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Old 05-19-2009, 02:34 PM   #1
ShortNCuddlyAm
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The Tale of the Spotted Dick Pudding - a Hugo & Lefty Adventure

(Title again courtesy of LazyScot For those wanting the loose ends in Tumbledrier neatly tied up (or at least explained), this might help. Eventually.)

In a small, picturesque village in East Sussex stands a quaint-looking teashop. Not too surprising really as many small, attractive villages in East Sussex - and, indeed, other parts of England - have quaint-looking teashops. They help keep the tourists around and spending money for that little bit longer. This particular teashop had the obligatory quaint name referencing a part of the local area - in this case, it was called “The Market Cross Tea Shop” even though it was in a small alleyway a few minutes walk away from the market cross, and the very small square in which it stands. The square is now more of a traffic hazard and a place for coaches to drop tourists off at than anything, although as all the buildings surrounding it aren’t modern, it was clearly never very much of a square to start with.

Despite not being on the square, and despite there being competition from other teashops and the like, The Market Cross Tea Shop pulled in a fair amount of business, even out of season. The reason for this could be seen on a board outside proclaiming that it sold “The best Spotted Dick Pudding… in the world”. The sign, drawing the usual sniggers from pre-adolescent boys and some tourists, might be taken for the normal self-promotion, except that it did actually sell the best spotted dick pudding most people had ever tasted - there are always one or two naysayers who will proclaim their grans was the best, or the one they did at prep school was better than anything, and so on. It had gathered a following by word of mouth, and - very late to the party - by food critics who somehow overcame their distaste at not reviewing a top restaurant to sample the wares.

And the alleyway wasn’t such a bad location for a teashop, anyway - after the tourists had ooh-ed and ahh-ed at the quaint old buildings, they would walk down the alley towards the tiny church (famous despite it’s size), and then on to the river, which meandered down to the sea. And then, of course, back up past the teashop to meet their coach, and hopefully time for a quick cuppa before it leaves.

Not that this was the only alleyway in the village - far from it. But tourists, there only for a day or less, tended not to find the smaller ones. Oh, they probably heard about them - the village had its fair share of stories about smugglers, hidden paths and tunnels between buildings. But they weren’t that easy to find, even now. The more jaded tourist will tend to believe these tales have been made up to get more business and bear no relation to the truth, the less cynical will merely think them embellished, possibly heavily so. In fact most of the stories aren’t that far from the truth - the village could have been the template for smuggling stories. Some things have been glossed over, true, and others romanticised, but the tunnels, larger-than-life characters, rowing boats coming up-river in the dead of night… all true.

Which brings us back to the The Market Cross Tea Shop. Local tales have it that one of the tunnels links, among other places, one of the village inns (there are several), a cottage near the church (and the river), and the tea shop. The current owner, like her parents and grand parents before her, refuses to verify this - laughing it off as one of the few embellishments made to the tales. And even though running a tea shop in a small village in East Sussex is not the most lucrative of businesses, and even though she is not - as far as anyone knows - independently wealthy, she has also refused every offer to sell the family’s recipe for spotted dick pudding.
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Old 05-19-2009, 04:41 PM   #2
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Old 05-19-2009, 05:13 PM   #3
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Loved it!
I felt like I was listening to my mom tell a story (and hearing my dad say," So, is that what we are having for dinner?")
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Old 05-19-2009, 07:27 PM   #4
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Loving it so far Made a quick ePub of it so I could read on my Sony and I've attached it here (nothing fancy, just a quick conversion with Calibre).
Attached Files
File Type: epub The Tale of the Spotted Dick Pudding.epub (9.7 KB, 276 views)
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Old 05-19-2009, 07:42 PM   #5
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Thank you all

I now feel very nervous about carrying on
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Old 05-21-2009, 06:35 PM   #6
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well this is off to an excellent start. don't feel nervous am ; whatever you do, there will be unhelpful and interruptive audience participation, much like at the pantomime. (and also much rejoicing.)
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Old 05-23-2009, 02:52 AM   #7
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that was great! after a few seconds, i forgot i was reading and found myself sort of existing in it - which is what the best stories always do for me
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Old 05-23-2009, 03:50 AM   #8
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i know that village !
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Old 05-23-2009, 01:36 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by zelda_pinwheel View Post
well this is off to an excellent start. don't feel nervous am ; whatever you do, there will be unhelpful and interruptive audience participation, much like at the pantomime. (and also much rejoicing.)
Thank you Not sure what came over me - don't normally get visible stage fright...!

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that was great! after a few seconds, i forgot i was reading and found myself sort of existing in it - which is what the best stories always do for me
Thank you - that's an incredibly high compliment to pay!

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i know that village !
I thought you were a Northern lad???

(the village is very much based on a real one, as it happens, just given a bit of a makeover... but I also imagine there are many similar around the country )
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Old 07-13-2009, 07:25 PM   #10
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(Chapter 2 - somewhat shorter)

Whilst the recipe for the pudding remained with the teashop owner and her family, puddings made to that recipe travelled all over the world, brought back by travellers as gifts. You might find a Yorkshireman in Scotland enjoying it, or a Scotsman in Hampshire. Over in America, a Texan took a break from tending to his garden to enjoy some, whilst another tried to protect hers from her flock of cats. In the Arizonian desert, a grandma shook her stick at some cheeky kids who tried to sneak up on her to steal it, and further north a pshrink locked his door, turned the heating up then lay back on his couch and took a quick break to enjoy some. Another made its way to France, via Wales, smuggled in with a packet of HobNobs. Somewhere in Canada, two pieces, in two separate buildings, lay covered - one to protect it from wood shavings, the other to protect it from paint. Down under, a snake warily climbed onto a balcony to try and grab a piece, then shot off, convinced for a moment it saw an ape of some sort guarding it. In Germany, a piece was enjoyed with some beer, even though they didn’t go particularly well together.

Not everyone was happy about this. In particular, the ICC (International Cake Cartel, nothing to do with cricket, although it did use that august organisation as a front) wanted to get hold of the recipe and either mass produce it or destroy it for good. Either one would be satisfactory. However they couldn’t be seen to do something so ruthless as steal the recipe themselves. What they could do was organise a harmless advertising campaign that could change the hearts and minds of thousands, which might just be to the advantage of another organisation - if they would do the actual work. Sara, deputy assistant to the assistant of the deputy assistant’s assistant to the CEO’s deputy’s deputy assistant, got on the phone.

“Good mor, err, afternoon, PDHIMETTDJPNS, Sally speaking, how may I help you?”

“‘Allo? Is thees the PNS?” said a female voice with possibly the worst fake French accent ever. Sally glanced at the phone. The caller ID showed the caller was calling from the UK. She rolled her eyes.

“Yes, how may I help you?”

“Ahh. I am Mis….errrm, mademoiselle Lee. I am calling on be’alf of Monsieur Kipleeng. May I speak with Monsieur Nuttking?”

“Transferring you now, caller”
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Old 07-13-2009, 07:30 PM   #11
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Thank you, Am.
Six weeks of suspense was just too much.
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Old 07-13-2009, 07:30 PM   #12
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JOY !!!!


ahem.

i mean, "tch, it's about time !!"

"International Cake Cartel, nothing to do with cricket, although it did use that august organisation as a front"
any cartel using cricket as a front is clearly up to no good ! and the pns are in on it too ???

i fear for the future of the hob-nob smuggled puddings.

Last edited by zelda_pinwheel; 07-13-2009 at 07:31 PM. Reason: pesky capitals...
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Old 07-13-2009, 07:31 PM   #13
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Thank you, Am.
Six weeks of suspense was just too much.
she's right about that. don't keep us waiting like that this time ! i might not be able to stand it. i'm fairly sure i wouldn't be.
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Old 07-13-2009, 07:34 PM   #14
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Thank you, Am.
Six weeks of suspense was just too much.
I'll try and get it down to five weeks next time

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JOY !!!!


ahem.

i mean, "tch, it's about time !!"
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Old 07-13-2009, 09:29 PM   #15
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As the unofficial ePub creator of this thread I thought it only fitting (and because I can't sleep) to put together another ePub of the ongoing adventure

Compiled, for your reading pleasure, both chapters 1 & 2 of the ongoing adventure:
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