Ready Brek

It was very distinct. I smelt it as I walked down Great Darkgate Street. And it wasn’t the smell of porridge but that of Ready Brek. We were given it as children for breakfast in the winter. I used to sprinkle a layer of sugar on the top and wait for it to melt and then dip my spoon in. The layer of sweetness against the cloying stickiness of the milled oats was yum. And I’d think of the advert on the bus to school, the one were the child’s stomach is radiating red heat after eating some. Where had the smell come from? Such a comfort. There was no stink of TCP along Northgate Street this morning. A man sat in his car outside Costa Coffee, his window was open and the radio was on. He was slumped in the driver’s seat and he stared at me as I walked past. It was 4 am. And the light is still flickering in the doorway of the flats on North Parade.

They are closing the zoo. The owners are bankrupt. The lions are to be re-housed elsewhere, what of the rest? It was always a sad place. Most zoos are, though I have always loved drawing in them. They were doing their best, most of the animals were rescued. And then that thing happened over the puma – was it a puma that escaped? They never really recovered. I am sorry for them.

I began it – I made a start on the new beginning. And there was some pleasure in it. I like to write about her, to have her in my head. That way I make her a little bit mine.

By Ellen Bell

Artist and writer currently living in Aberystwyth.