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This report is taken from PN Review 190, Volume 36 Number 2, November - December 2009.

From a Journal R.F. Langley

7 November 2008

It was raining as the Lowestoft train pulled into Darsham, slowly, this morning, and sounding its klaxon with emphasis. We drove to Southwold and parked in the car park by the boating pool, with the rain still stronger, feeling like sea spray. And the sea was heavy indeed, steely with green in it. The lenses of my spectacles quickly clogged with droplets, my trouser legs were damp and cold almost at once, and my waterproof was thin and not warm enough. Several people were clustered to the north of the car park watching one of the groynes made of black boulders, with deep clefts between them, and slime on their surfaces. The foam poured into the clefts and bits of it flew up and jumped over, leaped about, as if fluff rather than froth, and all aware and catching your eye with such sudden liveliness. Five minutes ago the bird had walked into one of the apertures and had been hidden there since, sheltering from wind and wet.

It steps up again soon. Cinnamon. A cinnamon back. A cinnamon mantle. A black mask, eyes, legs and tail. Pale webs on its black primaries. A creamy chest. The desert wheatear. It straightens up, raises its head, jerks its tail, flies to the concrete wall, flattens itself, facing into the wind, and defecates, at length. Then it flits down onto the path a yard or two from us. There is its black eye, considering ...


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