It’s life size. A glittering white. A life-size reindeer on their balcony. I saw it as I walked from St David’s Road into Llanbadarn Road. It’s a big house, newly done-up with an electric gate. There was a lit reindeer on the balcony, a lit wreath hanging from the front door and a small lit Christmas tree in the courtyard. It pleases the child in me all this frou frou. I cannot complain. I wish there was more. We always used to laugh at the house we’d pass on the way to my studio in Wysing. All lit up with santas and elves and reindeer. It looked ridiculous but it was heartwarming too. Someone had gone to all that trouble. There was no darkness when that was lit. Not the bleak black that brings me down so. It was joyous, ridiculous but joyous. It’s not so rare these days. Everyone is at it. A borrowed fad from America, of course. I remember the images of lit up gardens and house frontages in those 1950s films we used to watch as children. The birth of technicolour. Christmas was always a public affair. The whole family going out to get the tree. There was always snow. And it was always white, no slush for them. And the mother was always smiling. The father always avuncular and warm. And present. Ice skating looked easy, no one falling on their arse. But it is enough all this, all this kitsch joyfulness. I seek it out as I walk. Another Christmas tree just been put up. I noticed a Santa coming out of a chimney outside The Marine that I didn’t see yesterday. And both The Celtic Bay and The Ceredigion Bay B&Bs have nets of lights hanging in their front windows.

I heard shouting as I walked along the Prom from the bar. A group of lads were playing about with a traffic cone. Above them two of their friends were leaning out of an upstairs flat window and egging them one. Put it on the post, one of them shouted, go on. It was a post with a no waiting sign on it. One of the lads struggled to raise the cone high enough but managed it in the end to great cheering from his mates.

I could see that the TV was on in an upper room of The Richmond. It flickered luminescent in the gloom.

There was a white, heart-shaped sweet lying in a puddle outside The Pier Pressure night club. A perfect white. A perfect heart.

The rain didn’t come, nor did the wind. I had a good walk.

The Why Not? club was still open as I reached the top of Great Darkgate Street. A few kids were congregating outside the town clock. Chewing gum anybody? shouted a boy with green hair, to a cluster of people. Chewing gum? Chewing gum? he repeated, his voice getting higher and louder. A girl in a tiny, low cut sleeveless dress, her arm through a boy’s, was shouting loudly as they headed towards the Castle.

My dreams continue vivid. I was walking alongside a graphic designer and he was showing me examples of his work. They were on a scrap of paper, tiny lines of text. We were going off to see DH with whom I was romantically involved. At least, he’d written me a letter, more a list of questions, to see if I was interested. I wanted the warmth. He seemed, though already married, willing to give it. Then we were in a small office with several other people. A man behind the desk was telling us all about a secretary who was naked as she typed. Everyone was appalled but I heard myself laughing. I remember the laughing, it felt so good to do it. Then I was ordering some food and buying a biscuit for him.

Who knows? So many layers, some inconsequential others of deeper import.

I finished the piece. Now it’s onto the next thing. Two more commissions till Christmas. Will I rest a little then? I await the call. Might it come soon. I want to be there. Can it be?

By Ellen Bell

Artist and writer currently living in Aberystwyth.