Motorway Service Station “Now Half Fully Open”

There is a sign for a motorway service station on the M5 between Bristol and Gloucester that reads “now fully open”. And this fills me with regret. Regret that I have never been to the motorway service station on the M5 between Bristol and Gloucester “now half fully open.” In fitful dreams, yanking back the linen of the dawn, I go to that place “now half fully open”, between junctions 13 and 14, junction 13.5, slipping down the sliproad like a rabbit down a hole. In this place, “now half fully open,” burger chefs are flipping patties of meat not yet cooked, UFOs of bloody mince, hang in the air, unsizzled. The cutlery is not yet stamped out from its blocks of industrial plastic. The carpet not yet laid, the lino untacked and undisguised. The plastic ketchup and brown sauce bottles are translucent, ungutpunched, unfingerprinted, like the hourglass waists of glamour models yet to be squeezed. And there is nothing in the gift shop. Nothing. Except a tea towel of Gloucester cathedral, a cathedral with no roof, just the timber struts of medieval labourers and a wide open sky.

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