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A Very Gluttonous Weekend

It’s a year since I went away with some friends from work to the Pudding Club, and I can’t really believe that a whole year has gone by since that extremely gluttonous experience! But the weekend has indeed come around again, and I spent it stuffing my face! The six other women on the trip have been going for years – indeed at least a decade for most of them – so have a well-honed routine for getting the most out of the weekend. It followed very much the same pattern as last year, but this time I knew what to expect.

Five of us were travelling from Malvern, so I was picked up from home at 09:20 on Saturday morning, and we all squeezed into one car for the trip to Stratford. The car was plenty big enough for the five of us, but there was a question as to how much additional shopping would fit in the boot! We went first to the usual cafe by the river in Stratford for coffee and toast – the latter didn’t appear on the menu, but if you know to ask then rounds of free toast and jam are provided. In fact, we cleared them out of toast, which was very tasty.

Then it was time for a quick hour’s shopping before lunch at the same rather nice pub that we went to last year. We were joined for lunch by another two of our party who live further away, and we all opted for a light lunch of sandwiches, soup or omelette, as we knew we’d be stuffing ourselves later. However, the chef got confused at how many portions of chips we wanted to share between us, and cooked twice as many as we’d asked for. So we got the extra portions for free, which was very good of them.

After a long and leisurely gossip over lunch, it was time for some more retail therapy. Fortunately, I was prepared this year, and brought my Christmas book token with me. I had a happy half hour in Waterstones choosing a couple of books, stocked up in Lakeland on a one-person-sized pie dish and baking tray, and bought myself a new cashmere sweater in the sales. Just before Christmas I had a run of three weeks when I stuck my elbow right though a sweater each week. I know I have sharp and bony elbows, but that was getting beyond a joke! Especially since each time I noticed it was mid-morning and I was at work, which meant I had to get through the rest of the day knowing that I was wearing a jumper that was only fit for weekends and gardening….. I thoroughly object to paying full price for cashmere, but you can generally pick up some good bargains in the sale, particularly if you’re not too fussy about wearing the latest, most fashionable colours. Which of course, I’m not! I bought a charcoal grey machine-washable sweater which will do fine for work – at least until I put my elbow through it……

Then we had to cram all of the shopping into the car boot, and drove into the depths of the Cotswolds, to a pleasant hotel in a small picturesque village which is the home of the Pudding Club. We had drinks in the bar, followed by wine (in tooth mugs!) in one of our rooms, before congregating in the lounge for the main event. Dinner consisted of a very small main course, little more than a starter, followed by seven puddings – and we were encouraged to sample as many of them as we could. The record apparently is 25 helpings, but none of our party got anywhere near that! The puddings this time were different from a year ago and were: Passionfruit Charlotte, Syrup Sponge, Butterscotch Sponge, Banana and Cinnamon, Very Chocolate, Spotted Dick and Rhubarb Crumble.

I managed the first four, starting with passionfruit charlotte, which was absolutely delicious. So good in fact, that even though it kept repeating on me all evening, the burps tasted nearly as good mid-way through the syrup sponge as it did first time around! However, word came down the table that, good as the passionfruit was, the butterscotch pudding was even better. “Orgasmic” in fact, according to the woman (not one of our group) at the end of our table, which caused our party to give it a thorough testing. It wasn’t quite a “When Harry Met Sally” moment, but it was very good indeed, and in fact was the overwhelming winner by popular vote at the end of the evening.

We ate so much last night that it seemed highly unlikely we’d ever want to eat again. But that was before the prospect of a full cooked breakfast this morning, which we all managed to do full justice to! Then it was off to the village of Broadway for some more shopping and a coffee, none of us being able to face a proper lunch. It started raining again, so we set off home – and none too soon. The floods in the Severn Valley are very severe again after weeks of relentless rain, and somehow we had to cross the river to get back to Malvern. The Upton bridge was closed due to the floods – obviously the new flood defences weren’t quite comprehensive enough – so we had to detour via Worcester. However, the city-centre bridge was also closed due to flooding, so all the traffic was piling over the New Bridge, leading to major congestion. At least there was no standing water on the roads, even at Powick which flooded so badly in 2007, so it looks as if the new flood defences there are holding. It was quite a detour to get home, but at least once we were this side of the river there were no more problems.

It was a thoroughly enjoyable, and exceeding gluttonous weekend!

{ 4 } Comments

  1. Vicki Walker | 10 February 2014 at 12:07 am | Permalink

    Gillian! I have just discovered your blog following Sally’s recommendation and have thoroughly enjoyed reading about our escapades over the weekend. I could have eaten all of those puddings again this evening but had to make do with a square or two of Green and Blacks. X

  2. Gillian | 10 February 2014 at 5:11 pm | Permalink

    Hello Vicki
    I had a passionfruit yoghurt last night for dessert. It was pleasant enough, but I was really yearning for some Passionfruit Charlotte!

  3. Richard A | 11 February 2014 at 10:05 pm | Permalink

    Alas, we last visited the Pudding Club in 2001 and certificate had pride of place in my office for years afterwards!

    Right now it’s just the weather for syrup sponge and custard.


  4. pauld | 15 February 2014 at 11:22 am | Permalink

    Richard, sounds like your certificate has expired long ago and needs to be renewed 🙂