Going for gold as a grown up

Role model Jessica Ennis... who has 'fallen down the rankings' of late
Role model Jessica Ennis... who has 'fallen down the rankings' of late
Have your say

This time last year my granddaughter, then seven, was still all fired up with London 2012.

She had watched hours of events and could name so many of our British heroes.

Her ambition, she told anyone who asked, was to become an Olympian herself.

Recently, while we were out celebrating her mum’s 29th birthday with an early evening meal in a Blackpool hostelry, the talk got around to the subject of growing up and the importance of education.

And our granddaughter was again asked by my wife what she was interested in doing when she was older.

“Have you got that little pad in your handbag?” she asked, “it is better if I write them all down because there are a few things I would like to do, and it is hard to decide.”

And so, between courses, she duly jotted down her list and I had to smile when I spotted that Olympian is now down to number eight in this year’s chart, having been such a surefire winner last year.

The role of teacher tops the list, perhaps not surprisingly as - for now, at least - she really thrives on school. So much so that while she waited for her pudding to arrive she asked us to give her words to spell and also managed to fit in her entire nine times table, our questions fired at random, not by rote.

But back to her list. Teacher was followed by nursery teacher, then nurse and, still with hospitals, midwife.

At number five was pub owner (we were enjoying a tasty meal, after all) and then hotel owner.

Number seven is a personal favourite - a lifeguard at the pool at Port Orleans Riverside Resort in Disney World, Florida, where we all spent a memorable family holiday to mark another birthday - my 60th - in the summer.

The list ended with the word “always” written in a circle where the number nine should have been. It highlighted her final choice as “mum”, complete with a happy drawing alongside.

I quietly pocketed the piece of paper and, while showing the neatly-handwritten list to a colleague, I was told about a friend’s daughter, now an adult herself.

She had been asked as a youngster at an extended family gathering around the dining table, what she would like to be when she grew up.

Smiles turned to looks of horror and eyes quickly focused on the place settings, as she replied in a matter of fact manner: “A prostitute.”

Now I seriously doubt that that would ever be accepted as an Olympic sport, do you?