On my way From St.Albans to the IOW I changed trains for Portsmouth at Three Bridges. Not very far from the heart of London – we had only just passed through St. Pancreas with its gleaming corn blue iron work and red bricked state of the art cellar bars and eateries. In contrast Three Bridges was chilly, old fashioned and an East wind picked at my flimsy May garb. Shivering forlornly I needed a hot tea in a warm spot. ” In there” said the man in florescent yellow, pointing to a small wooden shack with a hatch raised on one side to reveal a small very basic cafe. I shivered ” Sit inside” said the lady. I pushed open a stiff door and was met with the ultimately comforting food scent – could it be – “Hot Cross Buns” The Cinnamon sent my taste buds a-dripping, ” a tea and a toasted bun please” “No madame they can’t be toasted, they are already buttered and any way the currents don’t toast well”. OK I thought, surprised by this culinary rule in a cafe not much bigger than a garden shed, serving HCB’s in May. She handed me my buttered bun wrapped in cling film and I sat on a stool at a narrow Formica bar and peeled off the plastic. The Bun was a gleaming golden brown with a beautiful white cross, very fresh and soft, yet not doughy. So far impressed I took a bite and there it was: that OMG food moment “Wow! do you always have them?” survival instincts kicking in, thinking of future journeys, stocking up, how many sit ups – as i reached for another – “yes” she said, nonchalently, in distinctively buttery tones, gently flipping eggs for a customer waiting at the hatch. ” A local baker brings them in every morning” and, adding softly, glancing my way with perhaps a little compassion “all through the year”. I sipped my tea served in a utility style ceramic mug and I felt like a little girl who was out for a treat with a doting Aunt. Dreamily I remembered my connection, I gathered my case and manoeuvred the awkward door. “Thank you” I called “it was lovely” and it really was.

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