Bakery Path

An important shortcut from Station Road to Brook Avenue.

Take care crossing Station Road, particularly in the daytime, when the polluting machines career violently along the tarmac. Be sure to look both ways, down the street towards the Natwest Bank, and the endlessly transforming retail spaces, then up the road, towards Premier House and the changing skyline. Should you successfully make it from one side to the other, slip your way down Bakery Path, a small shortcut from Station Road to Brook Avenue.

What should strike you first is a sudden sense of separation. You are no longer in and amongst the bustle of a high street. Now you are adjacent, looking in. Pedestrians will pass by you as though you don’t exist. You will be at one with the timeworn spirits, the trudging workers of Farm Road, stepping their muddy boots across the marshland on their way to catch an afternoon train to Finsbury Park. Watch as the looming walls of the bookies and the estate agents melt away, and you are left with only fields. The distant call of birds, and the faint chuff of a slow-moving train, these are the only sounds that remind you of civilisation.

You are standing at the entrance to Bakery Path, where in later years the wafting scent of baking bread reminds you of early mornings on the way to school, where later you would grab a sausage roll from Greggs. Only quickly the scent of pastry turns vile, to the faint scent of piss and rotten garbage, for you have stepped away from the entrance and have made your way towards Brook Avenue. A door there, locked, leads to the rumble of the Underground. The lock is a strange one and it whispers to remind you of a friend of a friend who can unlock it. Though, to even get there, you must first step over the dirt, the mulch, the old cans of lager, the dirty plastic bag. It’s better to avoid, to stay away and think instead of how the bramble once stood here - if you squint you can see the twitching nose of a rabbit as it makes its way towards water.

The deafening sound of machinery breaks out, as tracks are laid and pistons pump dirt from the land into the backs of trucks and lorries. They had to build the Underground somewhere, they had to take the sleepiness and slap it awake. Here to your left a synagogue emerges, the only place remaining with a sense of spirituality, the rest of the landscape turned to a violence of steel and corrugated iron. The sound of prayer does not emerge into the corners of the Path, nor can you catch sight of the worshippers in the reflection of a mirror, suspended high upon a pole. If you rest your nose against the fence that stops you trespassing on the line, you view is obscured by parallel lines and the landscape is rendered in small fractions - you must piece it together.

You can see now Brook Avenue, down the slope. The landscape shivers and a wall appears at the Path’s end. You’re young, a child, and walking on it. The air is alive with colours - peach, blue, a sour yellow, shallow specks of green. The wall belongs to the yellow doored house. You jump from brick to brick. The door begins to open and out comes an old man, shocking in his age. He berates you and you cry. You jump from the wall, and turn back towards Bakery Path, but it has disappeared, leaving only a rolling field, dotted occasionally with a newly built home in mock Tudor, and a hint of the developments to come.

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