Was it a nightingale? It sounded so beautiful with a truly complicated song that trilled and tra-laaed for almost half an hour, at least until I went to sleep. There is a bank of trees on the edge of what is, and has been, a building site since we moved in almost five years ago. The fact that it is a ‘building site’ means that on its outskirts Nature is left to her own devices, and excepting a few of the flats’ cats who pick their way over the muddy trenches left by the JCB, the birds that come to sing in the trees are virtually unmolested. I have no knowledge of birdsong, I can recognise a blackbird but that is probably it. It may have been a nightjar. But I like to think it was a nightingale.

The kids were out in force this morning. The balcony-cum-fire escape of the Pier Pressure was teeming. I had some music playing in my ear as I walked but I could still here the hiss, the clamour of voices. When I generally go past they are coming down from the high of the evening, the alcohol is wearing off and they are preparing to stumble off home. A girl sat on a lad’s knee on of the Prom benches as she chatted to her friends. Later striding along Llanbadarn Road I see a couple from the corner of my eye. She is leaning provocatively against a wall, part of the little slope that winds down from the Buarth. I can’t hear what they are saying. I catch the shimmer of her sequined mini skirt in the street light, the whiteness of her blouse and the pout of her red-lipsticked lips. I think of parodies of old French movies, Allo Allo and Joni Mitchell’s song about Yvette saying ‘Avez-vous une allumette?’

He is to go into hospital tomorrow. The consultant wants him there for 8 am. A light breakfast. They may operate tomorrow, it may be the next day. How do they manage with so many ifs and buts? He seems calm. And we drove there OK, with just a little bickering. I notice a difference in him its the new drugs, certainly. But I was tetchy too, tired and ragged. It’s all this holding of breath. Can I ask that he be alright? I think of the knife on his neck, his skin cutting. It is routine for them. No big deal. To me he is love.

By Ellen Bell

Artist and writer currently living in Aberystwyth.