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In praise of - abstinence.

I TURN my head and a chocolate cake is inches from my face.

Towering slices of moist sponge that seem to have taken on cartoonishly mammoth proportions.

It is a colleague's birthday. An unexpected treat on a Saturday when I'm desk bound. Sadly I must decline his kind offer. Before I have completed my explanation the plate is whisked away to a more grateful recipient and a crumb lands on my desk.

The temptation to devour this molecule of chocolate is becoming too strong, I am forced to flick it away (apologies to the cleaner). I have given up cakes, biscuits and sweets for Lent.

A small sacrifice to remember those who have to do without a lot more than a daily sugar fix but I'm counting the days till it's over. As a child it was just sweets but now I've upped the ante.

All the pennies I feed into the office vending machine each day are put in a small box and will be given to a worthwhile cause. I'm in good company. I hear Subo has forsaken her favourite sweeties too. I imagine she's a toffee lover although there is no substance to my assumption.

Since I hopped on the wagon (wheel) I've been inundated with offers of sweet treats. Pecan pastries, petit fours and lemon cakes have all been turned away. My tea is permanently free of floating biscuit crumbs.

With any luck the sugar addiction I battle might have lessened by the time Easter arrives but I doubt it. A childhood of coffee mornings and cake and candy stalls has left its mark.

However this confectionary ban has left me with a conundrum. Biscuits and sweets are easily identifiable. But cakes pose a trickier dilemma. Is a plain croissant deemed equal to a cake or classed as a breakfast option, a fancier toast if you will? A plain scone and butter might be permissable but add jam, or worse cream, and it's strayed into cake territory.

I've already identified a cafe in Glasgow's West End that sells the trendy red velvet cake I covet. In my head I'm there already at my table, fork in hand. The memory of 40 days' abstinence melting as quickly as the cream cheese frosting in my mouth.

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