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Motorbikes, deodorants & metiers

The space cordoned off for motorbikes on the Prom was full this morning. I don’t know much about motorbikes but they all looked like Harley Davidsons to me. They were pristine, all of them, clearly much loved, though last night’s rain lay, like a spray of tiny glass pebbles along the top of each of them. Five men stood outside The Marine’s entrance, talking and smoking. Where they some of the bikes’ owners? Where were the rest of them staying? Was it some kind of convention?

People are about these mornings, it’s probably the temperature or maybe the students are back for the final bit of the summer term. Three youngsters came down St David’s Road as I approached. I walked in their wake, the stink of one of their deodorants in my nostrils. An acrid odour, it smelt like Lynx or some such, and evidently liberally applied. Two more lads followed behind trailing a cloud of tobacco smoke. My sense of smell is keener when I walk.

What am I meant to do? I ask myself as I walk. I’ve always assumed that there would be one clear path, one clear thing that I would be able to dedicate my life to. And so far I haven’t found it. I do lots of things. Each I try to do well. My mind flitters, like a butterfly seeking nectar, from one to the other. Sometimes it is writing, others drawing, and then it is sewing. Should I just accept that that is the way I am? That life isn’t neat. There is straying and fraying and unevenness. I just don’t know.

A friend writes with the promise of gooseberries and blackcurrants from her garden. Wouldn’t that be something?

By Ellen Bell

Artist and writer currently living in Aberystwyth.