I am no longer a prematurely middle-aged, slightly apologetic runner-up in life. I am a winner - OFFICIAL. The Lambeth Horticultural Society says so.
My busy metropolitan lifestyle meant I only had time to enter one category in the society's summer show. Freestyle flapjacks.
No recipe, no rules - this was Extreme Baking.
I was not confident of the outcome. Everyone else's flapjacks were neater, squarer, fairer of colour. It would not be verbal overkill to say that mine looked slightly rustic in comparison. Also, in terms of ingredients, I had thrown in the kitchen sink, if your kitchen sink is made of chopped dried apricots, sunflower seeds and pine nuts. Mine is not, but the world is a big place and everyone is different. I wondered if a pine nut might just prove too edgy for the straits of serious competition. Dejected, I phoned Mrs Jones who, in her capacity as retired art history tutor, delivered a rallying speech on the importance to society of avant garde artists, no matter how cruelly they may be pilloried by their peers.
I felt much better. And then I saw the results, and felt much, much better. This was almost as good as getting to the finals of Radio Norfolk's Sixth Form Challenge.
I am attributing my victory to my lucky pink paper plates. It is entirely possible that I have unwittingly used some kind of colour therapy to influence the judges. Look at all the entrants:
Doesn't mine just remind you of a summer meadow bright with flowers? In a room that is also home to lots of carefully arranged floral displays battling for your consideration, I'm counting this as no small achievement.
Simultaneously, while the judges are tasting my work, the pink card beneath is making them feel warm and nurtured, as though they're back in the womb.
Next time, I'll be using a sound chip like they do in birthday cards, so the plate plays soothing whale song when someone from authority approaches. I've got my eye on a shiny silver trophy.