My mother comes round, with the particular air of purpose that a lifetime of experience has taught me to fear, and announces she is going to make the Christmas Pudding this Sunday. For a moment I am so diverted by wistful thoughts of growing up into the kind of person who a) makes a Christmas pudding and b) does so in October that I fail to anticipate what is coming next. She asks me if I know where the Christmas Pudding Charms are as they’re not in the special Christmas Pudding Charms Place in her house.
I instantly have a feeling that I do know. It is not a good feeling.
Attempt to sound simultaneously vague yet reassuring and wait until she has departed before scrabbling amongst the debris of hardened paintbrushes, cat worming tablets and unidentifiable models made from clay and egg boxes on the kitchen windowsill. Heart sinks as I discover an eggcup containing a thick brownish gloop. Further investigation reveals this to consist of a rich mixture of Christmas Pudding dissolved in ancient washing up water, in which the silver Christmas Pudding Charms have been marinading since last Boxing Day.
Horror. Christmas Pudding Charms, once excavated, no longer remotely silver-looking. More a sort of blackened pewter. Help! Can I clean them? How?? Will putting them in some kind of silver-cleaning solution poison us all??? Or should I just keep it simple, leave the country and convert to Bhuddism?