The Morbids

I started reading the introduction to a book on Edward Lear’s Collected Nonsense. I had no idea that he was such a fascinating man. But then why shouldn’t he have been? Aren’t we all, in our ways? And he had his trials, for all his seeming blitheness (as exhibited in his comic drawings and writings) – his epilepsy for one (a condition that was far from understood in the Victorian times) and his bouts of depression. He called them The Morbids. His playing with words was pure delight. I want to make some drawings inspired by them, though I am daunted, overshadowed, eclipsed by his brilliance. Somewhere in the introduction the writer mentioned a quote about learning – learning as happiness. An apposite thought when our powers that be are still trundling on about education being purely a means to an end, that end being a job. What of joy, eh?

I’ve heard the plaintive cries from what I take to be a fledgling, ousted from its nest to make its own way, the last two evenings as I’ve lain in bed. It breaks my heart. And I know that the Krays (our neighbours very expensive cats) are at large and they will have it. I don’t know where it is, somewhere in the wilderness yonder, in the undergrowth or among the trees. It calls and calls and no parent responds.

The sentence in my head when I woke was ‘fighting the parents of peace’. Not sure why. Oh, and the mobile homes are back at the harbour. Even in the rain. And I forgot to say that the other day I saw a couple, both on crutches (she had one he two) making their way to South Beach at 4.00 am in the morning with two fold-up deckchairs. There’s nowt stranger than folk.

By Ellen Bell

Artist and writer currently living in Aberystwyth.