Hi everyone and welcome to this weeks blog post. Before I start I want to say thank you to everyone who left comments on the blog or via social media about the BBC News. I am glad it isn’t just me who was finding it distracting. Hopefully the BBC will change it. Anyway back to this weeks blog post and as usual here is what has been going on in my life and mind in the last week.

I mentioned at the end of last weeks blog post that I was entering a bake-off style competition at work. For it I made apple & toffee muffins. It was the first time I had made the recipe so it was a bit of a gamble but they did taste good (even if they didn’t look pretty) and I got some good feedback and my concern that I had put too much cinnamon was not proven. I didn’t win though. I was beaten by an orange and lemon Battenberg (the very idea of making one sounds scary and it did look very impressive). I did get 5 votes though which is an improvement on last years. Before you ask no I didn’t vote for myself. My 2 votes went to the sticky white chocolate and raspberry brownies and the lemon and poppy-seed cake. This just proves classic cakes always win out in the end. 1235448_10100632557407293_1354109410_n

Deciding what make for the bake-off was tough. As long as we baked something then it would count. We could do whatever we wanted. However to win you need votes and that means you have to appeal to a lot of people. My apple and toffee muffins in reality were outsiders. Maybe I could have topped them with some toffee to make them more appealing although this could cost me votes because a few people who said they voted for them liked them because they were not too sweet. Last year when I made my chocolate cake I thought that would have broad appeal but lots of people had the same idea so in the end I didn’t stand out. Hopefully you get the idea about how important tactics are by now. In the weeks leading up to the competition I was talking with some of work colleagues about this very topic and we decided that it was pointless to enter biscuits because they were not serious competition. Don’t get me wrong I love biscuits but they are not a vote winner. Yes more people could try biscuits than cake but it is unlikely that a cookie or a biscuit in the shape of a Cyberman would be good enough to beat a Battenberg. Some of you are probably reading this and thinking “it’s just cake” and yeah you are right and it was also for charity but as I have said before we all bake because at the end of the day we all want some recognition. Baking is fun but it very easily brings out the competitive streak in people.

The bake-off at work was the day before the final of the TV programme The Great British Bake Off. This is the programme that got me into baking last year and this year I have been hooked on the show again. In fact so have most of my work colleagues. If there is one thing that librarians love just as much as books then that is cake. For the past 10 weeks the show has been the hot topic of conversation along with our Ruby rants. Now it is over we will just have Strictly to talk about. I did enjoy this years show and this year my baking crush was Glen (although I still prefer James from last year).  One thing that stuck out this year for me was Frances and her obsession with carrots. You don’t believe me do you? Well here is the proof – one layer in the Wedding Cake was carrot, one of her canapes was in the shape of a carrot, and finally a ‘hidden carrot cake’. I don’t know why this stood out for me but it did and I just thought I would mention it. Am I the only one who noticed this?

As I am typing this blog post I can hear the wind  outside getting stronger. The UK is meant to be having a storm tonight/early morning. I think the North East will miss most of the bad weather but it is certainly very windy already. Fingers crossed everyone keeps safe. It is however making me nervous for my commute to work in the morning as I am expecting disruption to the trains tomorrow with such a weather forecast. Hopefully it won’t be as bad as my commuting nightmare on Friday evening.

I left work and I was running a bit late so dashed to the train station. As I got there I knew something was up as there was police officer turning cars away from the station. People on foot were still allowed through. As I walked into the station I was greeted by a sea of people. It is half term this week so it was full of people getting away for the half term break but there were major delays as someone was on the viaduct at Chester Le Street.. It was so busy I couldn’t even get near the platform never mind get on.  It was scary to watch. The closest i could get was Costa Coffee so I grabbed a coffee and something to eat and headed off to the seating area. From where I was sat I could see the platform bulging with people. A train was announced and then there were people pushing and shoving to get into position in the hope of getting on the train. The station staff had to put out 4 appeals for calm on the platform as it was becoming safety risk. I couldn’t believe it. They were mainly tourists and families who were doing this. It made me mad they were putting themselves and others in danger all because they need to get to the airport. All the regular commuters were just sat out-of-the-way. It amazes me that people do not know how to behave on trains.  After a wait of an hour it all calmed down and I managed to get a train home safely.

This week saw a first for me and that was my first ever ceilidh. It was for a 40th Wedding Anniversary and it was great night. Before I went I was bit nervous and worried I would be a bit of s pare part but I had a great time. I was terrible but at the end of the day the main point of a ceilidh is to have fun and I certainly did. It also gave me chance to catch up some of the guys and girls from A Midsummer Night’s Dream as it was the wedding anniversary of two of the members. It was lovely to see them all again and I will take this opportunity to thank them for inviting me and making me feel welcome.

Well that is it for another week. Hopefully the storm won’t be too bad. Anyway until next week bye for now.

Top Programme of the Week – Great British Bake Off

Top Song of the Week – Andrew Davis – Rule Britannia!

Book I Am Currently Reading – The Gravity of Birds by Tracy Guzeman