He often tells me stories, or more like anecdotes, as we drive. That is, in between my sleeping. I usually know them very well, having heard them countless times before. I don’t mind, I like the flow of the repeated tale, it’s a continuum of sorts. They are generally inspired by landmarks that we pass, a cafe he and his mother used to frequent, or somewhere they stopped off at so that she could wee and so on. I hadn’t heard this one before. I think it was sparked off by my trying to think of how I might disguise myself in the gallery so that I wouldn’t be recognised and thus interrupted. Wearing his sunglasses was all I could come up with. So followed the tale of Sinatra. He was a local boy, notorious for singing in the pub whenever he got drunk, hence the nickname. Apparently he could sing but one particular landlord got so irritated with him that he was barred. Sinatra thought he would go in disguise to this particular pub and the landlord would be none the wiser. So he put on some dark glasses and all was well until he got drunk and the singing started then out he was thrown. Bless him. He was quite harmless, he said, adding that he’d often heard him singing on the bus.

I spoke to her on Friday. It’s been a couple of weeks. She’s been down. It’s the rain and being stuck inside. Her daughter persuaded her to go to a sing-a-long. She didn’t want to but a car was booked and off she went. And she enjoyed it. She didn’t know the words but recognised the tunes and could hum along. I didn’t want to take anyone’s usual seat, she said to me, but one kind lady invited me to sit next to her, so that was alright. She sounded better for getting out. Winter is hard. Hard on all of us.

She thought it had been a good summer. She talked of how often she sat in her garden.

I think he is a content man. I hear him coughing as he smokes through his window down below. He has his online poker, his mother for company if he wishes it, friends he goes out for a meal with and his travels. Yes, I believe he is content. Is it about accepting the narrowness?

Walking along Llanbadarn Road three young men come out of the darkness to walk behind me. They are talking and laughing loudly. One asks another, ‘Do you want to be a pilot then?’. ‘Yes’, the other replies.

He bought me an advent calendar. I love them. A childish thing. A fey thing. But nice. I think.

By Ellen Bell

Artist and writer currently living in Aberystwyth.