Proof of Obama pudding is in eating

SO, dear readers, who can answer me this question?

James Marston

SO, dear readers, who can answer me this question?

What happens if you over-egg a pudding?

I have no idea - I've never made a pudding that you can't scoop out of a tub or heat up in a plastic container. In fact, despite being a larger fellow, I'm not really that bothered about puddings.

Nevertheless I do wonder what detrimental effects an excess of eggs can have to a pudding.

Perhaps it's something to do with if things cook properly and turn out in the oven - my plain- speaking photographer friend Lucy, who cooks an awful lot and makes nice biscuits, doesn't really know either.

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What I do know is there has been much fuss about this Obama man who is going to be a president.

Indeed, we in the UK have got somewhat swept along with Obama fever though in recent years there has been little but apathy about domestic politics as Britain's electorate barely turn out to vote for the status quo.

Interestingly, in a quick coffee machine poll of my colleagues no one knew the president of Ireland - a country with which we share a land border; no one could name the prime minister of Spain, a country which more than 750,000 Brits call home, and those that could name the French president did so mostly because they remembered his attractive wife.

Every single one of us, however, had an opinion on the presidential race.

Suddenly everyone here seems to have decided that the USA needs a change and Obama is the man to do it. For some reason we've been far more interested in the election of a foreign leader than we have our own.

Judging by the interest in Obama's success and what he will and what he won't do and how he's going to be different and what the world can expect, I'm half expecting him to fly over on Air Force One and sort out the Ipswich one way system.

Now I'm no cynic and I'm not saying Obama won't deliver but I will be surprised if America changes as much as everyone seems to think.

For good or bad, the US will still want to police the world and I suspect the US and her allies will still wage conflict in the name of peace.

I doubt the US are going to give up their nuclear weapons or military might and I don't see the American hegemony, cultural or otherwise, decreasing in the near future do you?

Make no mistake, Americans don't want a fundamental change to their way of life or superpower status, they want a fresh face and Obama fits the bill.

It matters little whether this president is black, white or sky blue pink, what matters is what he does.

I hope he can do what everyone thinks and says he can and will do, I wish him well and I hope our next general election is as much fun but I fear this particular pudding may have been a little over-egged.

NOT only am I, and it's not a claim I wish to debate, a talented newspaper columnist, a wordsmith, a raconteur and a very good value dinner party guest but I also play the church organ - well, once a year.

Each Christmas Eve for the last several years I can be found in the ancient Suffolk church of St James in the west Suffolk village of Icklingham - where I grew up - pounding out Joy To The World, double-de clutching into Silent Night, and Hark the Herald before tugging the grand diapason and rousing the congregation from their midnight slumber with O Come All Ye Faithful.

Dorothy, a lady who's a regular at St James, books me every year and we choose the hymns.

This year she mentioned it to me back in May and she mentioned it again a few weeks ago - indeed, no sooner had we finished the celebrations of the annual Harvest Supper than she was making sure I'd got the gig in my diary.

Of all the theatrical and musical performances I do it remains one of my favourites.

You see it appeals to my sense of history.

Governments and kings have come and gone, empires have risen and fallen, wars won and lost and yet little has changed at St James - and churches like it are one of the few constants in our world.

And I am one of a long line of people who have, for centuries, provided the musical backdrop for worship under the medieval roof and amid the mystical stone columns on that night of the year.

It's in my diary and everyone is welcome to come along.

Don't we do it so well?

I was moved to watch on television on Sunday the annual Cenotaph remembrance service in London's Whitehall.

The march past, the wreath laying, the Queen leading the way, the respectful commentary - all perfectly timed - makes you proud to be British.

Brave Mrs Thatcher was there too, bless her. The Iron Lady was looking frail I thought but clearly determined to play her part, and I think I spied my favourite royal Camilla watching proceedings.

But most moving of all, of course, is seeing the veterans taking part in the march past, as one of them said every day is Remembrance Day for them.

Wear your poppy with pride.

I'M not the most active of people, preferring the comfort of my small Felixstowe salon with sea views (distant) to speed.

However, the other evening I paid a visit to the Ipswich dry ski slope to watch my friend Janet, who lives in the west of the county and recently celebrated her 40th birthday, fulfill a sporting ambition and go tobogganing.

I didn't partake - for one thing I would have never fitted on the small toboggan - but judging by the screaming of Janet and her chums they enjoyed themselves.

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