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This report is taken from PN Review 157, Volume 30 Number 5, May - June 2004.

From a Journal R.F. Langley

July 1987

The late dusk sky has emptied clean, then begun to fill with spreads of more continuous cloud, lit by the last sun. Jan and I walk out down King's Farm track, right to the Westleton road, then left, out towards the sea, and round by New Hangman's Wood. The air is motionless. No traffic. A distant dog. Broad, curved, full bracken heads don't quiver, and a million delicate birch leaves hang untouched. A hollow evening, with the sense of cool echo. Two robins chink, one hopping up twigs to see us, flirting his tail. Gnats bite along my jawbone, on my neck. Every now and then, in the bigger woods earlier, we heard a gathering hum, and found a lime tree with bees still bobbing round its flowers, high over us. Honeysuckle. Rawer sewage smells in patches. Small moths dip and wobble. Then a nightjar churr rattles in the middle distance, unmistakable, if muted. Our feet deafen us, but it continues, further off. Coming near to emerging from the trees into the gorse, we are halted as it opens up close by, hard and all-powerful. Stops. We step forward, and the bird itself tumbles, with a silent twist, across the sky ahead, in clear silhouette, hawk thin, pointed, long wings and tail, slender, with a series of single `quick' owl-like notes, into the scrub. A toad moves sluggishly off the wet path. There were flies with black bodies and red thighs, and a round, ...


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