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Garlic, Funeral & Rehearsal

Wherever we have lived garlic has seemed to filter through the walls from our neighbours cooking with it. Living here it is no different. Yesterday it was almost overpowering. Well for me anyway. He calls it a curse, my sense of smell that is. I catch the smell of strangers as I walk, just after they have passed by, it may be a trace of perfume, a smoked cigarette, sweat or like this morning TCP. We always blame our neighbours below for the garlic and sometimes the fried bacon or sweet dumplings, perhaps we are wrong.

It was his funeral yesterday. We watched it on his bed on the iPad. It was a pathetic affair with hardly any people (an effect of Covid not his popularity). His daughters spoke movingly and from the heart. And it was a delight to see his little grandson darting about. The emcee was a little verbose and repetitive with nothing but platitudes to share for he had not known him. I went to see if his flowers that they’d placed by the ‘kicking bar’ on the Prom were still there this morning. They were.

I dreamt I had gone downstairs to a gym which had turned out to be a rehearsal studio. I was invited to take part in a play that someone hummed the tune to (and pleased to be so). I didn’t know it. Annette Crosbie was one of my fellow actors (we’d done her birthday the other day at breakfast when I guess the ages of the great and the good) as were a few other notable men who I couldn’t place. They would carry me through wouldn’t they? The play was to start the following week. My fear was OK I thought when I woke, it didn’t paralyse me.

I think about my fiction writing – dare I?

By Ellen Bell

Artist and writer currently living in Aberystwyth.