I woke with a sentence in my head. Things make sense in dreams that don’t when one tries to bring them into this reality. They don’t translate. I knew what it meant then but now I’m not so sure. ‘Very up to talk.’ That’s what it said. Was it about a particular person? Who knows. Leave it be. Let it float around as sound, sound heard but not verbalised.

He reads the obituaries just before he leaves the breakfast table to go downstairs to dress. He wasn’t a notable personage. An actor with an unusual name. He never knew his father. He’d left and the actor had never sought him out. His most famous role was as a Darlek. ‘I needed the money,’ he said, ‘and nobody cared.’

The rain was relentless when I walked. But it is always better than one expects. And there is pleasure in it. The patter of drops on the umbrella. The smell of the damp earth, the lack of people, and looking in on lit drawing rooms.

It gave me a fillip. I remembered her name and ordered two of her books. Both are about the eighteenth-century. And it’s interiors. I want to read about women sewing, why they did it and what they thought of while they did it. She writes from the standpoint of the individual. She goes inside their homes, reads their letters and diaries. I want to discover what they say about needlework marking time, filling time, taking time.

I keep falling asleep at my keyboard. Just a second, a moment. And the voices continue, chattery chattery. Time for coffee, then work. Then the Surgery. She’s doing her best, he said before he left. I know. And I will be polite. I will keep open, I promise him.

By Ellen Bell

Artist and writer currently living in Aberystwyth.