Kim-Joy’s house lies down a wiggly lane between Leeds and York, “a mystical place off the radar,” she says. Right now, it is full Bake Off, her table taken up by the giant “goodbye” cake contestants are given when they leave (she came joint second, of course), her shelves laden with different flours, in chic, labelled glazed pottery. The kitchen gives out on to huge fields at the back, a completely undreamed of scene of peace, with the world’s two free-rangiest chickens. “I think my neighbour might have a horse,” Kim-Joy says, dreamily. “How can you think someone might have a horse?” I ask. She gives me a smile as warm and perceptibly calm as the one that had such a soothing effect on the Bake Off tent, uncurdling every dicey batter.

I’m not saying Rahul shouldn’t have won Bake Off; he has distinctive qualities of his own. But Kim-Joy is such an unusual person for the public eye, so self-effacing, so restrained and undramatic, give or take the eyeliner, that she could have had a prize in her own category: Balm to the Nation’s Psyche.

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Vijay Nanda

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