All the talk this morning in the supermarket was of snow. She lives out in the sticks and the road into the village is never gritted. It’s going to rain in town, she said, but they still grit the roads. Why not grit us instead? She’ll be holed in. I’ve told the kids that they might not be able to go to school tomorrow, she said. They don’t mind.

She’s seemed down of late, though she was perkier today. Perhaps it is the thought of those few days (it isn’t meant to last) being snowed in that is cheering her up. How would I feel? It used to happen to us when we lived in Lancashire. But then everything was taken care of, the stress wasn’t mine. Though missing days of school bothered me. I liked to be on top of everything, I was so scared of failing, of being out of synch with the others.

We trying to keep to a budget. Have I told you? It makes me anxious sometimes. It becomes my responsibility, or have I just made it so? I write the lists, do the managing. Just fifty pounds, twice a week for everything. It seems so much. But it soon goes. And I’ve cut back. Not so much fruit, no pomegranates, no strawberries, no grapes. And I count out my nuts now. But it’s made a difference. And I’ve never minded scrimping. I’m more comfortable with it than I am with excess. A puritan. Someone used to call me that, I forget who. She was called that, the American girl in that Oscar Wilde play. The one about the woman who had a child out of wedlock. Again I forget the name. A Woman of No Importance, that’s it. Anyway, we were slightly over this morning. Oh, no, I said. And she promptly whipped out her staff discount card and took five quid off. There you are, she said. You’re in budget now. She’s done it before. I hope she doesn’t get into trouble. I’m touched. A lovely gesture. Kind.

The wind was strong this morning. But the air was mild. The oystercatchers were peeping and squeaking. The sound was like that of one of those dog toys you get from pet shops, toy bones or balls. The dog mauls at it and it squeaks interminably. Why were they peeping? A warning?

I continue my look out for new decorations. Another Christmas tree has gone up in a house on North Road.

The boat rigging was jangling and jostling in the wind down at the harbour. The wind blowing at a furious pace, a great rushing and whooshing. The rigging sounded like cow bells.

It’s not my story. I cannot own it. She belongs to so many others. They have more claim on her. Mine was just that of the first witness. The first being to hold her, to conceive of her. To love her. I think of her with all that going on. She cannot know what is coming. I ask for a small part. A small role. A walk on part. And all that love, to let it flow, to let it be. Let be.

By Ellen Bell

Artist and writer currently living in Aberystwyth.