Vol 14 sausage surprise
Newly qualified and over my head, I spent an interesting summer once teaching a life skills course to a small group of adults with learning difficulties. Typically, they were a nice bunch who were to set about planning, financing and carrying out a range of activities such as a visit to somewhere, preparing a meal and other so ons of their choice, the idea of which was to hopefully increase their independence (and my experience).
This began and ended when everyone else was on holiday so the college, apart from the builders redesigning the refectory and the soon-to-be new and terribly enthusiastic principal, was pretty much deserted.
Very soon, I quickly adapted to some surprisingly frank questions and comments from my students.
“What do you weigh? What’s your husband called?” enquired Anna earnestly.
“Your shoes are vile,” decided Karen and a shocked Malcolm would chide her later on the way to break.
Apart from Shirley’s chomping her way through the contents of the builders’ butty boxes in their entirety one break time as reported by Malcolm, keeper of all things moral, I was beginning to allow myself a growing confidence and would have pulled it off but for one idiotic moment on the car park on the penultimate day.
“Morning Wendy!” exhorted the new Principal, over-brightly I felt for 9am, “All Going Well?” in the important tone reserved for principals and politicians.
“Oh yes,” I assured her, desperately searching for something constructive to say, “we’re making sausage surprise for lunch tomorrow.”
“Ooo Marvellous! Can I bag an invite!”
Well what would you say??? C
Come on, I’d rather you not - Mrs new Principal wasn’t really an option.
The Friday morning found me close to hysterical.
My query “Have you brought the sausages Shirley?” was met with what sausage and I realised that I had seriously underestimated the multi-tasking severe that was required to ensure the health and safety of all concerned. 11am saw Malcolm began twisting black pepper into the casserole 11.01 saw Shirley enjoying a crafty double dip of the tomatoey concoction 11.04 saw Karen dampen the pastry with her own spit 11.05 heard me shriek, mortified to Malcolm to STOP IT WITH THE BLACK PEPPER. It didn’t bode well.
“Well this looks absolutely splendid!” the Principal announced not too long after, beaming round our little group, “so what’s the surprise Wendy?” she winked getting into her full stride despite my frantic, hard stare.
“there’s no sausage in it.” replied the disarmingly deadpan Karen, catching the Principal off guard and reducing her to uncharacteristic silence.
Eventually we began, studiously avoiding spontaneous combustion, to consume the eye-watering sausage surprise casserole, while a mounting furnace slowly spread outward incinerating our skin in its fiery wake.
“Phew,” said the Principal, energetically batting away an imaginary blast on the first of many occasions, “I think I’m having another one of my hot sweats.”