Posted on 12 Comments

Don’t speak to me I’m tongue tied at the School PTA

Image: Robert Cochrane /

I don’t know where it came from, but I suspect the remnants of old school Scottish marmerisms come into force whenever I have to deal with teachers.

I keep putting my hand up whenever a group of parents is asked to volunteer by questions like “who would like to join the PTA (Parent Teacher Association) to raise funds for the school.”   You’d think I’d have learned by now, but my rebounding arm hasn’t understood to keep still when faced with a panel of educators.

I try to visualise holding my arm down, and keeping the whole row of fellow parents entertained during enforced voting and mutual appreciation sessions, but my arm shoots up in the air to send me once more into “meeting terror.”

Anticipating the first meeting brings misty tears.  The usual conversations I have with teachers tend to begin with “I apologise for the disruption my son has caused,” so I enter self-consciously when the day actually comes round to take my place at the table of horror.

Keeping eyes fixed to the table, I pretend to shuffle papers wildly so as not to attract any attention from the other obviously completely competent parents who have joined me.  I realise I have committed the cardinal sin of “meeting etiquette,” as they all sit down with their skinny lattes while I sip my full fat cappuccino.

Sweating clammy hands refuse to keep hold of the pen, and it slips between my fingers. I surreptitiously wipe my hands on my jeans, and they come up with a lovely bright tinge of blue.  I try to hide the glowing neon, and realise that skinny neighbour is watching my predicament as she glares suspiciously out of the corner of her eye.

I become conscious of silence at the table, and realise everyone is looking at me.  I rack my brains to try and recall any of the conversation that has gone on, and decide that I need to introduce myself.  Opening my mouth, no words come out.  I eventually bark my name parrot fashion with dry mouth and raspy voice, while my heart beats so loud that you could hear it in New York.  They still glare at me.  I look to skinny neighbour, and smile at her to make it her turn since she glared at me first.

Skinny neighbour has obviously been just as engrossed by my neon hand as I was, and she repeats the same changing name mantra with shrieking, annoyed voice.  Relieved at not looking like the only total pillock in the room, I feel a slight warming to skinny neighbour and give her a smile.

Losing myself in the conversation of the room, I try to focus on what is important.  The Chair decides it is time to split up the work for the rest of the school term and asks for volunteers to attend a specialised work group.

My arm shoots up in the air with a life of its own !!!

I never learn.

Posted on 21 Comments

Slow Cooked Mince & Tatties

Two things got made in the Scottish Mum household today and they were complete opposite ends of the spectrum.  I made apple muffins and a hodgepodge of rubbish and odds and sods that were lying around the fridge for supper.

The apple muffins are a pretty standard recipe so I won’t do them.  I did the muffin type recipe that I just substitute different fruit for.  I learned how to make nice muffins when I did the post for Prince’s fruit.

Onto the Slow Cooked Mince & Tatties

Now this is not the Scottish way, and it is probably not anybody’s way of making mince and potatoes, but if we don’t try different ways now and again, we never find out newer and quicker ways to feed our families without slaving over a hot stove.

I do a lot of cooking, but I really dislike it with an enormous passion.   My dislike for cooking is probably the reason I love my slow cooker so much.

So rather than proper mince and tatties, this is more of a  Hodgepodge 

Here we go.

1kg of Mince, browned in a pan with 2 smallish onions.

With the kettle boiled for the slow cooker, I decided that I was going to be lazy today and throw it in the pot for later.

I rustled up about 1 kg of different vegetables and 2 kg of baby potatoes which I cut into halves and some into slices.

Along with a couple of stock cubes, about 25 ml of lemon juice and a pinch or two of salt, I threw it all in the pot and added water – and then proceeded to ignore it for the next 4 hours while it cooked.

When we were ready to eat, some cornflour to thicken and bobs your uncle.

Part of me was slightly worried about how this would turn out, but I have learned that the only thing that ingredients in food have to be precise for is actually everything to do with baking and pastry.  With anything else, pretty much anything goes with trial and error.

Sundays big meal cost me less than £10 with masses of food for everyone and enough left over for tomorrow, so that will be two big meals for £5 each.

Ok, slow cooked mince and tatties doesn’t look fabulous on the plate, but it tasted amazing and no slaving over a hot stove.   There is just something delicious about potatoes cooked hot pot style.

I had forgotten to make a loaf so we used apple muffins to soak up the gravy.  What a combination..



Posted on Leave a comment

Fill In The Blanks !!!!! Meme

I have been tagged by @jontybabe AND @helloitsgemma on twitter.    They are getting me back for tagging them last week (only kidding).

Fill in the blanks is as it sounds.  A list of words that I have to fill in the blanks of.

I am… 
Trying to be the best mum that I can be.  I know I am not perfect.  I know my kids actually wish me out of the way at times, and I know that sometimes I get things wrong.   It doesn’t stop me trying though, and maybe, one day, my kids will understand that there are rules for their own good.

The bravest thing I’ve ever done…
I’m not very brave.  I will challenge things that I don’t think are right, but I am not a gung ho type of person, not any more.  The kids took care of that.    In fact, bringing 3 children into my life was probably my bravest feat.

I feel prettiest…
Now this is predictable and corny for me.  Easy – I feel prettiest when  I am thin, and on the day I get my hair coloured.   At the moment, the first is out of the equation, but the second was done last week, so I’m still feeling slightly confident.

Something that keeps me awake at night…
Education struggles for one of my children and my childrens special needs sometimes does keep me awake for hours at a time.

My favourite meal is…
I don’t particularly have a favourite meal.  I have a love/hate relationship with food, but if pushed, it would swing from (proper) stovies with baked beans, milk and oatcakes, to chicken risotto.

The way to my heart is…
Through my children.  Treat them well, and my heart goes out to you.

I would like to be…
A fly on the wall in the education and council departments as they make swathing cuts to childrens services.