Baptist Church sign

We finished watching it last night. Oranges Aren’t the Only Fruit. It was brutal. Brutally sharp, brutally funny, bleak yet somehow hopeful. I’m going to go to University, she says. She survives it all, even the ‘ropes of love’. Oranges. I love them. Her mother arrives in hospital with a large string bag full of them. In the TV play Jess had a friend, Elsie, an 82 year-old woman from the congregation. I think Jeanette Winterson wrote in her autobiography that this was a fiction. I’m sorry for that.

Northern skies. Rain on cobbled streets. Outside lavs, best place for it, says Elsie, all that muck. Hair nets in bed. Silent husbands. I seem to know it and yet I don’t. The child making the best of it. Will I get a new hat in heaven? She scares the other children with her talk of the devil. Next door are fornicating, she tells the ice-cream man. Are they? he says.

It will stay with me for a long time. Just like The Crucible. Both distortions of love, in the name of God. And yet, within there is so much. So much.

I walk in the light of the moon. Silvery. In the light of the silvery moon, I love to spoon, I sing in my head as I walk. The students are back in force. They sat on benches this morning as I strode by, heads lolling forward. The sea was lapping. The Perygyl was lit up white. I listened to music, to stories, to Norwegian in my headphones. I missed the silence, the sound of the sea, the birds. Tomorrow I will leave them behind.



I write my 1,000 words. I don’t read them back. Not yet. Write 20,000, no 30,000 before you do so. Let it shape itself. Get it on the page and then go back. Give it life, breathe into it first. Give it a life of its own. And then what? Wait. Just wait.


By Ellen Bell

Artist and writer currently living in Aberystwyth.