Schools, I have found, are very devious. They invite you along to a ‘Friends of’ meeting with the lure of wine and cheese. When you get there you find that it is actually a PTA meeting and, worse still, they have forgotten to get the wine and cheese. I mean really. Talk about getting people there under false pretences.
The main business of the evening was to organise the school’s Christmas Fayre. Apparently, this is a much-loved event on the school’s calendar and is very well attended. However, as much as parents like to come and spend bucket loads of cash at the Fayre, they do not want to help out with the organising and running of it. I had gone along with a friend who works full-time, but would like to get involved with helping out at the school in some way. It was her lucky night as she is now going to run a stall. Of course, as I’m a total pushover when it comes to this sort of thing, I’m going to help her.
One of the big draws of the Fayre is the tombola and, obviously, you need a lot of prizes to run one. The idea was that the school would have a non-uniform day and children would donate a tombola prize. This meant that somebody had to collect and sort the prizes on the day. When it came to asking for a volunteer for this task those who had a genuine excuse for not being able to do it were very quick to make this known. This was followed by the inevitable silence, shuffling of paper, looking at the floor, and generally avoiding eye contact of those of us who were left. Now, I can’t stand this. I find it excruciatingly unbearable and embarrassing, so before I knew it I had volunteered to help. If I was ever captured and interrogated for top secret information there would be no need for elaborate torture methods. All my kidnappers would have to do is leave a long, uncomfortable pause. I would be squealing like a pig in no time.
This was how I found myself heading to the school this morning expecting to spend the best part of a day collecting and sorting donations. However, when I got there I found that another mum was also helping out – Hooray! We got a nice little system going where she headed off with a trolley to collect the donations, and I sorted them out and stacked them in the PTA cupboard (which clearly says PTA on it, so what’s with this ‘Friends of’ lark?). This arrangement suited me as I didn’t know the school layout very well and, more importantly, I could have a good nosy at what everyone else had donated. Whilst rummaging it became clear to me that there were some things that I would really like to win on the tombola, and some that I absolutely, positively didn’t. So I compiled a list of my top 5 best and worst tombola prizes. Here it is:
5 – An Alarm Clock – my husband’s alarm clock is not working properly and keeps changing the time he has set his alarm (or so he says). As it always takes us an eternity to get around to replacing anything, this would save us a job;
4 – Hello Kitty Things– there were many Hello Kitty items donated, and winning one of these would make my girls’ day. And as everyone knows, a happy child makes a happy parent;
3 – M & S Shortbread Biscuits – yum, yum, yum!
2 – Soap and Glory Toiletries – do I need to write anything? They make fab products;
1 – A Journal – what else could I have as my #1 item? I do write a blog after all.
5 – A Teddy – or any other stuffed toy. We have far too many of these already;
4 – Yogurt Maker – would only end up in the cupboard, gathering dust along with the popcorn maker, ice-cream maker, sandwich toaster etc;
3 – Cheap Chocolate – in my experience it is not a good idea to eat anything with an unfamiliar brand name;
2 – Lambrini – yuck, yuck, yuck! Who drinks this stuff?
1 – Unknown Named Perfume – not only was this a name I had never heard of, judging by the box it had been around one or two tombolas already. And, I guess, one or two others to come. If I win it (and I probably will) I will do the decent thing and throw it away.
So there you have it. My I really want and I hope not potential tombola wins. And it is a pretty fair bet that I won’t be winning anything from the first list, and quite likely that it will be something from the latter.