*Must be read in a dramatic voice*.
Soaked in brandy. Stuffed with raisins. Shaped like an upside down mixing bowl. Too rich for peasants. Covered in cream. You take a ladle, fill it with Christmas brandy, rum, some kind of spirit and hold it, gently over a gas fire.
*Pause. Breathe in the scene, engage the senses, open your eyes and begin again like the true thespian you are who never made it to drama school.*
The heat sets the particles jumping, the lights go off in the kitchen, the living room and finally the dining room. Mother moves the ladle, and pours the contents over the upturned pudding.
*Hear the sound of alcohol slipping from the stainless steel culinary tool and splashing over the fruit cake that has matured for a year. Imagine the sound of the fruity pores opening themselves, inhaling the liquid like the addicts they are, still on the run from Alcoholics Anonymous.*
Quick, snatch a match, strike its head across the packet, place the flame against the pudding et…voila! A flaming blue bonanza. At the edges it flickers into a bright orange, but at its core is a burning ice-cold flame which sears the pudding, consumes the alcohol and adds spunk to the end of your dinner. Yes, the flaming Christmas Pudding. Every year my mum asks if we want it alight.
*Dramatic pause. Cast your eyes around the invisible audience you are performing to. Ignore the whispers that tell you only mad people speak to themselves. Only the mad are truly free!*
We have never said no.
*Now laugh maniacally*