Friday, 7 October 2011

Mr H saves the day

I didn't think my day could get much worse. When I say day, the bad things started yesterday evening with a hectic turnaround from school to Rainbows, then up to school for the KS1 maths evening, with someone else's almost childcare disaster thrown into the mix, just for good measure. Blue was dispatched to a friend's so we could go to the evening with Pink on her own, but a combination of it being nearly the end of a busy week and straight after the excitement of Rainbows meant that she just wanted to play shops rather than tackle the carefully laid out maths challenges that we were supposed to enjoy with our children. I headed off to another meeting I had already planned just after 7 and got home at just before 10, completely done in.

Pink woke me at 1.30 a.m. worried about a plastic spider on the 'construction table' at school. By the time I'd actually got her to calm down and explain exactly what the problem was we were both wide awake, and it took a couple of goes to get her back to sleep. I think she was angling for an invitation into our bed, but having never slept with either of them in our bed as babies, I'm not keen to start the practise now, and I had a worrying night a few weeks ago when the husband was away when she spent most of the night with me.

So when the alarn went off this morning I was dragged horribly into the day, needing at least another couple of hours sleep. The children wanted to make their wraps for lunch, so I then had to de-marmite the table before we could have breakfast. By this point I am only just holding it together, and it's only 06.55.

Half way up to school we realised that Blue had forgotten his trumpet. I say Blue, because I have been trying a strategy to help him be more organised and remember things. So he wrote out a chart, which is on the fridge, of the things he needs each day. That way, all he really has to remember is to check the chart. This he had not remembered to do today, so I let him sweat for a bit (oh the tears, oh the misery) before I said that I would, ON THIS OCCASION, go back and get it for him. When I actually got to school, I remembered that we had also forgotten to bring tins for the harvest festival offering, As I was one of the parents who'd lobbied to donate tins for a local food bank rather than doing shoeboxes for Romania, I felt I really needed to support it, so back I headed.

By this stage, the dog was heartily hacked off as he thought he was off for his walk. To reward me for my selfishness and forgetfulness, he disappeared off down the river (I don't normally let him off the lead in this particular place any more but I simply forgot and let him run) and came back to present me with a duck. I though rabbits were bad. Ducks are worse. Let me gloss over the next few minutes...

Anyway, trumpet and tins retrieved, I walked the long way back to school to give Fred some more exercise then returned home to start the day's work. All went reasonably well until something that I could not have anticipated (indeed I thought I had anticipated - but it is far too complicated to explain) happened and I got to the point of logging off the laptop feeling thoroughly ground down.

Off up to school for Golden Time cooking - the first session of the year. This is a slot that I have run for the last 2 years (taking over from someone else) where children have the opportunity to cook & eat a healthy (ish) meal in 45 minutes (think sausage pasta, real fishfingers, lamb koftas). Today's gem was chicken fajitas. All going well when 2 minutes before the children are due to arrive for the session, I realise that I have left the tortilla wraps at home. Cue much swearing and cussing (under my breath - this is of course a primary school). Fortunately my co-cooker managed to remain calm, and even more fortunately, one of the school office ladies walked passed at the right moment. "Mr H is in the office" she said. "Can he help?". Mr H is our 'Facilities Manager' in name, but in reality, he is so much more. He runs the school, he knows all the kids and he is a top, top bloke, especially when stressed out mummies forget crucial elements of shopping for golden Time cooking sessions. Before I knew it, he was off down to the Co-Op in his looking for wraps. But just my luck, school office is back - "Wraps are on offer in the Co-Op - they've sold out".


But never fear - Mr H is still here. I started off down home to pick up the original wraps, and he met me - a knight in a dirty grey Volvo estate, picked me up drove me home, wraps collected (I did manage to take my keys with me) and back to school. When I got back, there were 3 girls assembled, and slicing. Apparently the teacher whose class were cooking today had forgotten. By that time, I frankly couldn't care less, but 3 more boys turned up and we cooked a very successful set of chicken fajitas. Used 300g of chicken breast, 2 red peppers and a red onion, and a spice mix of 2 tsp each of ground cumin and coriander and a pinch of cayenne (rather than using a sachet). Usually the session s run with 8 or even 10 kids, but 6 was a good number. The girls had done most of the prep before the boys pitched up, but once all 6 were in situ, there were enough jobs to rotate through actually cooking, coriander chopping and cheese grating and the all important washing up. They all loved the wraps and everything disappeared. Mr H got an especially big one as a thank you.

I’m now looking forward to a big gin and tonic and my lovely steak supper thanks to the local butcher who saved me some lush looking rib eye. We are hosting an unspecified number of people to make cider tomorrow (!!), so I have used the opportunity to bake another Domestic Goddess recipe, as yet untried – fresh gingerbread with lemon icing. The gingerbread is baked ready for the lemon icing (and smells heavenly), and I am just finishing off a batch of bread before starting on the chips. It’s definitely G&T time. Cheers

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