There are some mothers who are just so wonderfully organised and they work off calendars and diaries and excel spreadsheets and lists and schedules and whiteboards. These mums always read the notes in the schoolbag (daily), they read the emailed weekly newsletter, they remember to send in photo money, signed excursion notes, permission slips, library bags and homework folders. They know when it’s mufti day, poem recital afternoon and when parents are supposed to turn up to special assemblies. They remember which day is sports day, library day, swimming day, gymnastics and which day the photographer is turning up to take the class photos. These mothers love to be involved and know where their child is ranked academically. They volunteer to be class mums, to manage the soccer team, to run the P&C or the uniform shop, the canteen or be an assistant to the librarian.
And then there are the mothers like me. And we’re a more rare breed. We missed the buying frenzy at the beginning of the year and there are now no calendars left, we bought a diary but we can’t find it, we’re not trained in excel, we can’t find the school notes, we’re not sure if we’re on the email list for the weekly newsletter and our computers must be corrupted because we’re not able to open any of the attachments emailed by the school. We don’t know where our child is ranked academically because it would take an excel spreadsheet to work that out, we missed the meeting where they asked, ‘Who would like to be Class Mum’, we don’t know the rules of soccer, we can’t run the P&C because you’d need a diary, and we would like to help out in the uniform shop, the canteen or the library it’s just we can’t find the note that needs to be signed and handed back in.
This school week didn’t start out too well. Probably because I’d been so busy beating Carl in the Balmoral Swim for Cancer by 13 seconds, then came home to sort out the house, wash the dogs, go food shopping, have family for dinner, work for a couple of hours, then get to bed at midnight only to be woken at 5.45am by the sound of a large painting falling off the wall and crashing to the tiles.
A few hours later I was walking Alfie to school and I thought I’d got the day off to a great start. I’d managed to clean up from the dinner party, hang out two loads of washing, fill three lunch boxes, make the beds, sort the washing and Alfie was even going to be on time. Things were looking good.
But then we arrived at the school and as I was walking Alfie up the three flights of stairs to his classroom amongst all the students it appeared Alfie was the only one dressed in school uniform and the others were all in mufti. Although I did begin to feel alarmed nothing sprang to mind as a reason for this. I asked Alfie.
‘Alfie, is this your class? Why are they in mufti? Are you supposed to be in mufti?’
And Alfie said, ‘Maybe’. There’s a very prominent vague gene that’s becoming more pronounced with every generation. And then he asked, ‘Do I have swimming today?’
And I couldn’t believe I’d forgotten Monday is swimming day. He was supposed to be wearing his swimsuit under his uniform and have his towel, cap and goggles in his swimming bag all of which were at home. But why were the children not in uniform? I thought I’d better ask the teacher who fortunately is very understanding and relaxed about me being one of those ‘other mums’.
We walked into the classroom and all the children were sitting on the mat and the teacher looked at us and said, ‘Did you not get the note?’
‘What note?’ I asked standing there looking blank, dumb and dazed.
‘It was in his bag on Friday. He was supposed to give it to you.’
So I started rummaging through the bag and found a small piece of paper that I held up. ‘Would this be it?’ I asked.
‘Yes, that’s it. And did you not get my email this morning?’
I’d been cleaning up the kitchen, hanging out washing and making beds. I hadn’t yet got to my emails. ‘No, I didn’t get the email.’
‘Right. He’s got water awareness at swimming this morning and they need to be in the pool fully clothed. Take him home, dress him in plain clothes and pack his uniform in his swimming bag. We’ll see you soon.’
So we walked home in disgrace. My wonderful feelings of how I’d managed to get the week off to such a good start were nicely eroded.
But while I was deflated Alfie was relaxed and happy. To him it was an excellent start to the week because this most unfortunate event had given him one hour out of the classroom.
We are still on our pear diet. Here’s a recipe using pears with pork.
Pork Fillets with Pear, Pancetta and Sage
Degree of Difficulty: 2/5
Cost: Pork fillets aren’t cheap so this is a more expensive mid-week family meal.
- 60g butter, cubed
- 4 pears peeled, cored and quartered
- 2 pork fillets (about 800g)
- 12 slices of pancetta
- 1 bunch sage
- Olive oil for drizzling
Preheat oven to 190C (375F)
Place butter in a roasting dish. Place pears on top of butter.
Place pork fillets on a chopping board and place a few sage leaves on the top of each pork fillet. Firmly wrap the pancetta around each pork fillet securing the sage leaves between the fillet and the pancetta. Place on top of the pears. Drizzle with a little olive oil.
Cook in the oven for 30 minutes. Allow to rest for 10 minutes before slicing in 1cm slices.
Serve with rosemary potatoes and steamed greens.
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