9th December 2006
Covent Garden Market, London WC2E 8RD
The Great Christmas Pudding Race
So the experience for quite a few people – the majority probably – is that throughout November there’s been a gradual and unavoidable build up to what is widely known as ‘Christmas’, but despite the incessant commercial onslaught there’s generally a steadfast refusal to take too much notice – because, after all, the main event is still weeks away [apart from those unable to resist Winter Wonderland, of course].
And then, the very moment December begins, all restraint goes out the window: We are all into Christmas, Big Time – even though the main event is still weeks away. Advent Calendars now there’s a cunning piece of marketing.
And usually one of the first events to help us acclimatise to the shockingly short days and suddenly cold temperatures is the Covent Garden Christmas Pudding Race, which has taken over the Buskers’ main performance area in front of the market hall for one day every year since 1980 (so that makes this the 26th – and this clip actually shows the moment the photo was taken).
The event boils down to a dozen or so teams of fancy-dressed competitors all attempting to get their puddings unscathed through a complicated and challenging assault course, all in aid of Cancer Research. It’s a complex piece of organisation, involving a lot of volunteers and a lot of setting up, so you can forgive them for dragging out the proceedings (which includes the odd entertainer, the obligatory warm-up routine and other time consuming features) for as long as possible before any of the actual racing starts, by which time everyone’s feeling somewhat frozen and a lot of people have wandered back to the market stalls.