Pass the wooden spoon

Chairing meetings is really hard when people talk over each other. But it’s the person taking the minutes I feel sorry for when there are 3 conversations going on at once. This doesn’t happen in most meetings I attend but it always happens at this particular one. The normal chair often struggles so when I was asked to chair today I thought about taking a wooden spoon so that you could only talk if you were holding the spoon but I forgot so we had to resort to a marker pen. We kept forgetting to pass it but I think it did help a little. Aside from that I had to be a bit snippy when the chatting got out of hand. Does anyone have any tips for this that doesn’t make you sound like a really strict teacher?

As I type this I’m sitting at the annual Parent Council Conference. We have 144 parent councils in the area and this is an opportunity for reps from each one to get together.


There are speakers, dancers from one of our schools and an art display. A minute ago each table had to empty a bag of recycling in the middle and the had to work together as a group to build something. This was to prove the point that this kind of play is fun, what children love and that it doesn’t have to cost an arm and a leg.


I don’t know about you but I dread MiniHim coming home with instructions to build something from recycling. I always think it’ll show that I have no imagination and am pretty rubbish at crafty stuff. The last time he did this was a break-through though. I solved a couple of engineering problems, worked out joints and stuff and we had maximum fun making a mess with paint on a plastic sheet on the living room floor. I think I’ve turned my creative corner and I have to say it’s a relief to be able to provide plastic bottles and toilet roll tubes at the drop of a hat. I think I’ve mentioned before that I hated it when Blue Peter started their Tracy Island and Barbie House projects because we never had anything to hand. By the time I had a single empty washing-up liquid bottle they’d moved on to the advent candle suspended in a wire coat hanger!

On the way out I had a look at the art exhibition with work from our school pupils. I was astounded by this by Jack Gault from John Ogilvie. Could we have another Turner Prize winner in our midst?


On other news one of the web publishers at one of today’s meeting got talking about photography. We discussed our disappointment at most camera clubs so we’ve decided to start our own at work. We’ll be getting right back to basics, have tutorials on phone cameras, Instagram, Flickr etc, something traditional clubs never seem to touch. I’ll keep you up-to-date here.

Today I have learned:

  • schools work best if they see businesses and parents as partners
  • it doesn’t matter what bits and bobs you give people, they always make a robot or a spaceship

Today’s track

Today’s recipe

Peanut butter cookies



225g unsalted butter (at room temp)

200g caster sugar

200g soft brown sugar

2 eggs

1 tsp vanilla extract

340g plain flour

2.5 tsp bicarb

240g crunchy peanut butter

half a tsp salt

Method: Heat the oven to 170C/Gas 3 and line probably all your baking trays as this is a monster recipe!

Mix the sugars and the butter in a large bowl with an electric hand mixer till light and fluffy. Add the eggs one at a time and mixing well. Beat in the vanilla.

I tried using the mixer to beat in the peanut butter but it struggled to the point of groaning so I beat it in by hand now. Add the flour, bicarb and salt and mix well till you form a smooth dough.

Put tbsp-sixed dollops on the baking trays, leaving plenty of room for spreading. Bake for about 10 minutes.

Leave for a few minutes on the trays before turning out onto cooling wires.

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