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This report is taken from PN Review 184, Volume 35 Number 2, November - December 2008.

From a Journal R.F. Langley

29 March 2006

I woke in the night invaded by noises, knocks and clinks and heavy clatters. Most of these came from our shutters, which were swinging their metal folds in a wind, the first wind of our stay, and so an unexpected one. I went round the kitchen and the dining room pulling the shutters to, without putting on the lights. All safely closed. The bedroom stayed black, except for a light through the keyhole, later, which indicated that someone else was awake in the small hours. When I awoke this morning I was deceived by the darkness, which made it seem like the middle of the night, and the long rumble of a trolley in the narrow street outside sounded like a strong wind out there. But, shutters open, and there is a blue sky, motionless leaves on the plants in the window boxes opposite.

There is an undertow, though, which latches on to night-time fantasies. On our final return to the flat last evening, after eating out near the Campo S. Margarita, I reached our door, at the top of the stairs, to find I had trodden in some dog's faeces. There was a long time spent alone in the street with newspaper, which I folded into hard corners and points, pushing them along the grooves in the sole of my shoe. There was a wad of wet paper. After all the gouging and wiping the smell still stuck ...


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