From The Guardian:
The wheels fell off my plans for this year’s Lent abstinence within three days. Or, more accurately, when The Parkers Arms’ “at home” quince pudding with custard was left at my front door. My choice was between giving up sugar for 40 days in a bid to re-learn the concept of sacrifice and self-discipline, or letting this structurally perfect, moist, delicate, syrupy masterpiece go to waste. “What would Jesus want?” I wondered while snaffling the entire tray like a Hungry Hippo.
Soon after, I ate a piece of handmade, extra-thick millionaire’s shortbread at Tebay on the M6, which is less a service station than a delightful artisan farmshop and organic beeswax moisturiser boutique with added petrol pumps. I love Tebay because it is so wilfully bizarre. You cannot buy anything as gauche as a Krispy Kreme donut, but you can get a ukulele and an Easy Ukulele Party Classics songbook.
Supporting Tebay Services at a time when few people are travelling also felt very holy on my part. “Remind me again what Lent is?” asked my partner Charles, who is Jewish, as I shook the bag to dislodge all the particles of chocolate stuck inside, then straightened the edges to pour that delicious bounty down my gullet.
“Lent,” I began confidently, “is a period of abstinence to commemorate Jesus spending 40 days and 40 nights in the, um, wilderness.” My last Lent refresher course was at Sunday school in 1977, where my parents sent me so they could glean two hours of glorious silence in which to read the Sunday Post and eat toast.
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