J K and latte interrupted, by 'La Bamba'

9th February 2007 at 00:00
Today was going to be my J K Rowling day. Mrs Steele was at Seamill Hydro with her pals so I could consider myself a single parent, albeit a temporary one. I decided I would go to a cafe and write.

By default, this would have to be in Livingston as I was charged with transporting my daughter there so she could watch her team get beaten by Hamilton Accies. Her younger brother had been invited to go ice-skating in East Kilbride with some school friends.

Before going into J K mode, I opted for an obligatory browse through one of the car magazines in WH Smith, followed by a squint at some CDs. As if psychically stimulated by this thought, my mobile phone (its ring tone inexplicably set to "La Bamba") went off. It was my wife asking me to buy a recording of Sarah McLachlan singing "Angels". I faffed about with text messages, then bought the disc.

Somewhere close by, there was a latte with my name on it. I would sip it as I wrote an article on my pocket PC. Passers-by would glance curiously. A smile would play on my lips as I wrote a piece of self-effacing whimsy linking my initial dismissal of the Harry Potter series as "hyped" to my initial scepticism of certain new teaching methods. "Of course, when I actually took the trouble to read The Philosopher's Stone, I was hooked from page one... "

I never got those glances or that latte.

"La Bamba" went off again. "Hi, Dad. I've forgotten my key, so I'm going to beeep... " This was not some Ozzy Osborne-style censorship kicking in. It was the sound of my mobile's battery dying. Fortunately, there was enough juice left to view my son's number in my phone's directory. Unfortunately, it was pretty hard for presbyopic me to hold it far enough away to read it while simultaneously operating a payphone. When I did manage to dial, I got his answering service.

Too hassled to use what little time remained to write, I made my way back to the car, a new denouement forming in my mind. This was along the lines that if you are going to try out something new, you need time to do it, no interruptions and a chance to reflect on what you've done over a large latte.

Gregor Steele developed a taste for latte during the rock 'n' roll years of his secondment

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, Buyagift.com, Virgin Wines and other partners
Order your low-cost subscription today