WHINGE

ON THE FOURTH DAY OF CRANKVENT...WHERE IS MY THRUPPENCE-WORTH OF SILVER?!

The umpteenth day of advent already? Bugger, that means it too late to make the Christmas pudding. The inebriation of the fruit has to start early in November, with its ritual invert-the-jar twice a day for many weeks. So, there will be no homemade Christmas pud this year—well, not one made by us. But even worse, there’ll be no mid-winter pud either. We always make an extra one but often end up with two as the official pud escapes its fate due to a surfeit of family-made puddings. Some puddings have hibernated in the fridge for two to three years. Mind you, we became a little more careful after we discovered one pudding had almost escaped by corroding the base of its aluminium bowl.

And thinking about metal poisoning reminds me of the greatest disaster to befall Christmas puddings—decimal currency. Its advent was a dark day for Christmas pudding lovers, especially money-acquisitive small children. Those wonderful silver threepences were no more, and their cupro-nickel replacements were gleefully denounced as 'do not cook' by the spoil-sports. [1] No more the thrill of looking at the side of the pudding to see where a threepence might have been inserted, a prudent move if you didn’t want to swallow the hoped-for prize.

Hey, wait a minute! It was 'do not cook', not 'do not poke it into the side just before serving'. I’ve been dudded!

SERENDIPITY, WARRNAMBOOL

  1. The new two and five-cent pieces could turn green on cooking and their larger size was thought to be a choking hazard: "The throats and stomachs of small children may not be large enough to accept the five cent coins."
  Scientific demonstration of the effects of Christmas pudding on the new decimal coins , 1966, from the  National Archives of Australia . It is a sad state of affairs when we can no longer describe items as being "ex-pudding".

Scientific demonstration of the effects of Christmas pudding on the new decimal coins, 1966, from the National Archives of Australia. It is a sad state of affairs when we can no longer describe items as being "ex-pudding".