Initially I thought my last post may have been a little mean about the school summer fête. It’s not easy being a teacher, especially when you’ve got a government selling off schools to academy trusts and no one wants to invest in anything that doesn’t make a fast, demonstrable profit. You’ve got to buy pencils somehow.
…But then the school sent another of their charming letters:
“Cheeky Sods,” I thought. It’s the last thing I want to do at the end of a working week. Plus the Why not donate any spare cupcakes… really annoyed me. Of course no one’s going to make ONE cupcake. (Or maybe some people do!)
I was very much determined that a) we wouldn’t be making any cupcakes and b) we would give the whole shebang a wide berth.
Boo had other ideas:
“I’m going to make an Alice in Wonderland cupcake for the summer fête.”
I pretty much buried the idea though and last night Eve had commandeered the kitchen to make a birthday cake for her new boyfriend. I was pretty sure I’d got away with it.
Again Boo had other ideas and cried when she came out of school. With the fête less than 2 hours away the time went like this:
3.20: Get home, give Noodles a kiss and head to the kitchen. Do an audit of required ingredients. Breathe a sigh of relief that we only need to get decorations…although I make a note to clear out the cupboards when it turns out the cornflour expired in 2014!
4.00: Back home – £27.78 worse off! – oven on, time to destroy the kitchen. Thankfully a plain sponge isn’t too taxing and 12 buns are in the oven within 10 minutes!
4.10: Along with Boo, eat excessive amounts of cake batter that’s leftover. I suppose I could’ve made extra cakes, but that would’ve meant two batches and I definitely haven’t got time for that.
Feel a little sick.
4.15: Get a bit excited that I’ve bought a hypodermic needle to inject jam into the cakes. (Sad but true.)
4.20: Noodles comes into the kitchen looking for me. I duck behind the counter and pretend I’m not there.
4.25: There’s a little voice squeaking in the living room. Noodles wants a big hug and Curious George. He has to settle for a little squeeze and Curious George. Why does Netflix take so long to get started?!?!
4.30: The cakes are out; they haven’t burnt (much). I start wafting them like a contestant on The Great British Bake-Off.
4.40: Noodles decides he wants Thomas the Tank Engine instead of Curious George. Netflix takes an age to decide that this is do-able.
4.45: The icing gets unceremoniously piped. Raspberry sprinkles cover a multitude of sins. (Raspberry sprinkles also cover the entire worktop.) I figure as only one is being judged only one needs the whole works. (I also figure I can clean up later.)
4.46: Noodles wants the same bit of Thomas repeated again and again. I let him watch twice then leg it back to the kitchen for more piping.
4.55: The plumpest-looking cake gets picked for competition entry and is topped with every decoration going. Queen of Hearts playing card: tick. ‘Eat me’ candles: tick. White rose half painted red: Tick. White rabbit telling us we’re late: I wouldn’t have been surprised!
5.01: The cakes are packed, shoes and coats are on and we’re out the door. I’ve no idea how our entry got on – within half an hour (aka another £20 spent and a bump to the head later) Noodles has had enough. I gleefully accept the job of taking him home. I don’t have to face more tears when the professional cake-baker – sorry, the professional cake-baker’s daughter – surely wins.
Still, I spot a kid struggling with one of our offerings as jam oozes down his arm. “How’s your cake?” I ask. “I made that!” He gives me a “20 out of 10.” And I’ve done my mum duty for today. (As far as Boo is concerned at least. Teflon Man has moaned that I didn’t get anything for us to eat tonight…talk about never being able to please all of the people!)
At least the little people are smiling tonight.
And I’m pretty sure it’s now wine o’clock!
An update: Our cupcake won!!!
Totally worth the effort now – Boo’s brought home enough sweets to ensure she’s on a sugar high throughout the summer holidays.
I think that deserves another glass of wine!