Mote-Mote, Montreal and Marmalade Bread Pudding…Mountains of Things

Well, little mote-mote has had to be sold because I could not afford to drive her any more – for a sum equivalent to the Biblical thirty pieces of silver. By a kind of divine retribution for my Betrayal of my Beloved she has been bought by the Brother-in-Law of the man over the road who, for some reason that he did explain but I was too upset to understand, is keeping her on the driveway of the man over the road and seems in no hurry to take her away. So – there sits my little blue car for an unknown, indefinite spell, no longer mine and not even invisible.

In the odd, sinuous way my mind works, particularly when in distress, this reminds me of Canada and some lines from a famous poem:

My brother-in-law is haberdasher to Mr Spurgeon

O God! O Montreal!

Of course there is plenty to be getting on with, to take my mind off it. There are cats to be fed, there’s divan beds to be manoeuvred downstairs, there are bathroom sinks to be cleaned, there are two lawns to be mown, there’s an empty bird table, there’s a monster pile of ironing. Stuff to do, people to see…

The world is full of stuff, isn’t it? There’s no getting away from what singer Tracy Chapman once referred to, tunefully but irritatingly, as Mountains O’ Thangs and which Zen Buddhists tend to refer to as ‘The Ten Thousand Things’:

“All things are one and have no life apart from it; the One is all things and is incomplete without the least of them. Yet the parts are parts within the whole, not merged in it; they are interfused with Reality while retaining the full identity of the part, and the One is no less One for the fact that it is a million-million parts.”

(Yes, I read D T Suzuki too; and no, I didn’t understand most of it either.)

This, owing to the aforementioned sinuous way my mind works, reminds me of a little motto my sister once recited to me over the phone: Your in-tray will never be empty, which was the single most depressing piece of advice anyone ever gave me. The thought of an endless in-tray, endlessly refilled… O God! (O Montreal!) it’s like that bloke having to push the boulder up the mountain day after day and it rolling down again at night, or Penelope at her loom, weaving her husband’s burial shroud by day, unweaving it by night…

Canadians seem to be fond of little mottoes, or maybe it’s just my sister: mottoes, ice hockey, children and crafts. Innocent, homely, Little House on the Prairie type things. I rather wish I was there now: how much nicer to be collecting little mottoes and entranced by the manufacture of braided coasters and the knitting of dishcloths than a barrage of Brexit, Bombs and Burning Buildings. O God! O British Isles!

But this reminds me – homely things – I promised to share with you one or two of Mum’s recipes from the recipe book I rescued the other day. Here is the first one. I’m afraid I don’t know what the equivalent quantities are in other systems, but I have put the abbreviations in full in brackets, to assist:


Makes 16 slices

1 lb (pound) stale bread, with crusts removed

Grated rind and juice of 1 orange

½ pint milk

8 oz (ounces) mixed dried fruit

4 oz dark brown sugar

3 oz soft magarine

2 level tsp (teaspoons) mixed spice

4 level tbsp (tablespoons) marmalade

1 level tbsp granulated sugar

7 x 11 x 1-inch tin, greased

Set oven to moderately hot, Gas Mark 5 or 375F/190C

Cut the bread into small pieces, place in a large bowl with the orange rind and juice and milk. Leave to soak for 15 minutes. Mash with a fork and break up the pieces.

Add the dried fruit, brown sugar, margarine, mixed spice and marmalade to the soaked bread. Mix well together.

Turn into the tin, level out the surface and bake for 1 ¼ hours until firm. Leave in the tin to cool, turn out on to a wire rack and dredge (dredge? does that mean dust?) the top with sugar. Cut into 16 slices.

To freeze: Wrap in foil or polythene bags. Will keep well for 3 months.

10 thoughts on “Mote-Mote, Montreal and Marmalade Bread Pudding…Mountains of Things

    1. Hi Maggie, thanks for the clarification. I thought dredging was what you did to muddy ponds! The poem is a kind of satirical one, sparked off, if my memory serves me correctly, by the poet being told that a famous statue of a muscular Ancient Greek discus-thrower had been relegated to a store room in the Montreal museum because he was wearing no clothes. 🙂 (This was quite a long time ago.)


  1. mote = dust = we are all dust particles part of a whole = we dust our marmalade bread pudding? No?

    I expect that there is a connection in some manner to the other meaning of dredge – for what is mud but a moist mess of dust?

    I’ll stop now. The caffeine is kicking in.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Oooh, I made all sorts of connections I didn’t even know about. Thank you! I love stuff like this. And it bears out my theory, at school, when asked to write an earnest essay teasing out, say, motifs of light and candlelight in Jane Eyre, that She Probably Just Wrote It.

      Coffee, good idea.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. It is an unwelcomed freedom to be shed of a car, initially, for certain; I hope you’re on a bus line, at least? Does the godmother have a car? Can you hire a car now and then when you need to bring someone to the veterinarian? Can I have some coffee? Really strong? 😦 The bread pudding sounds lovely. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Sort of on a bus line – close to the furthest terminus so they go one an hour IF conditions not icy and IF the bus driver is in a good mood. If no to either of the above, I am told, he doesn’t come down our road but doesn’t bother to tell you… so you can be standing there two hours later. Or (I am also told) he might eject an old person at the Main Road so they have to totter the mile and a half to the village.

      Godmother does have a car and she has been driving me over to see my mother in in. Unfortunately she is 88 and so I catch the bus and two trains over to her town, where she picks me up at the station.

      I hadn’t thought about hiring a car to take cats to the vet, but it would be worth looking into. The bus does allow pets but I was thinking they might wee or poop or worse during a half hour journey round hairpin bends at breakneck speed and I would be forced to Alight, with a squelchy cat-carrier, in the middle of nowhere.

      There are taxis – expensive but I only go to the vets nowadays if someone is looking ill or needs their claws clipping.

      Coffee? Of course. I haven’t tried the recipe yet myself but I think I might. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Wow.. I was afraid of that bus answer.. The great green-ing of our nations has to speed up a bit, doesn’t it?! The bus routes around here are becoming more expanded at last — and it can’t come too soon: 2 years ago, there were regularly 6 and often 7 vehicles in our driveway. (I hope that’s an “only in America” thing.) I didn’t breathe real air until I visited the west of Ireland! Who knew?? Ah, “trains..” — do you mean actual train cars, or the Tube? Pardon my insensitivity, but “Forced to alight (with a squelchy cat-carrier, in the middle of nowhere)” is perhaps the mother of all book titles. Cat-lovers would buy it in half a heartbeat, surely. 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Well, the man over the road from me sometimes has six or seven (cars plus work vans) – and now mine, grrrr!

        Trains – the everyday ‘overground’ type – which you might call railroad cars – or have I been watching too many bad Westerns? – rather than the Underground (which you call Tube).

        I thought London was the only city with an Underground. London Underground trains go way out into the suburbs of London but no further.

        However, just did some research and there are now 3 others: the Glasgow Subway, the Tyne & Wear Metro and Liverpool Merseyrail.

        Hadn’t thought of ‘Forced To Alight’ as a book title for cat lovers but you never know. I did once get a short story about a witch and her cat published in The Cat magazine. Don’t recall there being any remuneration invokved though… 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s