Naming Storms

We were sitting at breakfast when he looked up from the paper and said: ‘Do you know what the next storm we’re to have is going to be called?’ No, I said, Storm Helen? ‘No,’ he replied, they’re not alphabetical. It’s going to be Storm Ellen.’

It’s rather nice actually. I like that. Ellen is such a benign name, reserved for Victorian maids-of-all work, and spinster sisters or maiden aunts. I like the power attached to being a storm name. See we can rise up, we wallflowers and background lilies.

I raged yesterday. The tension in my body got too much and I raged against it. Self-pity reigned. I am sorry for he gets the worst of it. He is kind, sympathetic, but even the most patient will be tried eventually. He always advocates anti-depressants. They have saved my life, he says. I know. And I accept that for him they work. But I don’t want them even if saying no to him is difficult. Not now, not ever. I need to feel this and come through to the other side. For I believe that there is one. An other side. A brighter side, where my contentment or possibly even happiness lies.

The wind blew wild as I walked, forcing me to cling to walls when I turned the corner from South Road and up that little side street. The sea rocked and rolled.

I caught a reading of Nicola Bayley The Mousehole Cat yesterday on the radio. I knew of the book but I’ve never read it. Lovely. Everything is seen through the cat’s eyes. Even the storm is a cat which Mouser lulls to calmness with her singing. Lovely serendipity. You see I can’t bring myself to listen to From Our Own Correspondent (which was on Radio 4 at the same time) when I’m this black. It is too much. I need light. Forgive me. I atone. I expiate. Wash me clean in your waters.

By Ellen Bell

Artist and writer currently living in Aberystwyth.