This bakery resides on a small asphalt block, adjacent to a 24-hour gym, pizzeria, Indian curry house and a Subway. It recently relocated to a larger shop a few car park spaces along, which was closer to the gym, with a couple more windows and indoor seating. It does seem a bit sparse, more space than they knew what to do with, but from the empty display cabinets and well-rounded customers lining the wooden benches, they clearly do well on trade.
I hadn’t intended on getting a donut that day, as these things go it just happened. I was in the vicinity, spending my life savings in sending an important document to the UK, and as I walked back to my car I was subconsciously steered towards the front doors of the bakery with a smell of fresh dough within. It had been my intention at some point to critique their donuts, as I drove past it on a near daily basis, however, I meant to go with my husband. He raved about their baked goods, drools over their fennel rolls in a way no woman can compete, and so I knew a visit without him might come with grief. As I stepped through the front doors to the bakery my intention was to get a donut for me and a sausage roll for my hard-working husband.
Sadly no sausage rolls, the display cabinets by this point in the day were looking scarce. Therefore this particular donut visit would remain a secret until the blog post was published. Instead of taking the donut to go as I usually do, I found a seat on a hardened wooden bench looking out over the bakery. As I reviewed, enjoyed and ate the donut I studied my surroundings. The customers who came in were clearly regulars, the staff having set aside pies and bread earlier in the day for them. The normal pleasantries more enthusiastic towards friendly and well-known faces. An older woman sat to my right, alone apart from the remains of an iced finger bun which she was slowly making her way through with impressive dignity and class. The staff shouted to each other to and from the kitchen, unaware that their private jokes and conversations were being listened in on from the silent clientele.
The young man on the counter, a boisterous and well-coifed sub-twenty year old was perhaps the most talkative of the staff. With a friendly manner he greeted customers with quite the flourish and the biggest smile on his face, clearly a favourite among staff and the elderly customers as he carried a conversation with ease. As I focussed my energy once again on eating and making notes on the donut I felt eyes on me. Looking up I saw a pair of eyes looking over the glass display cabinet at me and just as quickly whipping around to wipe a surface. Consciously, I took a bite of my donut, wondering if I was being judged, a lonesome young woman getting her sugar fix as she licked grease and icing off her little fingers. I so wanted to explain that no, really, I had friends who liked donuts as much as I do and would be with me here if they could. But then why should I have to explain? There is no shame in eating donuts alone, no shame!
Once he had gone around the corner I quickly took a couple of pictures of the donut on my phone, a reminder and visual aid for the blog – but alas again the pair of eyes and I realised I had been caught. No doubt he now thought I was some yuppie looking to post my daily nutritional intake on Instagram or Facebook; how embarrassing. After finally finishing my donut I got up to leave. What remained in the cabinet were a few donuts, looking quite attractive in their visual display and a good example of the variety. Sneakily I looked around, the old finger lady had left and so had many of the customers and all the staff were in the back – so a prime photoshoot opportunity. Again I snapped some pictures on my phone only to notice a pair of trousers appear in the background to the donuts. I stood up slowly, knowing I was caught in the act of photographing baked goods, and too ashamed to look the young man in the face. Politely he asked if he could help me, would I care for another donut? I mumbled no and ran out the door.