I’ve had a gratifying amount of feedback from cheesed-off chaps for whom my revelations last week about Mrs Dee’s manic selection box habits clearly struck a chord.
Clearly this bulk-buying of Christmas confectionery is more of a problem than I thought, and wives up and down the land are stockpiling chocolate collections for various members of their extended families, no matter what their current age, location or marital status.
Now that’s all very well, but nobody knows better than I do that Mrs Dee is a unique treasure and I don’t like to think that she’s just following the herd.
So allow me to present further evidence to support my claim that she is uniquely dotty when it comes to Christmas. Ladies and gentlemen, the prosecution calls...a Christmas pudding.
And not just one Christmas pudding, oh no. There’s a whole family of them, and I can’t see the numbers dropping any time soon.
It’s like this. Once upon a time, she took it into her head that Christmas would not be complete without a home-made pud. Delia Smith, damn her eyes, offered a clear and simple recipe and milady did the business. On the big day everyone agreed that it knocked all other offerings into a cocked hat, and that should have been that.
But no. By the next year she had agreed to make one for her mum. Fair enough.
The year after that, she added a couple of other cunning members of the family who realised that a bit of shameless flattery would ensure a perfect pud and no cost to themselves.
Then the customer base steadily extended to, at the last count, two women she works with, one woman over the road, another one up the street and a chap who lives on his own and gets a dinky little one all to himself.
None of these people makes a contribution towards the not inconsiderable cost of suet, currants, fruit, rum, stout, barley wine and many other ingredients, or my gas bill – each pudding has to be steamed for eight solid hours to get it to a perfect pitch. In fact, most years we’re lucky to get all the bowls back.
Those steaming sessions also put the mockers on what I laughingly call my social life during November. We’re not going out today, it’s full steam ahead until nightfall.
And here’s the kicker – we don’t have a pudding ourselves. It’s too rich for us, you see. Bless her...