Red Hat

Night Murmurs (2) - detail

I often see her coming down Penglais Hill. She is a tiny, wee thing of a woman, always dressed in outlandish clothes. Sometimes it is a South American-Indian style cape or tartan stockings. Nothing fits and nothing matches. It is as if she has rifled through a dressing-up box and found various oddments she fancied. She likes crazy hats. The other day she had on a polka-dot skirt, a black anorak and a bright red woolen hat. I nod my head at her but she barely notices. She walks with purpose, without, it appears going anywhere specific. She wanders. She has a key on a chain around her neck.

A blood vessel has burst in my eye. I get them now and again. When I’m tired or overwrought. It must be from Thursday when I had three bookings, the last one being ten at night. Too late. I only four hours sleep. It takes its toll, that. And I shall be fifty-three next Wednesday. I feel fit but I need sleep. Good sleep. Deep sleep. I try to see the beauty in the spilling of red. Watching its shape.

A seagull flies past my window, wings taut in the window, wing tips like fingers spread against the breeze.

Earlier I caught a young wasp in a cloth and set it free through the window.


How I love Public Libraries. You walk in and come out with four new books to read. What a pleasure to choose. I don’t want to own them, to borrow is such pleasure. A dipping in. A lightness. No committal. Grahame Greene, Ali Smith, Tove Jansson and an author I’ve never heard of, Jim Grace. I wanted slim novels. Handbag-size with beautiful covers. White Noise will have to wait – it is too big to take with me. I suppose I should get a Kindle, I say to him. They’re not doing so well, he says, they haven’t taken off the way they expected. Are people going back to books then? I ask.

I never left them. It is all in the handling of them. The bookmarking. The things left inside them. The date stamps. The smell.

It is time. It is time for an adventure. Are you ready?

By Ellen Bell

Artist and writer currently living in Aberystwyth.