I am to help introduce the new parent councils. The training course I went on put me in mind of an episode of Some Mothers Do 'Ave 'Em, when the bold Frank Spencer was training to be a door-to-door salesman. Knock. Knock. Card. Card. Sample. Sample. A similar approach is required here. We are to give parents what they want. Quite rightly. My rainbow councillors are keen to see fair play, as long as more of "their sort of people" become involved. The mind boggles. I feel a migraine coming on.
My first port of call is Archwood Primary. I am accompanied by the local member, the recently elected Vaughan St Peters. Vaughan is in marketing. I am in trouble.
Vaughan is a Green. He has the full set beard, bicycle, cord jacket, leather patches, rimless glasses, The Guardian under arm and Save the Whales badge. He comes from Cheltenham, but just loves rural Scotland. We reach the school and are greeted by the heidie, my friend Susie.
Soon, the natives arrive. All the parents are from local families, mainly farming, but with a few in-and-aboot-comers who are in oil, financial consultancy, aromatherapy and personal services. The latter is affectionately known to the locals as Whiplash Wendy, on account of the laundry items that appear on the line every Monday morning at 11am precisely.
I do my introductions, following the script to the letter. I hear snoring. Vaughan does his bit. The snoring gets louder.
Enter Jim, wheezing: "Bloody bull! I'll shoot him wi' the rest the morrow if he disnae get going soon." Vaughan looked worried. Enter Wullie, spluttering: "Any o' youse want some venison? Ah've jist knocked a deer doon and ah hid tae finish it aff."
Vaughan asked a lot of questions about parental involvement. Vaughan didn't get any answers. Vaughan asked about parental concerns. Vaughan didn't get any answers.
Suddenly a hand went up. Vaughan's face lit up. "When are we gettin' oor cuppie?" asked Hughie, a fifth-generation local farmer.
Big Jock rose to his feet, wiped away a wee snotter and said: "Ye see Mr St Johnstone, or whitever yer name is, we dinnae need ony o' them parent cooncils. We're a' welcome at ony time in here. We're a' involved wi' oor bairns and we're fair pleased wi' Susie an' the ithers. Ye asked us whit we wanted? I'll tell ye noo..."
Susie leapt up and shouted: "Who's for tea and who's for coffee, then?"
Vaughan felt it went well. Good horny-handed sons of toil. He will do well in the rainbow alliance.