How much out of ten? he asks. Every morning. It’s usually four. Sometimes three. Sitting in the sun in Aberdovey sharing a pot of Lapsang Souchong tea from proper silver tea pots, it was nine. Ten is reserved for Spain or Italy when the light is so white. It was a good day. I felt warmed through. Our faces pinked. To just sit and stare at the sea. Nearing bliss for a mid-March day. Thank you.

Walking yesterday, early, there were a couple standing in the road. They stood arms around each other. Quiet. He kissed her forehead. She wore a red short-sleeved shirt and her ankles between the end of her jeans and her trainers were bare. Later, on the way home, they were ahead of me. They walked slightly apart, not touching. Quickening my pace, I¬†managed to read what was written in white transfer-printed letters on her shirt. ‘Rory Thrush Makes Me Gush’. Half and hour before I’d passed The Angel. Across the footpath outside the Academy a cluster of youths lent against walls. A girl was pressed up against one of them, talking. Your shoulder’s fine, she was saying. I know it’s fine, the lad replied, but going out, it’s killing me.

Caught in the rocks beneath the Perygyl are two trees. Dead now, and carried there from god knows where, they are stripped bare. White now, they shine in the dark. Pearlescent. Shorn, sheared of their bark-ish protection. Denuded. Vulnerable. The next morning they are gone.

A kindred spirit, though I suspect she would not of appreciated such appropriation. She wrote of her fears, her anxieties¬†about how to behave amongst strangers. She fretted, as do I, about seemingly small things. For me it is the anticipation of a loss of energy, a draining. The draining that goes on at night. When I have to be up late. It is sucked out of me. And tonight I must be out. If I am honest I’d like to be in bed by 7 pm. The nighttime is not for me, it is the morning I cherish. But tonight I need to observe, find material for an article. I anticipate the event with pleasure, it is just the lateness. The draining of my precious energy.

So be it. It will be done. And there is always a reward. Always.

By Ellen Bell

Artist and writer currently living in Aberystwyth.