So tell me, Augustus, what are your

pleasures in life? Mrs Smallwood chirped.

She was an amenable soul, the sort of

person who put you at your ease. Mr

Smallwood sat silent and awkward in

his lazy-boy, a mute, hen-pecked man.

I was tempted to say that Laura was my

main life pleasure, but this would have

been misjudged, inappropriate. Instead

I told her I wrote. Mrs Smallwood was

taken aback. I’d curdled the conversation.

I was hastily offered more reviving tea,

another chocolate digestive biscuit. I


Author: Robert James Berry

Poet & Novelist