The trouble with soup

A guest post from QuietHT

If you are hoping for an upbeat post about soup, or maybe a funny tale of how I was making my own delicious butternut and something soup and forgot to put the lid on the blender, then step away from today’s blog.  Firstly, I am a full time working parent of two and secondly there are well qualified people and machines who produce vast quantities of the stuff so I pride myself on keeping the soupconomy going.

The trouble with soup has, and remains, one of the best ways of describing the way my life has been affected in recent months. Every time I see a tin of the stuff I am reminded why putting a temporary halt to my headteacher journey was not just important but essential.

Picture the day after the revelation to the powers that be that I was unable to continue in my post due to increasing chest pains, palpitations, loss of appetite and insomnia to name but a few symptoms.  (I am well aware that I should have taken action before the orchestra of symptoms reached its full crescendo and I was unable to do anything but sob, but hindsight is a wonderful gift to those who didn’t see it coming.)

Anyway, the day after I found myself in a local supermarket with a short shopping list of items. Most were pretty basic, food to comfort and keep me fed a little, cheese, bread, chocolate and tomato and basil soup. Now I do need to explain here that tomato and basil soup is one of my favourites, this will be relevant.  Apart from having to grip the trolley quite hard to prevent myself from shaking, and peering nervously round the end of each aisle to make sure there were no school parents there I thought it was going pretty well.

Then I needed to get the soup.

That’s where my tale really unfolds.

If you haven’t been in front of a soup display for some time, or have never taken the time to observe closely then let me enlighten you – there are loads. But it’s ok I hear you cry, you had the favourite tomato and basil, it was on the list.

Well, yes I did but someone who is anxious, stressed and depressed doesn’t believe the list.  The inner voice of doom questions the list, it analyses it in detail looking for problems that aren’t there, it tries to recall whether the taste was actually that good or whether in fact soup is for people who are ill and who are you kidding, you’re just a bit tired.

In case you don’t have that voice (and I am learning that some people don’t or only have a very quiet one) here is an approximation of the conversation that took place inside my already overfull head.

“Tomato and basil soup…there it is”

“95p blimey that’s expensive, and it’s over a week till pay day”

“Oh, how about tomato soup, you’ve got some basil at home, and it’s cheaper”

“But look at that tin, that cheap stuff, do you remember last time you gave that to the kids and it stained the dish orange and you promised not to be a bad mum and fill them with additives?”

“Oooh French onion soup, you do like that don’t you?”

“Well yes you do like it but don’t forget you have a vegetable basket full of onions so you could just go home and make that, it’s just onions and water after all”

“But onions make you cry and you cried all yesterday, for goodness sake!”

“Just choose some soup will you, you’ve been here for hours, someone will say something soon and you’ll be accused of shoplifting, then it will be in the papers and…


To silence the voice and to prevent being ejected from the shop for timewasting (and crying – again) I grabbed some random soups and rushed out as fast as I could. Back in the safety of home I put all the soups in the cupboard and went to bed, exhausted.

Imagine then that same headteacher running a school, dealing with the huge range of questions, decisions and choices that occur on a daily basis. A headteacher who has got to the point where soup is too difficult.  A headteacher who has tried to make their way through this fog without letting anyone else have a clue, and believe me they didn’t know.  In fact the only person who knew was me, and that voice, we knew.


PS. I never ate the soups, I gave them to the foodbank, somehow I just didn’t fancy any of them after all.


This post originally appeared on the author’s blog and is republished here by kind permission.

Image Credit bflck on flickr under a Creative Commons License



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