Dream big

Have known since was 8 that was never ever going to be Darcey Bussell type (nor did Darcey Bussell, given that this was 1978 and do not think she was born yet, but you get drift). Was not through some epiphany of self-awareness. Was through no-nonsense words of mother i.e. “you dance like elephant, Joanna”. Was dream-shattering moment (despite fact that at that point actually wanted to be Velvet Brown and win Grand National dressed as boy). So have been v careful not to shatter dreams of Millie, who has changed her mind from original plan of being either a) astronaut or b) Vanessa Hudgens, and decided she wants to be Olympic swimmer: Millie: mummy what are those people doing Me (glancing up from Grazia long enough to focus on telly): um. Is Olympics. Millie: What is Olympics. Me: Is test of who is best at what sport. Like sports day. But without hula-hoops, beanbags on head or carrying water in hole-ridden buckets. Millie: What is my Olympic. Me: Um… swimming? Millie: Will I be allowed to wear my goggles. I cannot swim underwater without goggles. Me: Yes Millie: And a snorkel? Me: Er… no. They don’t need one. They just come up for air. Millie: No they don’t. Me: Yes they do. Millie: No they don’t. Me: This is like mouse egg conversation all over again. Yes you can wear snorkel. Which will explain, is because Millie panicked that cat would eat Hama bead mistaking it for mouse egg. Said mice do not come from eggs. Millie said do mice come from sea? Said no do not. Millie said come from eggs then. I said no do not. Millie said yes do etc etc until sex education conversation had to be resurrected for about tenth time in as many months. Which is why am not going to tell truth i.e. that potential as Olympian only really possible if Junior Scrabble becomes official sport, and they allow cheating. Because somehow, no matter what subject is, I will have to end up explaining YET AGAIN that Millie, like mice, did not hatch self out of giant egg. Which frankly, is kind of nice thought. Like being Rebecca Adlington. Or Darcey Bussell.

About Joanna Nadin

A former broadcast journalist and special adviser to the prime minister, since leaving politics I’ve written more than 70 books, as well as speeches for politicians, and articles for newspapers and magazines like Red and The Amorist. I also lecture in Creative Writing at Bath Spa University, and hold a doctorate in young adult literature. I’m a winner of the Fantastic Book Award and the Surrey Book Award, and have been shortlisted for the Roald Dahl Funny Prize, the Booktrust Best Book award and Queen of Teen among others, and nominated for the Carnegie Medal for Joe All Alone, which is currently being adapted for television. I also work with Sir Chris Hoy on the Flying Fergus series. I like London, New York, Essex, tea, cake, Marmite, mint imperials, prom dresses, pubs, that bit in the West Wing where Donna tells Josh she wouldn’t stop for a red light if he was in an accident, junk shops, crisps, Cornwall, St Custard’s, Portuguese custard tarts, political geeks, pin-up swimsuits, the Regency, high heels, horses, old songs, my Grandma’s fur coat, vinyl, liner notes, the smell of old books, the feel of a velveteen monkey, Guinness, quiffs, putting my hand in a bin of chicken feed, the 1950s, burlesque, automata, fiddles, flaneuring, gigs in fields on warm summer nights, Bath, the bath.
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