It was on the grass as we drove up to work. The seagulls and blackbirds were going frantic. Two men were walking away from it. Were they falconers? Was it a falcon? No, it seemed bigger with a hooked yellow beak and tawny brown plumage. A hawk? No, it was bigger still. A buzzard, perhaps? It seemed agitated. Was it injured? I raised itself off the ground and then landed on one of the workmen’s trucks. It was unsettling. A wildness had taken over, literally. The birds circled and cawed. Were they trying to scare it off? I remember when a sparrow hawk came into our garden in Cambridge. It swooped down and stole one of the sparrows that was pecking at our fat ball. So fast. So shocking. And the silence and stillness that followed the theft was surreal. From another world.

He was disturbed by seeing him, though he didn’t say so. Not directly. He was an acquaintance. He’d talked about my work to him once, years ago. He was an architect. Was. He’s had a stroke. He saw him in Clive’s Continental Menswear when he went in to collect some shorts he’s had altered. He was sitting in there chatting. Putting on a brave face, he said. It hangs over him. Does he think of it often? What can I do?

I got the name wrong. That Dickens character. I think it was Chrissparkle not Christingle. Either way. Lovely. Just lovely.

A bleak day a bleak mind. She wants to change my medication. He says I can say no. I want to maintain control not just blithely give myself over. Can I? Wind and rain but I still went out and I’m glad I did. I need to walk, to stretch, to feel the air. I think of AF and know that I am blessed.

By Ellen Bell

Artist and writer currently living in Aberystwyth.