We wanted to sit for a while in the sun. Just for ten or fifteen minutes. We have no garden, balcony or patio. We tried several spots. First we sat in what we call the ‘courtyard’, a kind of inner parking area that is enclosed by a fence but the wall we were sitting on was overhung with trees and a bramble was climbing its way along the brickwork. And besides it was still a little public. Anyone could come out of either the flats and houses and talk to us. And as he said, ‘We don’t want to talk to anyone.’ I wanted to sit along the lead flashing just up by the steps along the walkway that leads to our flat. But no, he thought it was too close to the other flats and would disturb people. He had something else in mind. Earlier he’d suggested we get some fold-up chairs for us to use on such an occasion, I been reluctant, for there is so little storage space. In the end we found some pavement slabs that did very nicely. It’s just by our car, he told me. He led me to the building site, one of many in this estate. Has it always been like this? I asked him, as we sat on the wasteland looking down on the College Fields and the backs of the houses along Llanbadarn Road. As far as he could remember it had been. The rocky path just below us used to be his route too and from school. He talked about the people who’d lived in the houses we looked down upon. One had an apple tree still in blossom and a line full of washing. Another had a dovecote. He talked about the tennis courts and the people he’d played with in his youth. I watched two ladybirds scaling a leaf as he talked, loving the sun and the sound of his voice made warm with nostalgia. It was nice. A gentle afternoon.

By Ellen Bell

Artist and writer currently living in Aberystwyth.