There's snow business

PUBLISHED: 13:14 18 March 2011 | UPDATED: 16:25 20 February 2013

Our new columnist is Carolyn Lazarus who will be writing about the trials and tribulations of life in the county...

Our new columnist is Carolyn Lazarus who will be writing about the trials and tribulations of life in the county. This month the mother of two whose CV includes lawyer, magistrate and garden designer, faces one of her toughest challenges making costumes for the school nativity.

So Carolyn youre happy to lead the snowflake working party with Tania? said Bess, looking at me doubtfully. I smiled... in a horrified sort of a way. Happy was not the adjective that sprang to mind. In fact the thought of producing snowflake and icicle costumes for forms 2GM and 2A for the school nativity made me feel quite unwell. I had only just got over stuffing 200 baps with pig roast for Bonfire Night. Surely I deserved a lie down?

Why couldnt we have lots of donkeys and sheep as usual? That way we could recycle the mangy animal costumes from the P.T.A. cupboard, send in striped tea towels for the shepherds and be done with it in time for coffee. This had always been fine before. I know the productions had been a bit samey of late same old plot, same unlikely cast of exaggerated characters but who cared? Why did we have to complicate things by bringing the weather into it? This inspirational new drama teacher was all very well but she clearly wasnt thinking of the mothers.

I was regretting more than ever my appointment to the P.T.A. It was not as though I wanted to be on it; it was just that I had not had my excuses at the ready... children in intensive care; husband just left me that sort of thing. To be honest, I am not P.T.A. material. Im muddled, Im disorganised and above all I am not chic. I mean I have chic clothes, obviously. Its just that once I put them on they become less chic, scruffy almost sporty is the kindliest description anyone has come up with. The other problem is that I am really rather shy. I have known I was shy since I was 14 when my mum gave me The Shy Persons Book. If you are a shy person then I can tell you that to have this book on your shelf is strangely unhelpful.

I looked sideways at my fellow year 2 rep, Tania, for reassurance. She looked back at me vacantly and my heart sank. She appeared to be even more clueless than me about the task in hand. Nevertheless, after some shy but aggressive encouragement she was brainstorming freely about tabards and pointed hats and I thought: theres more to this girl than meets the eye. I swiftly delegated icicles to Tania keeping a mere handful of snowflakes for myself. I then ruthlessly roped in the people likely to be good with a needle before Tania could get to them. My helpers proved inspirational Louise suggested silver doilies to represent snowflakes and Alice cut them out without a pause saying:, Oh yes snowflakes six points and everyone unique isnt that the essence of a snowflake?

Women in this county may have sacrificed careers, they may juggle a bewildering hotchpotch of jobs during the course of one day, but my goodness they have talent. Finally the day of the performance came. Excitement in the pre-prep building had reached fever pitch. True, some of the powdery make-up was a bit overdone introducing a supernatural twist but the costumes were first rate. We crossed the road to St. Davids Hall to find the place was rocking. It never ceases to amaze me how people here are always up for a party. More fathers than ever had taken the afternoon off work and there was a good showing of grandparents. I was impressed again by how some mothers single-handedly reserve whole rows of seats for their friends. Not quite in the Christmas spirit perhaps but fancy having so many friends!

A hush fell and I held my breath as the Snowflakes entered stage left. I neednt have worried. The girls twisted, pivoted and pirouetted light, floaty and ethereal as the costumes themselves. Afterwards the Headmaster thanked the P.T.A. for its hard work. We stopped jumping up and down waving at our children and affected an air of nonchalance as the applause rolled in. I like this P.T.A. lark I thought to myself, negotiating a commercial contract was never this much fun. Year 2 Christmas lunch and the Christmas bazaar beckoned but, shy or not, I was equal to the challenge.

Carolyn Lazarus has lived in Herefordshire for 10 years having moved from Oxford where she was the lawyer for Oxford University Press, the publishing arm of the University. Before that she managed the legal department of ZENECA Seeds. Since living here she has been a magistrate on the Herefordshire Bench and recently embarked on a change of career as a garden designer, having qualified with an HNC from Pershore RHS College. Carolyn lives in Lugwardine with her husband (also a lawyer), her two children aged 9 and 12 who both attend Hereford Cathedral School, and her four cats who do nothing very much.

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