With hands wrapped in cashmere-and-leather gloves, I braved a walk home yesterday on a day that was toying with being legitimately, painfully cold. It can't have been all that bad, or my feet, which wore no socks, would have objected at the first sign that I wasn't racing to the bus stop; and my ears would have begun to hurt, and all those other signs that winter is in full swing and it's a cruel kind of winter. This was just a beautiful winter. My hands turned numb from taking photos; I actually had to remove them from their gloves so that they could move around more freely inside my pockets, trying to remember how to be hands and not just frozen little extensions of the body.
I went from Folly Bridge up St. Aldates to Christ Church Meadow. For some reason, Christ Church Meadow always manages to cheer me up, and for reasons I can't explain, I needed a little cheering up. There were a few brave souls who had decided that on the evening of this first day of February, they too would take in what was by all accounts a glorious day (the sky was showing off, the buildings were a color that you can't possibly get anywhere else but here, the grass was so green I felt like I was wearing polarized sunglasses). Braced against wind, in fluttering coats and scarves, they pushed along the path by the meadow, eyes on a glowing skyline, making dainty black silhouettes, getting lost in the spindly bare trees.
As winter evenings go, not a bad one. I went down the Cowley Road, which seemed to have sprouted several new hairdresser's shops since the morning (an illusion, I'm sure--I think...), past health food stores, greasy (and dubious-looking) takeout chicken restaurants, a disturbingly large number of pubs and curry houses which made me both thirsty and hungry (not a coincidence that we had cider and pad thai for dinner, perhaps), about twelve charity shops sandwiched between sprawling gambling establishments and nebulous money changing/phone card issuing businesses, a charming vintage shop where I stopped by to admire the pair of boots I've had my eye on for about two weeks (yes, I did try them on; no, I did not buy them. yet), and thought to myself: I really like it here!
James Street turned into a dark tunnel at the end of which a blaze of red sunset shone, and I even forgot, temporarily, to be upset by
the preponderance of drivers who have decided to honk at me lately while I try to cross the street. More on that later...but for now, just another serene shot of gorgeous Oxford...