The Happy Bench

A laminated A4 sheet has been attached with plastic ties to a bench on the Prom halfway between the Castle and the harbour. It is entitled ‘The Happy Bench’. The sign goes on to encourage people to sit on that particular bench if they would like people to ‘stop by and say hi’, adding that ‘nobody need be lonely’. He was scornful of it when I told him about seeing it this morning at breakfast. Probably another scheme by Advancing Aberystwyth, he said. I wasn’t sure about it. The language is a little cloying, admittedly but the sentiment is a nice one, I think. Though probably a little unworkable during the next lockdown due to come into place this Friday. Will people use it? Is it a British thing to offer oneself up to strange company like that? There is another such sign further down the Prom. I just don’t know. Aren’t they just trying to be kind whoever they are?

I’m reading yet another Trevor novel. The language, the slow, easy story-telling gets under my skin and I itch to find the same resource in myself.

Will I, if I keep trying, will I, will I ever?

By Ellen Bell

Artist and writer currently living in Aberystwyth.