They were in a dream a couple of nights ago. I think I’d conjured them up as a result of listening to a radio adaptation of book by a poet and novelist who wrote about visiting summer snow as a way of managing his grief over the loss of his wife to cancer. The book or its dramatisation involved texts and phone calls back home to his daughter who was alone in the house. A house that had become slowly infested with hornets. So there they were in my dream. It often happens this borrowing of imagery from things listen to or seen during my waking hours. The writer talked about not wanting to kill them, but his daughter was becoming increasingly unnerved by their presence in her bedroom. In the end her brother, the writer’s son was brought in to exterminate them. In my dream they were a distant fear. They were in the house somewhere, the possibility of threat. He and I talked in the dream about how it was the landlord’s responsibility to do something about them. Then I was walking in the street (it looked like somewhere in Cambridge – too fancy for this scruffy town – besides I never ever dream of here) and saw that the landlord had in fact taken the wall down of our house and replaced it with glass revealing the hornets for all to see. They looked so unthreatening, almost sad though huge. They looked like the caterpillar who sits on a mushroom in Alice in Wonderland.

He offered to do my job for me. What a sweetheart. He’d been thinking about it. So that I’d have more time to write, he said. I’m so lucky in this love. It is kind. I refused his offer. It is complicated. I think I need to do it, for the time being. I need to earn my way. To step outside of my head sometimes and encounter the outside world, even if at times it is unpalatable to me. The earning thing is important too, my self-worth is tied up in it.

She helped. She helped me. Though I cried. It is the gentle care of her, it makes me weep. She’s given me more tasks to do. Clench your buttocks when you walk, she said, and pull in your stomach muscles. Let’s see the full five feet five of you. Five five? she asked. Five six, I said. At least I was.

A gentle walk this morning. No rain.

By Ellen Bell

Artist and writer currently living in Aberystwyth.