This is the aforementioned Christmas pudding to which I was referring in the previous entry. You can't see the brandy flaming blue on top, nor can you taste the delightful, heartstopping toppings of custard sauce, brandy sauce or my personal favorite, brandy butter, which we were encouraged to spread or pour liberally over our delicious, fruity servings.
All the ingredients in the pudding, which included suet, were added by hand, after being lovingly chopped and measured, following an olde familie receipt. It bears almost no resemblance to the Christmas pudding I'm familiar with in the U.S., which appears as if by magic when one opens a can and shakes it out with a plop onto a serving dish.
Once the ingredients were assembled, everything was steamed in a mysterious, old fashioned way and served at the table on a large plate, like a small, yet perfectly formed, German bunker.
Everything in London always seems to come back to THE WAR. The lovely brick row house we gathered in for dinner was Victorian in age if not actual design. By some stroke of luck, considering its location, it survived the war bombs. The house next door had more of a story to tell. Apparently the area of London we were in was vulnerable to Nazi warplanes dumping the last of their bombs on their way out of town, in a futile attempt to blow up a factory a block away that made fuses for English ordnance.
Like so many factories that survived THE WAR, it is now filled with charming businesses and fancy flats [apartments in American]. Unfortunately the home that had stood next to the rowhouse for well over a hundred years became a casualty of one of those bombing raids and was blown to bits. It was replaced by a fifties dwelling that was not nearly so charming. The British do 1850 a lot better than 1950 in my opinion.
There is a pond across the street from the rowhouse in the middle of this village-like section of London. There are a pair of swans, a brace of colorful English ducks I can't identify, and several Canada geese, along with many other aquatic fowl. A gang of rascally mourning dove-like pigeons resides in the low hanging branches of the trees which line the water, waiting for any sign of bread crumbs, so they can swoop down and challenge their swimming brethren for the spoils.
There is also an unexploded German bomb rumored to be at the bottom of the pond. I'll bet the fuse is pretty damp by now.