In the flurry of last minute packing I’d almost forgotten they were due to arrive. Even the sight of a familiar red parcel, left at the front door the day before we were due to leave, had me wondering what we’d ordered. Then I saw the return address label – Broken Hill Women’s Auxiliary – and I experienced a rush of delight.
Inside the parcel were two cardboard boxes, lined with kitchen paper to prevent the buttery mix of fruit, brandy, sugar, flour, fat, eggs and spices from seeping through the cardboard. Nestled under the paper in each box were two plump Christmas puddings; crafted by hand, wrapped in calico and boiled for three hours in a copper.
One of them is destined for St James’s Palace.
I shan’t be the one to deliver the parcel, that’s Clyde’s job, and who knows if their Royal Highnesses The Prince of Wales and The Duchess of Cornwall will actually get to sample the pudding that was hand made for them by members of the Broken Hill Women’s Auxiliary, one of two thousand and nineteen they made this year to raise money for the Royal Flying Doctor Service.
There’s a way to go yet. The puddings have already travelled twelve hundred kilometres from the remote mining town of Broken Hill to Sydney, and right now they’re tucked into a suitcase in the hold of a Boeing 777, thirty-five thousand feet in the air, mid-way between Dubai and Nairobi. I’m not sure what we’ll do with them while we’re on safari, but I do know they won’t be in the tent with us.
I hope they make it to London. It will be a very proud moment for Clyde to be able to hand over a Broken Hill Women’s Auxiliary Christmas pudding – the fruit (ha ha, there’s a lot of that!) of so much hard work and dedication. There’s even one for the Australian High Commissioner (I hope I’m not spoiling the surprise here, you never know who might be reading this).
In the meantime I have to find a way of protecting four extremely precious Christmas puddings from marauding wildebeest, charging rhinos and a herd of elephants.
And you know what? That should be easy compared to the effort it took to make those puddings.