From bombs to bread making - new Southwold baker hopes for business success after career as bomb disposal expert

For years, he has relied on a careful touch and a cool head to defuse deadly devices across the globe.

But now, Jim Bishop has turned his back on life as a bomb disposal expert to try his hand at a new venture – creating traditionally-baked artisan breads.

The former Army officer is swapping some of the world's most dangerous places for the sun and sea at Southwold to launch a bakery and patisserie on the High Street.

The new enterprise, The Two Magpies, will open at number 88 early next year, with an eye for offering hand-made breads, cakes, salads and snacks.

Mr Bishop, 44, who will run the business with his wife Rebecca, 46, is eager to get started in the town after being granted planning permission last week.

He said: 'We really want to be a community bakery and produce a fantastic range of artisan bread and patisseries which people are not currently seeing in Southwold.

'My wife was a teacher before she gave up this to do the patisserie side of things as well as helping to run courses for schools.

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'I have spent a year becoming an artisan baker, which is all about empowering people, so they understand that bread does not just come from a supermarket – it needs to be made with love and care.

'In many ways, we have lost that knowledge of making bread by hand.'

Mr Bishop worked as a royal engineer in Northern Ireland, Germany, East Africa, Iraq and Ethiopia where his duties included clearing mines from war-torn nations.

But after 27 years he decided to resign from the dangerous trade in search of something new – that was when he discovered baking.

It began with few loaves baked in a bread machine, before he committed to a career in the catering by enrolling at The School of Artisan Food in Nottingham.

Since then, he has worked at at a host of artisan bakeries including At the Chapel in Somerset, The Welbeck Bakehouse in Nottingham, The Royal William Bakery in Plymouth, Seven Hills Bakery in Sheffield, Cumpane in Sweden, Pump Street Bakery in Orford, Suffolk and The Loaf in Derbyshire.

'For those customers wishing to eat in we will offer an in-bakery small communal table where our home baked goods can be eaten from breakfast through to afternoon tea,' he revealed.

'Customers can choose from a limited, constantly evolving menu that celebrates the seasons and Suffolk. When sitting at our table we want our customers to experience the rapidly disappearing pleasures of sharing food, space and conversation with family, friends and new acquaintances.'

The couple plan to move into the flat above number 88 where work is currently under way to create a baking facility at the back of the premises.

Waveney District Council's development control committee approved the application on Tuesday August 14 with the conditions that they will bake bread for 4am and serve customers from 7am.

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