When you wish upon a stir...
I was quite incredulous later on when I got up and checked on the BBC website and saw the Hemel Hempstead explosion. I live about 40 miles away and felt it. The poor people who live nearby. And no doubt the rumours will start - there was already a rumour circulating during the week that there would be a bomb in Milton Keynes centre today, but then that particular version of scare-mongering always happens in the run-up to Christmas.
So, I'm now here writing this when I should be cracking on with housework before the children get back from their father's. But I'm not in the mood, though I have been shopping ready for our pre-Christmas ritual of pudding making. And yes, I know I should have made them a couple of weeks ago!
My Christmas Pudding recipe has been handed down sucessive generations on my mother's side. I come from a line of committed Methodists, many of whom signed the pledge, yet the recipe calls for both brandy & stout in generous quantities. I guess if you can't drink it, you'd better find ways of eating it! And who am I to argue.
So, this evening I'll put on some cheery music. Not too Christmassy (it's a bit early for anything too blatant). Maybe some Bach or Handel choral music, though the girls will complain if I join in con gusto. Maybe some Van the Man, to make me feel like dancing round the kitchen. And the girls will help me measure out, and crumb, and grate, and pour, and stir.
Of course, the most important part of the ritual is that when you stir the Christmas pudding you get to make a wish (clearly some devious ploy invented years ago to get the rest of the household to do some of the work). I've got lots of things I'd like to wish for, so I'll carefully pick one and keep it to myself (because if I tell anyone, even you, it won't come true). Then I'll put the pale mixture into basins and simmer them in the slow cooker overnight, so that they very slowly darken. And tomorrow morning we'll wake to the smell of Christmas.