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This report is taken from PN Review 187, Volume 35 Number 5, May - June 2009.

From a Journal R.F. Langley
12 June 2007
Dunwich beach in the early evening sunshine. A flat calm. As we stepped onto the shingle we met a tall, bald man with a white beard. He was draped in a grey towelling robe. He was elderly but still athletic, coming up from the sea. Barbara asked him if the water was cold, and he said it was not and that she should go in, though, of course, she did not because we had not come prepared for that. They stayed talking at the top of the beach while I went to stand at the tide-line.

The shingle fell away abruptly, immediately under the surface. There were no breakers, only a subdued fizz and a little froth. If, from time to time, the wave was a stronger one, there was a slight rattle of flints as it withdrew. Often there was no such rattle, just an intense silence, the more intense perhaps because one saw the water reverse and anticipated a disturbance which did not happen. As the wave came in the whole surface rose a little and reflected the sky, a silver grey and opaque. When the wave pulled back it tilted the surface differently and it became transparent, so the underwater slope of coloured flints, all tinged golden by the light and descending into foggy, pea-green depth, became visible. The alternating disclosure and covering was done almost without noise, with a gentleness which reminded me of the keeping quiet, the soft playing of ...


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