In My Own Time

Tanya White, English teacher at Ross High in Tranent, East Lothian


Thinking about what I do in my own time makes me remember when I used to have time to myself. These days my most-viewed TV programme is Peppa Pig or Thomas the Tank Engine. Even then, it seems to be the same episodes over and over again, but this is part and parcel of being mum to two young boys. I'd love to say that I watch serious television programmes and documentaries on BBC4 and other such channels, but, for sheer escapism, I am a committed follower of events in Coronation Street and even keep up to date with The X Factor. At the end of a long day, and once the boys are in bed, there is no energy left for anything else.


Despite being an English teacher, my favourite film is not remotely literary: it is Steven Spielberg's Saving Private Ryan. Not the most romantic film for a first date, but my husband and I have been together ever since. I am not a fan of adaptations of books as they are rarely faithful to the original. However, I enjoyed the film versions of Trainspotting and Baz Luhrmann's Romeo + Juliet, and would even say that Atonement was better than Iain McEwan's original novel.


Reading is another matter. I have always loved the classics; Charles Dickens and Thomas Hardy in particular. I enjoy works by Scottish writers such as Neil Gunn, Robin Jenkins and Norman MacCaig. I am currently reading the novel Girl in Translation, by Jean Kwok, about a girl and her mother who move from Hong Kong to New York without a word of English; things don't live up to their expectations. I've also just finished reading Times columnist Caitlin Moran's How To Be a Woman. I'm sorry that I missed her at the Edinburgh Book Festival this year.

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