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This report is taken from PN Review 182, Volume 34 Number 6, July - August 2008.

From a Journal R.F. Langley

10 January 2004

8.30 pm. I took the kitchen waste down to the compost bin at the bottom of the back garden just now, and suddenly remembered our back garden in the Midlands, five years ago, in Pinfold Hill, as it was when I went down to the rubbish heap, late in the evening. Tonight no lights are visible as I head in that direction, just the white painted eaves of the garden shed reflecting from the kitchen window behind me. Then the dark. I did not take a torch but found my way to touching the plastic compost bin, in its cave in the hawthorn hedge, without seeing it at all.

What lights? I turn and stand and look. To my left, the kitchen window from Bridge Farm, next door, through our thick side hedge, partly concealed behind the tall reed gates we have there. And an upstairs back window. Someone going to bed. Beyond that, to the east, a single yellow, rather dim street lamp which shines within itself but reaches out to nothing else. Then, to the west, on my right, the other half of our old farm house, the other neighbour's kitchen and bedroom windows. Behind them another gable end, over the brook, glowing a little in a reflected sulphur shine, and another, single lamp, further off, down in the village. Not much light. I stand for a while surveying the not much light and the blackness summoned ...


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