It was the last bit of my dream, just before the alarm went off. (It’s funny how one’s body or one’s mind knows when it is about to ring.) I was with a group of people, some I knew but the others were strangers to me. They wanted to commission me for some work. ‘Ellen,’ they said, ‘do you think you could make us a train that stops?’ ‘Not on the budget I assume that you’ll have.’ I replied, perhaps a little too brusquely. A response that I quickly followed with, ‘but what I think I would be a good idea…’ Then I woke, a little frustrated that I couldn’t resolve their problem. What had I been going to suggest? I tried to pull it forward from those hazy recessesses as I bathed. A trick of the eye, an illusion of a train with lights and human bodies miming it, perhaps? The interesting thing was that their request was not for a train (which I note that in my dreaming I felt I could do if they money had been available (there’s confidence for you)) but for one that stopped. A stopped train. What a metaphor, eh?

She is sounding so much stronger. She was out walking when I called, breaking off from our conversation, now and then, to shout or call for the dog. She was excited by a run-in she’d had with the taciturn farmer on the other side of her house who’d accused her of letting her dog worry his sheep (it isn’t hers but a ‘borrowed’ one for the farm next door). He’d called the police in the end and threatened to report her to the RSPCA. Her daughter had been made anxious, worried that they’d notice their cockerel’s gamy leg. The police had humoured him and told her not to worry, the dog had not been doing anything wrong. And the RSPCA never came. They were to have a VE picnic in the garden. What her daughter had made was to be a surprise. They are kind to each other, loving and self-contained. But it was good to hear her sounding so brave, so vigorous. Long may it continue.

The day promises fine. x

By Ellen Bell

Artist and writer currently living in Aberystwyth.