My research takes me down unexpected avenues. Go with it, he says. And I do. Yesterday it was the diaries of Marie Bashkirtseff and Charlotte Perkins Gilman’s biography. One died young, refusing marriage, domesticity for her art, the other married, had a child, got post-natal depression and left it all, eventually, for her work. A rest cure was suggested for her. ‘Live as a domestic a life as possible’, advised her surgeon, ‘never touch pen, brush or pencil as long as you live’. No wonder she scarpered.

I am in a tunnel. A dark tunnel. I keep putting one foot in front of the other. I do my chores, I keep our bodies together, but I am strangely apart from it. I thought of stepping out and going to Bath to see the exhibition but the thought of the journey, almost ten hours by train to spend two hours there, defeats me. I shall see it when it goes to Oldham in Autumn.

I took them some flapjacks. Maybe they won’t be there, I thought as I neared the shelter. There was one man only, cocooned in a red and black sleeping bag. I didn’t want to get too close and alarm him, or indeed wake him so I left them on the ground wrapped in kitchen paper and¬†placed in a bag. I’d considered tying them up with a ribbon but who wants such fripperies when you are cold and hungry.

No snow, though it was promised. He slept a little. That is something. Isn’t it?

By Ellen Bell

Artist and writer currently living in Aberystwyth.