This is my third piece for my tea-inspired December writing challenge.
Another Manx piece, and another constraint – each piece now also has to follow on from the previous one in some way. Where does all this stuff come from?!
Down in the narrow back streets of Douglas, not far from the quayside and the Market Hall, you’ll find a baker’s shop. Or maybe it’ll find you.
Because sometimes it’s on the corner, where St Martin’s Lane meets James Street. And sometimes it’s right along near the Royal Hotel. And other times it creeps all the way down towards the railway station, so the passengers arriving from Peel or Ramsey or Port Erin have their nostrils full of the warm smells of fresh loaves and spices even before they’ve filled their eyes with the sights of the town.
But the scent is one thing, and it’s a rare islander who gets to taste the bakery’s wares more than once in a lifetime. Many’s the man gone mad trying to find his way back to that door – green, it is, some say, while others swear upon all the Saint’s names that it was blue or black or red.
If you’ve once tasted their goods, you never forget. But it’s not that other bread or cakes taste worse for the comparison. Indeed, even the poorest of bonnags baked a week since still has something of the wondrous about it, if once you’ve tried the bonnag from the fairy bakery. For ‘tis run by the lil’ people right enough – or they have a hand in it somewhere, most folk agree, for all that the women behind the counter seem human enough.
And are, to hear them tell it, though they’ll never speak of how they came to work in the bakery, or what kind of folk them that own it are – nor even how they’d go about finding their way to work in the morning.
Breesha Kinrade worked there for many a year, with her sleeves always rolled up and broad forearms strong as a man’s from kneading the dough. And young Jinny Moore, she with her hair as red as the autumn bracken, would decorate the gingerbread figures fine as kings and queens, until she went off to be Jinny Corlett up at the farm on Beinn-y-Phott.
Fine steady women all of them who work at the fairy bakery, and it’s a lucky man who gets one of them to wife, for they bring good fortune with them as a dowry. And once a man’s in right with Them Ones, he’s set for life.