bin and then, walking up to one of the handrails that lead down to the beach hooked the bag onto it. Then he just walked off. What was in the bag? Why had he left it and for whom? I continued to follow him. He walked up to one of the bouncers at the Pier Pressure nightclub. What time does it close? he asked. Everyone out in twenty minutes, he replied.

The festive lights hanging from the ceiling in the breakfast room of the Shoreline B&B were flashing, red, yellow, green and orange. An impromptu disco in that cold dark air. Down by the harbour the large fishing boats were back, lit white and stark. And the Samways truck too, its engine cold. From port to plate in 24 hours.

The moon was a half when I woke. The mornings grown lighter. It’s coming, he said. It’s coming.

By Ellen Bell

Artist and writer currently living in Aberystwyth.