Did I tell you we go all the way to Oswestry for a hair cut? Two hours there and two hours back. Ridiculous I know but it’s only every 8 weeks and we’re cut to the bone, both of us. Like shorn sheep. Prickly. Yummy. I love the clean-ness of it. I feel my skull, the tiny fragility of my head. So tender. Waiting in a garage forecourt as he filled up with petrol I saw a man walking past, a large box of Kellogg’s Frosties under his arm. That’s all, just that. A special cosy treat? I used to love eating cereals. As a child I thought they were healthy, we all did, believing the hype. Cornflakes and Rice Krispies felt austere, as did Bran Flakes, Frosties were yum, all that sugar. I didn’t know. And Coco Pops, my sister’s favourite turned the milk brown. I liked the top of the milk. Top of the milk on top of a bowl of Frosties, lovely. That was then, not now, not now.

We’ll have a seminar, he said. We’ll talk it out, talk it through over a pot of tea. Yes. So we went to Aberdovey to the hotel on the hill that overlooks the sea and drank tea. Darjeeling this time. It was very weak. Only one tea bag for two people. Looked like piss, tasted of nothing. Can we have another please? The waiter with his silver tray was apologetic. It was how I was taught to do it, one bag per pot even for two people. I apologise for complaining not wanting to hurt. I see his red cheeks. But I want to taste. To taste such treats. Later the sun came out and we sat in it. Clean. It cleans me right through. The heat on my shoulders. He was so kind. He gave me his whole attention. There were a group of elderly women in the lounge when we arrived. Four of them. One was talking about a wheelchair for her mother. It was too heavy, I told her, she said. I told her, I’ve got a bad back, I can’t be carrying that. They didn’t stay long, at least not all of them. Two remained for a while. One read her kindle, the other, whom I couldn’t see kept getting messages on her phone. I’d hear the ping, ping. We talked and talked. We talked of writing, of Julia Cameron’s suggestions, distraction techniques for when the critical voice came in. I wrote them down in my book. Dancing, baking, drawing, walking, making a pot of tea. We talked of art. Making art. I told him of my plans for The Parsonage Museum, my performance on the tube. You must write it out, he said. I understand it when you explain it. I felt good. I felt high. I felt whole, enriched. A good day. Home then. Yoga, sorting out his pills then nap then supper. Then the rain came. Torrential.

Dry this morning as I walked but windy. I love and resist the wind. It’s wildness thrills me but sometimes I am just to tired to walk into it. I do though. I always do. I have a long to do list. Things to do that will help. This is one of them. Morning pages. My version. 500 words a day. I will try. Get it out. Writing is getting it out. Getting it down. Paying attention.

There was a hedgehog in the road. I got out of the car but it was dead. Blood leaked from it. Then later a policeman came to the studio. They didn’t tell me you were a policeman, I said. A gentle soul. Scottish. A tender, tender being who cried afterwards. I cry easily, he said as he put his knife-proof vest and walkie-talkie back on. His phone went. Ah, my first text, he said, smiling. Well done, Sarge. Well done. He hugged me. It’s tricky hugging a policeman with all that gear on. Something jabbed my chin. Driving back down the hill we saw Darth Vader dragging a suitcase, one hand texting on his phone.

Barcelona. Friends condone. We are part of it. Part of Europe. How can we leave, beleaguered together, as one? My heart goes out to all. Rest in peace. And the rest? May you find solace.

By Ellen Bell

Artist and writer currently living in Aberystwyth.