Don't wish your life away

2nd March 2001 at 00:00
* Grown Up, by Gregor Steele, primary 5:

I live in a bungalow with my wife Elsie, three children Jeanie, Andy and Jimmy and Frisk our dog. Jeanie and Andy are twins and are eight and Jimmy is six.

I am a science teacher at Dalkeith High and Elsie is a teacher too. I travel one mile to my work each day but my children travel one quarter of a mile to school.

We live in Mayfield. Every year we go to Land's End for our summer holidays.

We have a Mercedes-Benz and a caravan too. My hobby is photography. Our children go to bed at eight o'clock.

I often watch Paul Temple on a Sunday night. I am writing a book about spies.

Our family is a happy one and I hope that if my children get married they will be happy too.

that's how I saw my life shaping up three decades ago. I based a lot of it on my father, who watched Paul Temple on a Sunday night and was writing a book about spies. We'd just bought a caravan in Dalkeith or Mayfield, so these places seemed suitably exotic locations for a future career.

I'm sure I picked Elsie as a name for my wife-to-be solely because there was no one in my primary class of that name whm I could be accused of fancying.

The reality is a wife not called Elsie, two children and nae dug. I got the science teacher bit right, though I'm sure that I saw myself as heading up a department, not that I knew what an APT was in those days.

I travel 17 miles to work each day and we live in Carluke. We have a Skoda and a Reliant instead of a Merc and have yet to go on holiday to Land's End.

Am I disappointed in the way it all turned out? Merc-less, mutless and only able to fertilise one egg at a time? Not a bit.

It was brought home to me in the school car park a week or so ago. There had been a fall of snow, much of which had been conscientiously cleared away by the jannies. The faithful Favorit made light work of what was left, but a colleague was in wheel-spinning trouble.

The car pool guys helped her out, pausing to admire the German engineering and the three-pointed badge of her motor.

Yes, the tractionless Teuton was a Mercedes-Benz. If I had one now, I'd sell it and buy another Skoda.

Sometimes, what you get is better than what you wish for.

Gregor Steele asks: Paul Temple . . . who he?

Log-in as an existing print or digital subscriber

Forgotten your subscriber ID?


To access this content and the full TES archive, subscribe now.

View subscriber offers


Get TES online and delivered to your door – for less than the price of a coffee

Save 33% off the cover price with this great subscription offer. Every copy delivered to your door by first-class post, plus full access to TES online and the TES app for just £1.90 per week.
Subscribers also enjoy a range of fantastic offers and benefits worth over £270:

  • Discounts off TES Institute courses
  • Access over 200,000 articles in the TES online archive
  • Free Tastecard membership worth £79.99
  • Discounts with Zipcar,, Virgin Wines and other partners
Order your low-cost subscription today