We have this Saturday morning routine that involves wandering down to Docker Bakery to be outside the minute it opens at 9am, to snaffle cinnamon whirls whilst watching the waves crash and roar against the Harbour Arm. Breakfasts during the week are often tense, hurried things. It’s important to me that their weekends begin with sweetness.
We love the walk through the town at that type of day; we love watching the town slowly come to life – to see the eager dogs and their walkers, to watch the market sellers begin to set up. Everyone seems to have a smile for the children.
At the bottom of the town is the sea, and the Harbour Arm stretches out in the distance. The wind is always fierce across the water, and we watch the boats bob up and down for a moment or two before somebody remembers that – quick – Docker Bakery has only a finite number of cinnamon whirls and somebody is surely about to gobble them up!
Based in a little blue shipping container in the East Yard, Docker is such a small space that it can only be occupied by one customer at a time whilst the rest of us form a patient queue outside. But it’s well worth the wait, for once you are inside the shop, you find that it contains a veritable treasure trove of breads and baked goods – everywhere you turn, there are baskets and crates of assorted breads and the air smells delightfully warm of caramelised sugar and breadcrusts.
The cinnamon whirls are fat and sticky; we buy six even though the girls never manage to finish theirs, and divide the leftovers amongst the baby. The children beg us for a baguette to eat on the way home and we eagerly acquiesce; it is delightfully chewy and even though we’ve just polished off a bun, the baguette is always finished before we reach our front door. And the focaccia – our final choice, and impossible to resist – we store at the bottom of our tote in its brown paper bag, to eat with soup for dinner. It is generously adorned with rosemary and sprinkled with sea salt, and we think wistfully of it all week as we eat our ordinary, mortal bread, from the supermarket. I’ve been told that it all keeps very well in the freezer, to be enjoyed throughout the week, but I know us too well and daren’t buy any more of it.
It’s funny, the way that routine and tradition influences the ‘feel’ of a place. When I think of our home, I think of chewy crusts and cinnamon sugar, of sea spray and being served by people whose names my children know. If you’re local and you haven’t given Docker a try, you should absolutely pop down one morning – but don’t eat all of the cinnamon whirls if you get there before we do!