Tuesday, 17 January 2012

Of Cabbages and King's Cross

It’s never quite dark and less so here where whilst horror and good humour both fight with pints and loud words in King’s Cross the soft glow of the Lighthouse turns even the occasional fog to a neon cloud. With a sentence like that it's almost certainly dark and stormy too. It’s warm within and on many floors, each jumbled and not a one entirely safe as tables on levels between levels are always noisily full. The air is a little wet. Shellfish grow in the dampest corners. Plates of oysters are run about the many tables with dishes of vinegar and bottles of beer. The tables and chairs form not one set between them though there are dozens of the first and scores of the second and rarely with the door open two together to be had. From nightfall to morning the Oyster Lighthouse glows. By daylight and with the last patron pushed out the building is on turning boarded up, shuttered with not a sound to be heard.

Yet the Oyster is a place of welcome. Often the first thing seen leaving the station by its light when dark it has more than its share of thieves and scoundrels, offering beds or bottles and there goes your bag, but – and worth it all with only a little wit and a good eye – the good cheer here is a powerful thing. No troubles can pass through the doors, fear is itself unwelcome and as it says above the second door in (if crudely written) Misery Is No Member Hear (sic).

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