Chocolate Surprise Pudding

Jackie drove me to New Milton today for me to begin the first stage of my journey to Nottingham to visit Louisa, Errol, Jessica, and Imogen for a couple of days.

Rose Compassion

The day dawned well, and the rose Compassion flourished aloft.

The next five and a half hours were spent travelling. The first leg was from New Milton to Waterloo. Whilst waiting for the train we were entertained by a recorded message featuring the voice of Will Greenwood, former England rugby international warning us that because of the World Cup match this afternoon the train would be very crowded.

So it was. I was probably one of the last to secure a seat. At Woking, the guard announced that the at-seat trolley service was stuck in the centre of the train because of all the standing passengers.

LuggageAfter struggling on first the Jubilee then the Victoria line tube trains, doing my best to avoid lethal wheelie bags, I found it impossible to locate my reserved seat on the Nottingham train at St Pancras. This, according to the guard, was the fault of ‘this foreign built rubbish’, whose electronic system had broken down. I did eventually track down my allocated seat which was alongside a stack of luggage that kept falling down on me.

I spent the journey stacking and re-stacking this lot as extractions and additions were made by other passengers, mostly young ladies who couldn’t lift them.

As for the various body parts that were squeezed between the heap and my face, let’s just not go there. It could have been worse. Possibly.

Imogen 1Imogen 2Imogen 3Imogen 4Jessica 1Jessica 2Errol picked me up from Nottingham railway station. As soon as I arrived at the Thompson home, the two girls dragged me into the garden, just before Louisa put a mug of coffee in my hand. This was to watch their gymnastics show, performed on the trampoline.

The garden plot that we had laid out on 16th June 2013 has matured nicely.

Rose Grace

In particular, the rose, Grace, is flourishing.

Chocolate Surprise Pudding recipeBack in 1965, after Vivien had died, I decided to make my own cook books from recipes cut out of newpapers. Jessica was to keep the book and pass it on to Louisa. One of the first entries was for Chocolate Surprise Pudding by Katie Stewart. This was to prove a great favourite with all the children in turn. After fifty years the browned paper is still legible, despite its splashes of chocolate sauce.

Jessica, aged eight, and six year old Imogen, unaided, made one of these puddings this evening. Jessica was able to read the print. I would almost have been proud of the result myself.

Chocolate Surprise PuddingErrol, aided by Louisa, had produced a roast chicken dinner with all the trimmings. It was excellent. My choice of beverage was Minarete  Ribera del Duero 2014.


  1. I’m sorry the world cup has caused so much trouble for your travels. In the long run it might just as well have stayed down under and avoided all the problems. Anyway a good chocolate pudding is, in the circumstances, a solace.

    1. Thank you, Ashley. They are. Imogen was wanted by the trainers of a couple of our national team members, but she has opted to stay with her sister and friends

      1. What an honor either way… Perhaps this way gymnastics can stay playful and fun just a little longer.
        They are truly beautiful. Thank you for sharing. 🙂

  2. Big hi to all the Thompson family. How lovely you get to spend special time with them. Steve and Ally arrive today and Malachi is so happy. He said they are favorites… How long is it since he has really seen them? Oh and here is hoping for a win by Australia over the New Zealand team in Rugby World Cup…. not that I know anything about rugby.

  3. Ugh – that train ride must have seen twice as long as it actually was. At least! You must be thrilled to finally have arrived, and to get some rest and joy with your loved ones. Be careful on that trampoline… 😉

  4. Ah well, the journey provided plenty of material for you to write about 🙂 What a lovely welcome you received. Great action shots of the girls and the rose is beautiful.

  5. Chocolate pudding… surprise or not has to be gooooood!
    I do not envy you the train journey … sounds just as diabolical as it ever was.
    Those trampoline antics are sure inspiring though! Next we will see you up there huh??

  6. Great post. At least the trampoline was not part of the tube train service; sounds like your travelling had enough ups & downs. 🙂

  7. Lovely ending to a rather uncomfortable trip to visit. The girls are fantastic on the trampoline and so wise Louisa giving you hot coffee to sip while being entertained. I drink about 3 to 4 cups daily. S sustained caffeine “high,” but Mom is going to be 87 and does the same. So, cross fingers I last so long. This was a delightful post and your meal with wine superbly described, Derrick. 🙂

  8. The travel day sounded like misery. Fun that you kept recipes for so long. When my mom-inlaw moved into a senior home, my husband’s siblings didn’t keep anything really but I snagged a small coil notebook they had no interest in. It has a bunch of clippings and hand written recipes. Many like your pudding recipe are stained with the efforts of the day. I think that adds to the cachet 😀

  9. Recipes with splatters of ingredients on them are a sure sign of something worth making again. This pudding looks delicious and well done to the makers thereof.

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