Don’t you just love it when 5 minutes before the kids leave for school on Monday morning, the youngest produces a bedraggled piece of paper from out of her bag and attempting to ‘iron’ it flat again with her hand announces, ‘oh, I forgot about this – it’s for you, Mum’. Monday was Halloween, and as a result, we’d been up since the crack of dawn amassing the costumes and vast array of accessories ready for each kid to wear to school.
I’m always up first, and on a ‘normal school day’, there’s usually a high degree of reluctance to move from under the bedsheets by each of the kids, and my vocal chords get a daily battering – constantly imploring all to move with a pace quicker than that of a senile snail, and get ready for school. Even my ageing cat who witnesses this morning ritual seems to roll her eyes with the inevitability of what’s to unfold, deploying her caterwauling as a counter-measure to the heated arguments that rapidly re-ignite upstairs – each kid aggravating the other in a move to create as much distraction and blockage to the morning process as humanly possible.
I, on the other hand, just turn on the kitchen radio (BBC Radio 2 – ‘Steve Wright in the Afternoon’ acting as our daily breakfast show given the 7 hours time difference), and switch the kettle on for a brew. The volume and urgency escalates until all 3 kids appear in the kitchen – and proceed to stare aimlessly at the breakfast goods on offer – as though awaiting a fairy godmother to appear and morph them into something delicious. Each morning without fail, there’s a stunned surprise as I suggest they do it themselves ….However, Halloween morning is unlike any other morning in the school year. Bounding out of bed like puppies desperate for attention, they hastily put on their attire and rapidly move to constructing and demolishing their breakfasts, jovially making conversation with one another incorporating even the odd chuckle and giggle as they do so. Slightly stunned with surprise, and wondering why there isn’t the same level of cooperation every other day of the school week, I get on with my usual chores and with plenty of time to spare, everyone is ready and waiting to leave the house – on time.
So imagine my dismay, when the youngest reached into her bag with 5 minutes to spare and showed me a letter from her teacher. They were having a Halloween party in their class that afternoon and each child had been selected to bring specific items as contributions towards the Halloween feast. Looking for her name on the list, I discovered she had been asked to bring ‘baked goods’ as dessert for her and 20 fellow classmates.‘Happy Halloween’ was not one of the few choice words which immediately sprung to mind – let alone the fact that this had been festering in her bag for the entire weekend without so much as an acknowledgement. To say this went down like a lead balloon was an understatement, and she was left in no doubt that this news hadn’t been well-received. I have been known to produce the odd miracle every now and again, and whilst it was Halloween – and yes, I do have a black cat and a broomstick on my wall – the ability to concoct something both appetising and fit for human consumption in the space of 30 seconds, has even me domestically challenged. Tears welled in her eyes as she realised the true horror of not having something to take in for her classmates later that day.
Frantically looking in the larder and feeling like a contestant on the Canadian cooking programme, ‘Chopped’ – minus the major $10,000 incentive; I focused on the few key ingredients I had to hand and rapidly attempted to recollect my back catalogue of cooking treats. My youngest went off to school dressed as a vampire witch (as you do), and the confidence that something would arrive in the next 20 minutes.
How on earth I then pulled off ‘Rocky Road’ in the space of 20 minutes was sheer brilliance – even if I do say so. It was like making magic happen ….. literally. Let’s hope next Halloween is less eventful, I could do with no sudden surprises …..