Most Read... Rebecca WattsThe Cult of the Noble Amateur
(PN Review 239)
John McAuliffeBill Manhire in Conversation with John McAuliffe
(PN Review 259)
Eavan BolandA Lyric Voice at Bay
(PN Review 121)
Patricia CraigVal Warner: A Reminiscence
(PN Review 259)
Vahni CapildeoOn Judging Prizes, & Reading More than Six Really Good Books
(PN Review 237)
Tim Parksin conversation with Natalia Ginzburg
(PN Review 49)
Next Issue Gwyneth Lewis ‘Spiderings’ Ian Thomson ‘Fires were started: Tallinn, 1944’ Adrian May ‘Traditionalism and Tradition’ Judith Herzberg ‘Poems’ translated by Margitt Helbert Horatio Morpurgo ‘What is a Book?’
Poems Articles Interviews Reports Reviews Contributors
PN Review 276
PN Review Substack

This report is taken from PN Review 255, Volume 47 Number 1, September - October 2020.

Here one begins again
From the Journals, 26 July 1999
R.F. Langley
I will keep something of a journal, though much deters me. We are here looking for a house to buy. Pinfold Hill1 is, subject to contract, sold.2 I am retired. B has left her school-teaching job. We have until October3 to find somewhere to live. Already we have spent a Saturday here, looking at five or six houses, with no luck, and a day in Shropshire looking at two more.

Here we are again in this two-bed guest room,4 the sash window raised six inches, a grey squirrel jerking and flirting on the windowsill outside, house martins shooting across, cool, unshining trees, distant fields, Virginia creeper draping both sides of the glass; pale turquoise, seven o’clock sky with mushroom pink ceiling, B’s words sounding with a factual crack and snap in the stillness, the wood pigeons silent after hours of intense calling - no, here one begins again, ending on the lame raised note. Then another, a higher pitched voice, not so much urgent, or soothing, as mindless.

I awoke with an image of a plastic, transparent jug with thick frothed liquid in it, and I was trying to clear the froth by scraping it up the sides of the vessel with a thin rod – laborious, useless, futilely misjudged task.
Oh dear.

A hollowness. The country has gone foreign. The stillness is one of incredulity. I am cheating everyone by being here. I would much prefer to stay put in the Midlands. This is jeopardy, the good place drained. I can’t separate duty from fear, estimate the real worth ...


Searching, please wait... animated waiting image