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This report is taken from PN Review 196, Volume 37 Number 2, November - December 2010.

From a Journal R.F. Langley

13 December 2008
Dark. Still raining after nine, as it has been all day. Floods in the West and Midlands. I walked up the road to check the ditch, where it overflowed before. This time the pipes carrying it under the little bridges leading to front drives were pouring full, whipping leaves viciously through, but not blocked. I spent last night sleeping on the sofa in the room we use as a television room, because it was warm, because the wind was not audible in there, because I couldn’t be bothered to get undressed, because I yearned for the womb. We walked on Dunwich Heath two nights ago and the moon was as close as it has been for fifteen years, full, blazing, biting through the clouds so decisively it appeared to be on the near side of them. In Oxford Ruth is in labour, has begun proper contractions this evening. Tom phoned from the hospital car park to tell us. Contractions began an hour ago. A Sunday baby then, my first grandchild, and I am seventy. The moon is circling and the rain is falling.

In 858 BC the Assyrian king Shalmaneser III was campaigning up the Tigris, and the bronze straps from the gates of Balawat, which Eric and I were looking at in the British Museum, record his wars and one incident which is not a war, his arrival at the natural tunnel in the limestone through which a head-stream flows. A ram ...

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