Jays, Dolphins, Tricycles & Helicopters

I’ve got an early. A paper review. So this will have to be quick. I don’t feel quite right if I don’t write something. It isn’t just the recording of what I’ve encountered, seen or thought about, it’s the physical act of writing. It steadies me. Grounds me. So it will have to be a list, of sorts.

Jay. I saw it yesterday afternoon, well almost night for me. It flew onto one of the trees opposite his window. That square of white on its wing. I called out. Where is it? he asked but it was gone. Portentous a colleague at work used to call them. Are they? I’ve seen maybe five in my life. It feels good, I like to think something is going to happen. I always do. Life is always moving, I know that but sometimes it can feel stagnant. What will you bring?

The dolphin I saw yesterday morning as I walked. It wasn’t a real one. It was an inflatable one, left by a wall below the Prom. Abandoned or forgotten, I know not. Was it bought as a bank holiday treat from Stars or another of the tourist shops along the front? Was it too big to put in the car? Or had it been lost at sea and then brought in again on the tide. It was a clear blue plastic. A dolphin with a smiling face.

The tricycle I saw today. It too seemed to have been abandoned. A young child’s trike, clearly. Highly painted but a little shabby with masking tape wrapped around it’s seat. It was resting against a lamppost along South Road.

The helicopter whirred in the sky for hours last night. Our neighbour was at his window smoking when I returned and he said he’d heard it too. It was over the golf course at first, he said. I heard it about half past twelve. I had too. And then seen its lights over the sea. It was hovering, clearly. Heat-seeking, like the London helicopter that the Liverpuddlian poet Paul Morley went on for that radio programme Night Vision. It was fascinating and amazing what they can detect from up there. Was someone lost at sea? It is an ominous sound, making me think of Kate Bush’s song on Hounds of Love – with its noise of helicopter blades and a voice shouting, Get out of the water, get out of the waves…

A good day yesterday. A peaceful day. I kept it at bay.

Sleep well, I said opening the door. Cheers now, he said.

By Ellen Bell

Artist and writer currently living in Aberystwyth.