A tuthree years ago, I went to spend a week with my sister in Slad just outside Stroud in Gloucestershire in the very heart of rural England. This is the hamlet in which poet and traveller Laurie Lee had grown up and from which he Walked Out One Midsummer Morning. Indeed The Sister and her feller now live in one of the cottages the poet inhabited when he returned to this native valley as a grown-up. It was great to hang out with them. But every day that Summer, I Sneaked Out One Midsummer Morning long before either of them had woken up and padded through the gorgeous waking countryside into the town of Stroud, picking up Dau.I from her digs and continuing on to the Star Anise Café. We were there to work! The baking shift had arrived and croissants / cookies / rounds of sourdough had to be made and baked and trayed before the rest of the staff, let alone the first customers, arrived. It was hard work but honest work and I learned a lot about ergonomic efficiency. I also got all the gossip about the town. Those croissants wouldn't pass muster in Toulon or Montpellier but they were good enough for the Brits who, like the Portuguese, prefer their cakes robust. All our children have left home at the earliest possible moment to seek their fortune and get an education in the University of Life. The Bachelor's and Master's degree will come in due course.
commissioned a photo-shoot of the workings and the workers from which I've clipped three to show the hands of Dau.I making the coffee that keeps the cafe afloat.