Firstly, you are all blinking amazing. Thank you for your support, your signatures, your offers of help. Everything you do makes a difference. I promise. I am currently talking to a nice man in the House of Commons Petition Department and I am hoping we can resolve some issues so that more of those paper signatures count. I will keep you posted.
In the meantime, let’s not bother with saving the world when we have the final of The Great British Bake Off to talk about. The final final too.
Oh God. It’s so hard to know what to say.
Let’s keep it simple. Firstly I think it’s absolutely fair to say that the right person won. Candice knocked it out the park in the signature and show stopper rounds and on the day everything came together for her. Including her lipstick, which was a fabulous shade this week.
Having said that, Jane and Andrew didn’t let up for a second and it was a tight race. I thought Jane might have edged it in the first round with a double handshake from Paul for her triple layer, summer fruits meringue crown. Candice only got the one handshake. Poor Andrew got none. Mind you, his crown was more of a feat of engineering than a heap of meringue deliciousness. It was a bit Forth Bridge. Spectacular but not particularly puddingy.
In the technical, which was to make the classic Victoria sponge, I thought Jane would win, and was really surprised when Andrew got it, and Candice came second. It levelled the playing field again. Also, hoorah for a technical that I would actually have been capable of baking. Indeed, me, Jenn, Nicki and Claire all texted at the same time to say: ‘We can do this!’ Although I would have been marked down, because I always go for a huge rise on my Victoria sponges. I like them to be vast and airy rather than flat and uniform. I don’t believe in uniformity in baking, which is one of the reasons I’ve never applied for Bake Off, that and the fact that I swear like a navvy.
The show stopper was less of a show stopper, as my friend Kim put it, and more of a marathon. Forty nine separate things to bake in five hours is horrific. Just horrific. I feel that they should have been equipped with energy drinks and sweat bands and silver blankets when they finished. It was gruelling to watch. I felt sorry for Andrew, who, even though he had a precision spread sheet, colour coded in five minute blocks, still managed to produce raw pastry. Jane, who was totally winging it and working on faith alone, also produced raw pastry, but this is to be expected in the circumstances. This is not a criticism by the way, this is exactly how I operate. I start following a recipe and method and then, half way through I get a bit bored and freestyle on the understanding that everything will probably work out ok in the end, and I’ve never actually poisoned anyone.
And then it was all over, and even though I got to see Candice’s pug dog, and Val and Selasi again when they were all milling around in a wet field, pretending to have a delicious picnic, it did not make me less sad. And even though I loved Candice’s shock and the strange little wiggling dance she did when they announced her name, it did not make me less sad. And I cried with happiness for Candice and I cried with sadness because it was all over and it really is all over, and nobody invaded the pitch.
Bake Off has given me six years of unalloyed pleasure. Through it I have made new friends, got my first mention on the BBC website, met one of the bakers, been made cakes by one of the bakers and bonded with people all over the world, simply through talking about cake. It has been responsible for some amazing moments in my life. I am bereft.
There will be killjoys who scoff. Let them. If someone feels the need to spoil someone else’s pleasure over something so simple, it says a great deal more about them than it does about the other person. There will be people who ‘don’t get it’. That’s their loss. There will be people who dismiss it as trivial. If you think that giving people pleasure in a world like this is trivial, I feel sorry for you. There is nothing trivial about happiness, or pleasure or joy. Yes, dammit, joy. You don’t have to understand joy. You just have to feel it, and be grateful.