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This report is taken from PN Review 159, Volume 31 Number 1, September - October 2004.

From a Journal R.F. Langley

16 October 2002

Overcast and sometimes drizzling. Last night's wind and yesterday's rain have brought down leaves, leaf-stems and codling apples. You pass yourself, rotating upside down in puddles. I write a letter, then extend the walk to the post box by going along Edward's Lane, round again to the village by Walpole Lane. I lean on the railway bridge, above the church, with no hurry to get back, and only a few cars passing.

The wall is capped with curved bricks, coping bricks, I suppose you would call them. Cope. Cape. Cap. Hood. Cloak. Leaves and words. A general tumbling about around what is proper, what might cover the situation. These are red bricks, quite new, that have been well pointed with pale grey mortar in curved trenches between them. There is already moss on them, small tufts with seed capsules. And lichen, whitish, crusty, thin patches with lobed edges. Also powdery white patches shaped like the lichen, which could be vegetative propagation structures. Could be. Names.

A nameless insect, one I know I can't name and won't be able to, walks across the bricks. It is the size and general shape of an aphid, but has, I think, something of a short, pointed tail, and I don't notice any cornicles, nor any wings. It could be a mirid bug. Long, slow-moving, hair-thin legs. Curved, long antennae. A black, shining hump on its back. It walks steadily westwards along the top ...


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