So it's the 17th September, and I've made 70 Christmas puddings... I started at the end of August. Even by my own fairly ridiculous standards, it's been an epic few weeks of soaking, grating, zesting, mixing, simmering and steaming. I've launched mini puddings as wedding favours, and offered up own branding for corporate gifts. Parts of our house are no longer recognisable, as every cool and dark corner is filled with hermetically sealed puddings, maturing before their market debuts. It's exciting, but frankly also exhausting. And so this afternoon I took a welcome break from the kitchen to go and work a Sunday lunch shift at the pub. I've been moonlighting there sporadically for a couple of months now - I soon realised that what was initially a temporary stint covering a friend on maternity leave was actually a few hours of adult conversation, watching someone else do the cooking, and a chance to relive my student days of pint pulling in Edinburgh (although I did get fired from that job due an unfortunate mix-up involving changing my flights and forgetting I'd told them I couldn't work that weekend...I was young...and very drunk when I rocked up demanding long vodkas from my boss who thought I was overseas).

The Volvo still regularly refuses to start, so I took Grizzly's car instead. Ancient, but reliable. I had to park against a hedge, so could only get out of the passenger side, which involved a lot of clambering over things and generally unladylike behaviour. After four hours of roast dinners and pints of Harveys I skipped back to the car, recharged and ready to face the pudding basins and children again, delighted with myself for choosing the car that never fails to deliver. Except it wouldn't start. Because I'd gone out of the passenger door the alarm telling me the lights were on didn't sound, and because I normally drive a Volvo I never have to turn them on, let alone off again. After a brief sob into the steering wheel, wondering whether any other driver has had so many disappointments when turning a car key, I stomped back to the pub to announce what an utter cretin I am. Happily Lovely Bob came to my rescue with jump leads.

And as another week of baking dawns, I pause to reflect on how long it will be before the Volvo next leaves me high and dry. Happy times. Horse and carts all round, I say. Here's me in ten years time.

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