Carrwood sign 2011

My umbrella has been blown out of shape, raggedy like the rooks on the Prom, their feathers cast awry by the wind. I walk with it. It fits easily in my pocket. It offers some shelter from the rain. It is dying, losing its usefulness.

I am always a little lost when I’ve completed something. Cast adrift into nothingness. And I need to be a-doing. Always.

I still use a Filofax, you know. Old-fashioned, certainly, but I am a note-writer. A jotter of ideas. In different colours – quotes, books to read, radio to listen to, ideas. I like the scribbles. I am trying to contain but with style, with creativity. A chaotic kind of order, held together with paperclips.

I think in pictures. The scribbles are pictures.

Her potager garden. Chekhov was always planning gardens, he said.

We were a odd grouping. They talked of cricket, drinking clubs (The Spartans and the Stinkies), daughters, flying Business Class, coming upon a mother duck with thirteen ducklings. The waiter had his new teeth in. He smiled at us, nice to see you again. The rainbow trout were humungous. A bit of fish stuck to his lower lip. He talked of his cousin Peter and the rogue who was trying to swindle him. A little too trusting. Naïve, he said. I don’t mind if he gives it all to the boy upstairs, he said. It is easy to be with them these days. They ask little of me. A hug. And to listen. I can do that. I can do both those things. It is a pleasure. We live simply here. I like it. I am content with what is.

Next year I will travel. Next year. Next year.

By Ellen Bell

Artist and writer currently living in Aberystwyth.