The 'diet' has been going well. No chocolate, no bread, just good healthy food, plenty of water, and a 300% increase in the level of exercise. (That last is not hard to achieve if you also include walking to collect the Boys from school in the tally. Yes, I'm desperate). Still, knowing my luck, I will not have lost a single pound when I next weigh myself, though of course I can always console myself with the old 'muscle weighs more than fat' myth. I know this is a myth, by the way, because I trotted it out in front of my trainer at the gym when she gave me my new programme - and she laughed. Pityingly. I think she thought I had rather a way to go before that becomes a problem.
Checking my diary today, I noticed with horror that next Tuesday is Boy #1's school 'graduation' picnic. I know. Graduation - for four year olds. Has the world gone mad? But that's not all, oh no. Those of you with slightly older kids will no doubt already be shaking their heads, and saying "You didn't, did you? Tell me you didn't do it. Tell me you didn't give in to the pressure, pick up the pencil, and write your name next to an item on the list of party foods. You did, didn't you?"
Yes, yes I did.
"Well, tell me at least that it was something simple. Something like punnets of strawberries. Or sausage rolls, available frozen oven-ready in the budget section of the supermarket. Please tell me that, at least!"
I'm afraid I can't.
"Oh, for chrissake. I give up."
And you should, dear reader, you should. For what, in my jet-lagged post Australian trip haze did I sign up to? A batch of 40 home-made jam tarts, that's what. I must be crazy. Not for saying I would make the jam tarts - but for owning up to them in advance. It's one thing to take in a spontaneous offering of muffins or similar for the kids to consume in class, but this? This is a whole different ballgame, for at this Graduation Picnic... there will be Parents.
And not just any parents, oh no. West London Parents. The most competitive of the lot. Very few of them are British, and those that are have long ago spurned Fair Play as for weaklings. The result? Well, here's an excerpt from a post I wrote about Harvest Festival last October, and decide for yourself.
It’s Harvest Festival week at Boy #1’s nursery, and all parents were asked to bring in a box to be donated to the needy, filled with suitable tins, fruit, veg etc. To add to the general excitement it was suggested that the children should decorate them, and that the best would win a prize. Full of team spirit, we duly collected leaves in the park after school and last night Boy #1 and I indulged in an orgy of cutting and sticking whilst he decorated a (large) shoe box in a seasonal styley.
I then filled it with what I thought was appropriate fare (a couple of tins of soup, some biscuits, a home-made jar of redcurrant jelly – home-made but not by me, do you think I'm crazy? - some dried fruit etc). Oh, how little I knew… When we arrived at the school to drop Boy #1 off, I realised I had badly misjudged the situation.
We had to fight our way through the entrance hall; it had suddenly become home to acres of beautifully cellophane-wrapped wicker hampers, boxes, cartons and (I kid you not) one pink enamel rustic style bucket filled with goodies. The were all overflowing with the best that Fortnums, Harrods, Selfridges and Harvey Nicks could offer.
Suddenly our Waitrose goods looked a little cheap… Whilst his teacher valiantly rose to the occasion and pointed out that Boy #1 was one of the few kids who had actually risen to the challenge of decorating their own harvest gift, I must admit that if I were one of the ‘needy’ recipients I know which I would prefer. Am simply not sure that a foliage decorated shoebox - albeit a large one - could cut it compared with some of the grander offerings available...
So. These mommas take no prisoners. I expect most of them to have their chef/house-keeper already working on delectable offerings for next week, and those that don't have staff will probably have booked the local patisserie to supply whatever it is they are providing.
But I refuse to give in. Home-made I have promised, and home-made I will provide. Even though I can see a long weekend of tart making ahead, trying to make the perfect pastry, choosing the perfect jam. Not good, since I'm on a diet, so even if I do manage to restrain myself from testing the tarts during the baking marathon, I am likely to consume most of the results in a sugar-low induced frenzy on the way to drop them off at the school on Tuesday morning.
Something tells me that if I turn up with a few crumbs in the box, and jam around my mouth it may give the game away. Perhaps I'll task Husband to make this delivery.
I can resist anything but temptation.