It’s been there for a few days now. It’s a white slip-on sandal, a man’s shoe with the brand name PUMA written across the front band. Hasn’t anyone missed it? Our neighbour was at his window smoking when I went off for my walk this morning and asked if I or he knew the number of the top middle flat opposite. I said that I didn’t and waited to see if he would give me an explanation for his enquiry. He did, eventually. I wanted to tell them about the shoe, he said, pointing at it, as I saw it flying out of one of their windows the other day. Was it the result of a row, or a jolly jape? I asked him at breakfast but he doesn’t know the number. He’d remonstrated with them last year because they were making such a noise, but it had involved shouting at them (a few had come to the window) rather than going up to knock on their door. It’s funny how his encroaching deafness makes him less and less tolerant of noise.

A misty morning, very still, very peaceful. I go up and down with my confidence over this book idea. I like this stage in all my creative endeavours, the stage that is before my ideas leave the safety and comfort of my head and offers themselves to the critical eye and commentary of others. She, the young protagonist, begins to flesh herself out within me. I think I shall like her.

It’s been almost eight years now. It feels like a lifetime away.

By Ellen Bell

Artist and writer currently living in Aberystwyth.