ON his first leave from square-bashing, Brian had got into Nottingham at eight of an evening, having taken most of the day to travel from the back-end of Gloucestershire. Reaching the wide green flatlands of the Trent beyond Brum, he felt so much excitement that he couldn't eat the sandwiches and cake dashed out for at the last stop. Cows were dotted by peaceful and diminished streams and sunlight still burned into the packed corridor, and he felt himself being channelled nearer to Nottingham with every circling clatter of the wheels. The excitement in him was not so much at seeing Pauline as at the sensation in his stomach of being lost once more in the vast familiar spider's web of Nottingham and all the comfortable meaning of it.
After a hello cup of tea with mam and dad in Radford, he hopped a couple of buses to see Pauline on the estate out at Aspley. Perhaps by some fluke the house would be empty and they'd be able to love each other on the settee or roll about in one of the made beds upstairs; or if not that, then happen they