It’s a question of neatness, of dotting the is and crossing the ts.

The notes were there in my diary from before we went away, a reminder to write them out when I returned. One is from a quote by Jane Austen, from one of her letters, I think, captured in Lucy Worsley’s oh so excellent book. It reads: ‘I’ve read The Corsair, mended my petticoat and now have nothing else to do.’ The other is from an overheard conversation early on Saturday morning. Last Saturday that is, before we went. It was from two students. A girl and a boy. She was tiny, with long straggly blonde hair. He was tall and slender and also blonde. Despite the cold weather, she was wearing miniscule black leather shorts. It’s shocking, he was saying, over and over. Her voice was earnest as she leaned into him. You shouldn’t be ashamed of it, she said. I know, I know, he replied.

It’s hard to return home. All these bits to do. I feel in bits too. It will get better once I get a hold. It was lovely to go away. I wish it could have been longer. Much longer. But then it would have been harder to return. Lots of dreams last night. Now there is work. Much work to do. Two loads of washing have been done, with ironing to do later. Ah, me. Such is life. I am grateful for the times away, that glorious emptying.

By Ellen Bell

Artist and writer currently living in Aberystwyth.