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This report is taken from PN Review 103, Volume 21 Number 5, May - June 1995.

Glimpsed in Passing Lawrence Sail

They are to be seen as you are heading north on the M5, shortly after leaving Bridgwater to your left. What you see is not, as you might think at first, Hamlet's cloud 'almost in shape of a camel' nor, quite, the Miltonic creature that 'wreathed his lithe probosds' in Book IV of Paradise Lost - but, beyond doubt, an almost life-sized camel and elephant which appear to be made from papier mâché. You come first to the camel: it stands close up against a hedge that runs at right-angles to the motorway, and it faces towards you. An uncertainty about the hump arrangement might suggest a dromedary rather than a camel, but there is no mistaking the cameline set of the mouth, with its combination of smugness and obstinacy. From time to time the camel is repainted, in shades that vary from light beige to mid-brown. It displays a sensitivity to the seasons vaguely reminiscent of changing altar frontals: sometimes in summer it sports a pith helmet, and at Christmas time a woolly hat with, about its neck, a garland of tinsel. Since you are on the motorway, half drugged with speed and tedium and hardly expecting to see such a diverting and absurd thing, you have only just recovered from the shock of pleasure when, a mile or so on, you are racing past the elephant, four-square, properly grey and as if heading south.

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