The sea smelt odd as I walked. I couldn’t at first put my finger on what the smell was. Then I got it. Bad eggs, sulphur, sulphurous. Was it coming from the water? Had something been churned up. We associate what we consider bad smells with something dangerous, something to be avoided, maybe even poisonous. But I am not so sure. It smelt like brimstone. Something agitated in a portentous way. The weather has turned. The wind was strong, carrying the stink further. The smell of baking bread softened my nose. How comforting that is. I think of the approach of Bonfire Night, his birthday and the repository of so many childhood memories – encapsulated in tastes and smells, at least for me. Oh, and the discomfort of standing in the rain, usually, the back of me wet and the front dry and hot from the bonfire. The tastes? Well, baked potatoes wrapped in tin foil and cooked in the base of the bonfire, Lancashire Hot Pot and beetroot, treacle toffee (which I thought so adult, so grown up as the treacle got in the back of my throat) and parkin. Gorgeous, gooey, malleable parkin. And then there were the sparklers, and the marks they left behind momentarily in the ether. And that smell of them too. Like sulphur too, like a spent match. Gunpowder, a smidgen. Wonderful. The fireworks I preferred watching from the warmth of home, behind glass. Will we see any this year?

More dressed-up ghouls and ghostesses in town. The last of the Halloween celebrations. They are growing tired of it now, I think. The pavements were shiny with rain. Phrases stay in my head from the music I listened to as I walked (a ploy to stop my mind dwelling on the discomfort of my toes) – Joni Mitchell and ‘a warm arrangement’ and then John Lennon ‘sitting here doing time’. All this admin stuff to do before I get down to the nub of the day – sewing. I’ve much to do. And much to listen to. He slept better. My poor love. Trust. All will be well.

By Ellen Bell

Artist and writer currently living in Aberystwyth.