Astri, Birger & Tullemor

I dust on Tuesdays. A creature of habit, I have my routine. This morning I found a grasshopper. It was dead and lying on the floor of the bedroom. Bright green. Too green to be dead. How had it got there? Jumped through the window perhaps or been carried by the wind?

In later days, she’d say that I looked like her. A tiny woman, an Edith Piaf in furs. Pinched mouth. Like mother like daughter, bitter brides.

It’s been ages since I wrote properly. So many other things taking up my time. So it will have to be a list again – else the notes bulge from my Filofax. So what do I have here, yes, Harvest Moon. A yellow-orange one for days. It felt strange to see it, not the usual silvery-white but a sun-like custardy yellow. Summer berries is next. Yes, I remember being sad all day and then standing in the kitchen preparing the summer fruits to stew. The feel of the redcurrants and gooseberries, hard-skinned and perfect, and the smell of the blackcurrants and the memories of childhood summers that flooded in. I was made still. Exquisite sensuality. A solace. A solace to feel this way.

Then I have a note about a girl that I saw asleep through a window of a ground floor flat on South Marine Terrace. Outside was black as pitch, she lay on the sofa fully lit, exposed by the glare of an overhead light. Hopper-esque in it’s starkness. She a tumble of duvets. Then there are Witches Bottles, Carnival Bunting and Kit Williams’ book Masquerade. Things I’ve heard of on the radio. The bunting was around Llanbadarn for its Carnival. It was on and gone without us even noticing. The bunting is still up. They live in a world of light. A quote from a poem I heard on an edition of Homefront. I liked it.

I bought him a copy of Gilbert White’s studies of Selbourne. He seemed to know of it. Isn’t it often the case we buy books for others that we wish to read ourselves? I listened to Paul Theroux on In The Psychiatrist’s Chair. He was spiky. A porcupine. But I want to read him. Again.

Then voices on the Prom. Perhaps I’ve already told you. A slight blonde girl sitting on a bench with a large man in a paisley short-sleeved shirt. He smokes. An’ it got to Monday, she is saying, an’ I panicked. The man in the floral shirt laughs.

More radio stuff. An adaptation of Charlotte Bronte’s The Professor by Rachel Joyce. My story is not marvellous, he says. And then I heard Christopher Hitchens’ essays Arguably. Lovely prose on such difficult subjects – water-boarding, Agent Orange and Isaac Newton. Someone accused Newton of ‘unweaving a rainbow’.

Outside The Angel at 4.30 am a girl is delving into her handbag for her keys. A tall man walks under a streetlight. He wears a heavy tweed overcoat and there is a gash on his face. He stares at me.

I think about a collaborative piece. Somewhere out on the Yorkshire Moors, perhaps. A trace on the grass of something said, something remembered, something enacted. Long ago. Still left, still impressed onto the landscape.

By Ellen Bell

Artist and writer currently living in Aberystwyth.