My youngest, King Julien went on a school trip this week, a bit of nature detecting, which I am all in favour of. (Not sure if it is a bit too early in the season for bug hunting, might not be many bugs about yet in March, but hey! a good idea nonetheless and good for the kids to get outside.)
He needed to be equipped with the necessary lunchbox. The norm for school trips is that everything is disposable, all in easy throw-away bags, nothing is to be kept, so that once lunch is eaten, they have nothing to carry or lose, so the school take the “high lunch waste” approach.
This week however it was the total opposite.
The venue, Green Park Outdoors, just outside of Aylesbury run “The low waste lunch challenge!”
All visitors are encouraged to bring a lunch that produces as little waste as possible, either all in little pots, that are then taken home again, or wrapped in greaseproof paper or foil, or biodegradable things that can be recycled. At the end of lunch, all the waste from everyone’s lunch would be weighed on scales and it was a competition – whoever had the least waste would win the challenge, be contacted in July and a certificate be awarded to the winning group.
I read the handout that the school had provided us with and being your typical dark horse, but secretly highly competitive mother, took a deep breath and stepped up to the challenge! I already had two other lunchboxes to prepare, one for Tuna the other for Spike, and this was just going to add more to the usual morning rush to say the least! I brushed that thought aside as now there was a hint of competition coming into the mix. Yet another opportunity for me to exhibit how organised a mother I can be, hopefully beating all other mothers in not only providing a truly healthy lunchbox, but also creating a lunch with minimal waste at the end of it.
With wild eyes, I rummaged in cupboards for those little pots with lids that the kids used to have fruit puree in when babies, any small tupperware that I could use for those little bits that comprise a lunch: chopped up fruit in one pot, the sandwiches chopped into fingers in another, a little carrot cupcake in another pot. Me, the Mother hen kept pecking at the kids, cajoling them along into eating up their breakfast as I frantically looked for the greaseproof paper, totally biodegradable, therefore good for the compost heap in terms of waste, but not in the drawer. I resorted to foil as by now I had run out of little pots.
What else? Being a school trip, the kids always get the treat of crisps or some savoury snack, today it was Cheddars, (those cheesie biscuits)and of course normally they get a carton of fruit juice to drink. But today, no carton, as that is waste, so he was farmed off with a bottle of water poor chap. I did not have time to decant the small carton of juice into the bottle… Sorry…
Quite triumphant in what I had managed to achieve in that 15 minute “prepare lunchboxes” slot of my morning, I hurried the kids into the car and headed off on the school run.
Just dropping off the older two at school, Tuna promptly realised she had left her costume for the school choir performance at home, and needed it for the dress rehearsal that day.
Quick, back in the car. Drive back home. Dash inside the house. Grab the rogue bag. Jump back in the car. Head back to school. Drop the kids at the school office. Hurtle up the road to the infant school in the hope that the coach had not yet arrived. The school trip was the highlight of King Julien’s week! Can’t be late for that. Ran up the hill. Into the playground. Quick, run! Just caught the tail end of his class walking in to school. Phew! Made it!
Later that day …..
I arrived for school pickup just at the time the coach was reversing gingerly up the hill. After some delay the school released the children.
“So, King Julien, how was the trip?”
“Great!” he replied.
“And how was lunch, how did the challenge go?” “Who won?”
“What?” he asked me.
“You know, the lunch challenge. Did they weigh out all the waste? How did you do?”
“They didn’t do it Mummy. The scales had broken,” he replied.
My jaw just dropped in reply…
All that palava this morning, and the scales were broken! They didn’t even do it!