It was on my lips when I woke, or at least on my dreaming lips. Grandicourt. I was someone’s name. I cannot say who. It reminded me of a character from George Eliot’s Daniel Deronda and I’ve just checked. Grandcourt. The evil, dastardly Grandcourt. Not far off. Is there a connection? Who knows the workings of the subconscious.

I was late going to bed last night. Well, for me. We started talking about work. Trying to even out the creases, make it OK in my head. It’s the thought that I may have done something wrong, offended them and that that is why they are not calling. It hurts. I know I often get such things utterly wrong. You’ve got the wrong end of the stick, she’d say. Have I? Possibly. I pick up something but like a medium and her spirit guides it’s all in the hearing and the translation.

I concentrated on the word trust yesterday. What does trust look like? It is a warm word, a fulsome word. It’s like falling into sleep, into bed cuddled-up, coddled-up, safe and sound. It’s like yielding, falling and someone’s catching you, soft as down. I want to let it go. I never liked it, not really. It is too unsettling. I make plans and they go awry. I want to work here, in this room, using my real skills. I thought of all the people I could approach as I walked this morning. There is much I can do, I will not be disempowered. I will keep my nerve. I just have to find enough. And enough is doable. It’s all about opening up to possibilities and seeing what is there.

An expected royalty payment. Just a little. But enough. I am pleased. Proud, even. Always.

I’ve been listening to the short stories that have been on Radio 4 Extra this week. How I love being read to, even James Bond – which isn’t really to my taste. It’s the voices, the threads, the narratives. I write down quotes, lovely sentences that resonate with me, like: ‘Their hearts were on the shipping lanes running away from home’ – an extract from a story about a ‘disgraced’ American woman destined to wander the high-spots of Europe yet longing to return home to the US and a BLT. Was that what it was called? They’re all chosen by Stig Abel. Should I know his name? It sounds familiar. And then yesterday he said of Truman Capote, before introducing a marvellous story of his about a mink coat, that ‘he preferred to underwrite’. Yes, such spare prose.

I’ve also listened to the latest omnibus editions of Homefront. What a marvel. Fiction based on fact and following life in Folkestone exactly a hundred years ago during WW1. Again it is the voices that seduce. The familiar voices of Joanna David, Anton Lesser and now Geoffrey Palmer. I weep and smile.

The student populous is dwindling on the Prom these mornings. Less sick on the pavement, less hullabaloo.  A gaggle of girls hung around on the corner of Pier Street, one of them broke away to chase a squawking fledgling sea gull. Are your alright little guy? she kept saying as the bird trundled away squawking even louder.

Our neighbour was at his window when I returned home smoking. My heart sinks. I don’t want to talk. But I do. You have to. And I over compensate running on about nothing except students, sick and Fresher’s Week. Cheers Now, he says as I turn to go. Bye.


By Ellen Bell

Artist and writer currently living in Aberystwyth.