I pulled out the tray from the oven and the delicious smell of freshly baked scones filled the kitchen.
"Oh Nanna, those look perfect," my granddaughter Nicole, 10, beamed.
I had to admit it was a good batch.
I was entering them into the baked goods competition at the local show so they needed to be tip top.
Baking was everything to me. When my husband, Fred, died 20 years ago, I'd found it very therapeutic.
My daughter had suggested I enter my famous scones into baking comps so I did and was thrilled to have earned lots of prizes and accolades over the years.
Later that day, I placed my offering on the table in the showground hall – it was already creaking under the weight of all the entries.
"Not those bloody scones again!" guffawed a woman as she placed her fancy-looking cakes next to mine.
"Do you even know how to make anything else?"
Her name was Brenda and she was particularly competitive.
Her sneering friends giggled at her words.
Some of the catty locals took the competition way too seriously and I enjoyed putting them back in their snooty little boxes every year.
I took great pride whenever my scones won the blue ribbon and saw it as the best comeback to those nasty women.
That afternoon, I was thrilled with my rosette for second place but even more thrilled that Brenda's adventurous creation had received nothing.
"Can we eat them now, Nanna?" Nicole asked, salivating over the scones.
"Of course!" I laughed.
Several months later, I met a man at our bowling club.
His name was Charles and he was new to the area.
We got on well and when he asked me out for a drink one night, I was surprised to find myself agreeing.
"I grew up nearby but spent most of my life in the city," he told me. "After my wife died I felt drawn back to the country."
We had a lot in common.
For our next date, he cooked for me at his house.
Charles had run a restaurant in Sydney and was an excellent chef.
After dessert, one thing led to another and we wound up in his bed.
I'd thought those days were over for me but clearly not.
It was wonderful.
Next time I saw him, I invited him around to my place for tea and scones. He took a bite and groaned with appreciation.
"You should enter these into the local show," he said.
I frowned at him.
"I enter them every year," I said. "Anyway, how do you know about that?"
It turned out that he'd been asked to be on the show's judging panel!
"You're kidding!" I gasped. "There's no way I can enter them now."
"Don't be silly," he scoffed. "I'd never let our relationship affect my opinion. Besides, it's a blind competition. I wouldn't know which ones were yours anyway."
I decided I'd hang up my oven gloves that year but then Nicole came around.
"You can't not enter, Nanna," she said, appalled. "You've got to beat Brenda!"
That made me chuckle.
So we made a pact, and I had to make Charles promise, too – we're keeping our relationship a secret until after the show.
I can't have all that lot thinking I've slept my way to victory!
Frankly, they can all Bake Off!
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Now To LoveDec 05, 2019