CommsCamp, a dilemma and special mac and cheese

Today’s post will be short because it’s been a pretty mundane day with a lengthy meeting in the afternoon. Lunch time was spent trying to sort out a dilemma.
I signed up ages ago for CommsCamp which is next month. I was really looking forward to seeing old friends including Darren Caveney, Dan Slee, Andy Mabbett, Sasha Taylor and Geoff Coleman who have all made me feel like an adoptive Brummie when I’ve been down there. I’ve also been shaping up for what feels like the traditional curry, with tales of Nick Hill getting trapped between two doors in the restaurant, Dan and Andy trying to oust each other as mayor and sweepstakes on how many times Andy will mention Wikipedia before the starter arrives.

However, just before Christmas l was invited to do some social media training and awareness with a new comms team at another Scottish council. Past comms people had struggled with getting the value of social media recognised by management but after our session when this team went back to base management listened to what they had to say. Long story short I’ve been asked back to do the same presentation with some added extras to their Chief Exec, their CMT and all the council’s senior managers. Only drawback? It’s the day after CommsCamp.
I’ve been mulling it over for a couple of days now and I think I’ve made up my mind that I should concentrate on helping change hearts and minds rather than being one of many in an audience when I can tune in and follow the CommsCamp hashtag anyway. Many of my friends are going and it’s Darren and Dan who are organising CommsCamp so I’m sure I’ll be kept up to date. When I put the question out on Twitter @jasebell said exactly what I was thinking. Others said there would be plenty of other times to talk to the other council’s CMT but it turns out this is a day-long event that is only held twice a year so I think I should head north rather than south and try to make a real difference and help the comms team be heard.
Mind you, I’ve still to run this past my manager but I’m guessing she’d rather have me out of the office for one day rather than two. So hands up who wants my CommsCamp ticket?

Today I’ve learned:

  • I prefer making a difference rather than just ‘doing’ my job
  • like yesterday,  people seem to value what I bring to the table
  • I should visit Brum for pleasure to catch up with friends

Today’s recipe
Special mac and cheese


Serves 4
10 handfuls dried pasta,  cooked and drained
4 slices of leftover ham from yesterday’s post, diced
6 mushrooms, sliced
For the cheese sauce
30g butter
1 tsp Dijon mustard
freshly ground black pepper
around 2 tbsp plain flour
around 400 mls milk
3 handfuls mature Cheddar, grated plus another to sprinkle
Basil leaves to shred on top before serving
Method: Put the pasta back in the rinsed pan it was cooked in. Add the ham and mushrooms.
Heat the oven to 200C/gas 6.
Melt the butter and mustard in a pan with some pepper. Add the flour gradually to make a roux. Add the milk a little at a time and stir using a whisk to prevent lumps forming.  When you feel it start to thicken and go silky add a splash more milk then add the cheese, stirring till melted. Pour the sauce into the pasta pan and mix well then transfer into a baking dish. Sprinkle over remaining cheese and put in the oven till bubbling and golden in top. You can speed things up by giving it a blast under a hot grill.
Sprinkle over the basil leaves and serve with garlic bread and chilled pinot grigio.


  1. Andy Mabbett · January 11, 2013

    Thank you, but I hardly ever mention Wikipedia. Oops.

    • carolynemitchell · January 11, 2013

      You would’ve been proud of me. I had to phone MiniMe’s school to put them right on a few things when she came home saying that teacher had told them not to use Wikipedia because it’s full of inaccuracies and not to be trusted. They won’t forget me in a hurry!

      • Andy Mabbett · January 11, 2013

        Well done; and thank you!

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