Stir up, we beseech thee, O Lord , the wills of thy faithful people; that they, plenteously bringing forth the fruit of good works, may of thee be plenteously rewarded; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
Thus reads the collect for the last Sunday before Advent, Stir Up Sunday, when tradition has it that preparation should begin for the feast of Christmas with the making of the Christmas pudding.
Many's the year I've been sat in the pew listening to this collect and thinking 'Drat. I've missed it again.' But not so this year when, for perhaps the very first time ever, I have stirred my pudding.
I adore Christmas pudding ... and Christmas cake ... and mince pies. One whiff of dried fruit, spices and spirits and I'm caught up in the mystery and excitement of the festival. It all starts today.
I've experimented with a variety of recipes but for the last few years I've returned to St Delia's traditional one. Today I measured and chopped and stirred. Tomorrow I'll steam.