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This report is taken from PN Review 155, Volume 30 Number 3, January - February 2004.

Letter from Belgrade James Sutherland-Smith

Never having been able to claim they I am a person of `fixed abode' in the sense of belonging to a particular country, I had been, in spirit, prepared to move from Slovakia for a number of years. I am surprised that I stayed so long, thirteen years in all. Previously I had only lived in one place for six years, in Long Eaton: there I went to my ninth school, the local grammar school, my father's old school, although he pretended to my mother for many years that he had attended Trent College, the local public school. The failure of a tomato canning factory in which he had an interest in Accra in Ghana required him and his family to stay with his father and thus reveal the truth of his educational history.

However, reverting from shiftless father to shifting son, I have to observe that moving gets more difficult the older I get. I won't stay in Belgrade for thirteen years. My work here will be reviewed in 2005 and in 2008 the British Council, `the Organisation', now that we are in Olivia Manning territory, requires me to retire as I will be sixty.

After thirteen years of living in small city pinched in a neck of territory between Poland, Ukraine and Hungary, moving to Belgrade demands some personal adjustment. The old city is on an escarpment above the confluence of the Sava and Danube. At the end of the escarpment is the ...


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