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The Great British Bakery

It is just before 9 on a Friday morning and I have tucked myself into a corner, while I wait for my car to be serviced, next to a chiller cabinet, that growls intermittently like a reluctant tractor, with a bacon bap and a milky coffee, the foam swirled and peaked like a cloud and thick enough to eat with a spoon, the only customer here. 

And then it begins: a clutch of mothers returning from the school run, men in work boots or jangling keys, one man with a swept back wave of silvered hair who beams, ‘Helloah!’ into his mobile as he pushes through the door, an old man with a damp umbrella, some office workers, according to their shoes. Like a flood erupting into the warmth and light from the dull and drizzled street. 

Farmhouse, cottage, bloomer: seeded, granary and rye. Bread pudding, Belgian buns, cherry Bakewell tarts with bright red noses. Lemon drizzle cake and carrot cake and Eccles cakes, and doughnuts filled with vanilla and jam. And sausage rolls, bacon wrapped in pastry blankets, pasties, cheese twists. And the garish wonder of a tray baked Tottenham cake dressed in pink and a quilt of sugar strands. Listen as a Sandwich loaf rumbles towards its destiny of thinly sliced. 

This is the Plaxtol Village Bakery in Borough Green and no sooner does one flood recede then another one builds. Paper bags and white cake boxes lifted over the glass cabinets like babies.

We talk of holidays in France, recall the hypnotic windows of patisseries, their gleaming, surgically precise cakes decorated like carnival floats and Ascot hats. But on a grey British day it’s comfort we’re after: pillowed packets of rolls soft enough to dream on, the almost unbearable sweetness of a Gypsy Tart, a jammy shortbread heart.

Hungry Writing Prompt

Write about a heart that's sweet. Or a heart that's been soured. 

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