Tuesday, 28 January 2014

The Victoria - Jericho, Oxford

Some places you know from senses aside from sight. The smell hits and time rewinds. The foot on the smooth stair. 'We' said in place of 'you'. The toll of the bell, alight for ZSL, and the warmth of the familiar on a cold day.

Some journeys are the same. Dragged along, not pushed, no map consulted, and cracks on the pavement dodged without sight. The pace perfect to the kerb. The pathway known like the back of the hand. That door, once stuck fast, swings open to a greeting from yesterday not forgotten. 

And the pie. Always the pie. The menu changed, shifting, white paper, brown paper, six, eight, and twelve, four taps and two guest ales. Each table, drops of clarity in the ocean. Memories of hot and cold. The crust perfect, the aroma the same, make space for the sauce and the square plate joins. Chips, salad, knife and fork, never fingers, that’s the same and no change. 

Seven Cs don’t come in to this. It’s perfect. A time before the city, before the other pies - both short and long - a glance through the window still shows the road home, the long walk and the key in the lock. It’s a formula, tried and tested. A memory of muscle. But there’s a time when the cord is cut, a name not remembered, the smell unfamiliar, and the taste foreign to the tongue. Legs of stone set north, twisted, turned, and broken, reset south toward a white light, the driving rain, and the warm sun.

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