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Section 1

Efflua is my favorite town. The white houses step-stoning from the ink-black shingle all the way up to the rolling common, where the children fly kites and sing songs.
The first thing you notice, is that no-one here is in the middle of life. The men are out at sea with the boats, their wives are in far away Panyana or else teaching the children.

The wise old dames sit out in the piazza, talking of University policy or of their former researches, looking over the beautiful marina and harbour. Then one of their husbands emerges from the smokery, a great cauldron in his rough-gloved hands. He is sprightly if aged, and watching him roll the cauldron on its base provides great entertainment for them.

But when he lifts the lid on the cauldron, they all delight in the aroma. Perfectly cooked white fish with spiced crumb and a touch of smoke. The breads they make come from ovens buried in the black rock. You can even taste the rock in their char.

No-one is half as uptight as they are in Panyana. They're here to paddle in the warm sea, and dream of the gods under the arch at every little inlet and cove.
The best thing is to walk up to the black cove, it has wonderful fossils, and you see hundreds there, people are gathering stones as big as your head!


Section 2

Then there's a graveyard under one of the few trees. It is a very old tree, and has grown from the shallowest soil. Under its boughs lie the steadfast heroines of Efflua's past, miniature arches, gates to the gods, erected in their honour.

Up the scree slope and away from the town proper, looking over an area of mottled scrub bouncing with crickets, is the headquarters of the Liason Trustees. It feels at odds with the quaint town.

Primly dressed women, and the odd man, skirt the square briskly. But their faces are pained, they are universally melancholy, unfulfilled. For these are the students whose studies amounted to nothing, and in their desire to return to heady university days, adopted the Liason Trustees positions that are both so near and so far from academia. They revel malevolently in what power they can exercise over Panyana, and take joy in belittling the academics whereever possible.

You can understand I suppose, since the academics are just as quick to scoff at the Liason Trustees, thinking their interference a waste of precious time.


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