Gewgaw

Ellen Bell Call Me © Stephen Lynch Photography 034

I love to come across new words. Gewgaw a trinket or gaudy bauble. A crossword clue. Is it an eighteenth or nineteenth century word? I don’t even know how to pronounce it. Sounds like a noise a donkey would make. Are the donkeys still in Borth, in the field by the railway track, resting in readiness for their summer stint on the Prom? All those, mostly wary, children hoiked up onto their backs, clinging on and calling or waving to Mummy. I did it, not here but on beaches around the country. It felt good to be up high, surveying the world from a different level. I was nervous but awed. Look at me, I wanted to say, but didn’t for no one was looking anyway.

The cherry blossom is almost gone, blown like confetti along the pavements. Specks of white sticking to the soles of my shoes. The magnolia too. Replaced by fresh green. The warm mornings have been infused with the smell of honeysuckle and mock orange. Fuggy sweetness, glorious. The warm mornings bring out the youth too. Or it makes them linger longer, reluctant to go home. They sit on benches, legs sprawling, their voices too loud. Girls trip barefoot across the stones, brave boys swim shouting at the cold of the water. Exams have begun and after each one there is euphoria. I pass a group of lads. I literally fell, one of them is saying, and it was like……

Getting her onto the stool was a little tricky. The mugginess of the day had made her sticky. Can you feed the microphone up through your dress? I ask, handing it her. Breathing heavily, she proceeds to pass it through the buttons. I get a glimpse of tights. A toilet czar and medium, I am disappointed when I discover she’s come to talk about the former. What can one say about toilets? A piece to camera. They have to find something, something to fill the air, the screen. She is a warm woman, a gentle woman, but there is nothing, beyond common sense, to say.

Serendipity some call it. I don’t know. I send out a request and it is granted. Small things, inconsequential things. A Lord Peter Wimsey on Radio 4 Extra. And then more subtle connections. A book, two books I recognise. Read before. Re-visited. Marilyn Robinson’s Housekeeping was one.  Mark Lawson interviewing her. She didn’t write again for 23 years. What do they do, creative people, when they cease creating? I am interested. I am interested in the spaces in-between. A topic for study? It’s lucky they got me today, the woman is saying, I’m on annual leave tomorrow. Going anywhere nice? I ask. Don’t know yet, she says, though I’ve got to be back for me slimming club on Saturday. There’s a weigh-in.

The barista in Starbucks is a chatterbox. It is unceasing. Ebullient, flowing over, her voices carries across the canteen. There are no full stops, it is constant. Beyond the need to converse, she isn’t interested in replies. On and on. She’s talking about her colleague who has an ear infection. I can hear her talking to him. She’s a one an a ‘alf, she is saying.

It was colder this morning. The sea was still, benign. Walking up towards the castle I saw a small cream-coloured camper van wrapped all the way round with a whole roll of cling film.