The Welsh thing really gets to him. There was a man at the doctor’s, he said, he was behind me in the queue and I gestured for him to go ahead of me. And he replied in Welsh. And I told him, in English, that I didn’t speak Welsh. Were you rude about it? I asked. No, he said, I was polite. And do you know what? What? He continued to speak to me in Welsh. They make it worse for themselves, he said. They get people’s backs up.

I don’t know how I feel about it. I listen to them in the studio, chattering away and if I’m happy to be separate, it is a nice, pleasant hum. I can tune out, willingly. But if I’m feeling low, or isolated the sounds are harsh. It was the same with Norwegian. Language can make one welcome or unwelcome. No, that’s not strictly true, language couldn’t care less, it is the users, the manipulators of the language that do that. I think of the Irishman, and the Breton girl, both happy to embrace Welsh. I am too affected by him over this. I try not to be, but I absorb his hurt. It makes him feel less Welsh in his hometown. Or at least that is what he believes. Fucking Welshies, he says. Fuck ’em.

The smell of bonfires was gorgeous yesterday morning. How to describe it? Smells are tricky and too often conjured up via hackneyed phrases. That smokiness. Dry, sharp, almost acrid, it catches in the throat. Get to close and your eyes smart. It is a grey-black smell. But hot.

3.45 am and a girl in shorts runs barefoot across the main road beyond the Prom to her car, her feet tiptoeing on the tarmac.

Three rock pipits twee-twee from the rocks by the Perygyl.  I cannot see them.

The sky is a mass of stars.

Walking back home along Llanbadarn Road an animal runs along the pavement, and crosses the road. In the semi-darkness it is hard to see what it is. Is it a cat? No, it’s too small and its back is arched upwards, a mound, a moving, skittering hillock. Is it a weasel, or a stoat? Surely not. They are countryside, not urban creatures, aren’t they? But there is a stink. A smell, not of cat, more like fox. A sharp, hot, bitter stink. The shadows swallow it up.

New work. Always new things to learn. Be with it.

Two hours of Diski. I read of her cancer treatment. Hard going. She doesn’t mince her words. I am sorry. She was spiky. And why not? It is authentic, that not wanting to be nice. Nice. Nice.

By Ellen Bell

Artist and writer currently living in Aberystwyth.