It is everywhere. Little specks of sparkle. On my slippers, on my hands, my face. They’re from my advent calendar. Glitter always sheds. I remember it as a child. Longing to use some. The layer of glue and those little thin phials of sparkling colour. Pink, green, red, blue, gold and silver. Silver was my favourite. Always. Silver is refined, elegant, not showy like gold. A reticent metal. It knows its worth but does not shout it out. Don’t make a mess, my mother would say. There would be old newspaper sheets covering the table and another piece of paper to catch the bits that didn’t take. My heart would be in my mouth as I poured it. That initial struggle to get the cap off. Make sure you’ve got it back on properly, I don’t want that stuff all over my carpet. Yes, I will, I promise. The blob of glue on the card. A shape of a star or a Christmas tree. Keep it simple. Let it dry a little, but not too much. You need some tack for the glitter to take. There. Now pour. Watch it fly. It’s afire, aflame a glistening of light. I wanted to keep that moment. It always looked better before I poured the residue away. Does it need more? It will make a mess if it does. Leave it be. It will do. It will do. But it never did. It always looked better in my head. The dream of the thing.

I thought of such childhood makings as I walked this morning. So many lights on. Yellow oblongs of light set against the blackness. I remember we made drawings from black card. Silhouettes of buildings filled with coloured gels to represent lit windows. We held them against light. Magical. I thought them so magical.

The Christmas decorations in the shops give me such a fillip. The insurance company on Terrace Road has put their tree up in the window. A restrained affair. All matching. The Marine Hotel on the Promenade has a blue tree, a sparkling azure planted in a flower pot by the entrance. Gwesty Cymru just has two wreaths, so far. One set of rogue hanging lights along Pier Street were still lit as I walked yesterday. I appreciated that. Swanson’s Dry Cleaners has a cornucopia of Christmas stickers all over its window. Santas and elves abound. And there is a string of blue tinsel surrounding their tariff notice. POLLY has large white cardboard snowflakes hanging in their window, while the phone shop has white baubles superglued to theirs. It is a hotpotch, but nevertheless heartening to my soul. They haven’t hung the Nadolig Llawen sign this year. It used to alternate between that and Happy Christmas. A council decision? A majority one?

The writing went better yesterday. It’s almost there. I shall finish it today. It needs to be completed. Brought to a conclusion.

There was a dog in the dark. It was on the beach, a white shape darting about near the waves. And a light, from a torch or mobile phone. I presumed it mustn’t be alone. There was someone with it. I felt a slight frisson of threat. Everything had been so calm. Passing The Angel I saw a police van and a huddle of people crouching over a man and woman sitting on the ground. His head was hung over. Two police officers were with them. Drunkenness?

She told me his daughter had fallen. Twenty feet off the Promenade. Poor girl. Poor man. He is a good one, a kind one. He will feel it keenly. She’s such a quiet girl, she said. It’s not like her. They’ve put rods in. The reflex test went OK. Will she be OK? We hope so.

Treasure this. Anything can happen. The calm lost. I’ve got work soon. An early. A paper review. A little of my own work first, eh.

By Ellen Bell

Artist and writer currently living in Aberystwyth.