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Since I was a teenager I've had three wishes... this week one of them finally came true

By Kelly McLean

I'd be the first to admit my life goals are neither sensible nor normal for a woman in her 40s but then, they never have been. As a young teenager, I was lucky to have had a tight band of female friends who, at that stage, all seemed to have very similar ambitions in life - go to university, meet a wonderful man and have the most amazing wedding day.

At sleepovers I always joined in the excited, chocolate-fuelled conversations about what it would be like when we were living our dream lives but, in the back of my head, I always felt a bit of a fraud.

You see, I also had my own wishes that were, shall we say, a little more 'unique' - 1) never get married, 2) drive a tank over a car and 3) turn on the Christmas lights in my hometown. See what I mean about not normal?

My first ambition had less to do with flying in the face of tradition than it had to do with the fact I didn't want to wear a dress.

Dresses were horrible, restrictive things that you had to put on for church or to go to school in, and I couldn't for the life of me understand why you'd pay hundreds of pounds to be stuck in a big, white meringue for a day.

When I did finally say 'yes' and walk down the aisle many moons later, the child in me won out and this blushing bride was bedecked in a trouser suit.

As for my next ambition, well, for this I lay the blame for this strange desire firmly at the feet of the Game For A Laugh producers.

It was one of the biggest TV hits in the Eighties and a highlight of the week for us. We'd all gather round the TV to see what crazy practical jokes Jeremy Beadle and his team had up their sleeve for unsuspecting members of the public.

Certain pranks seemed to crop up regularly (remember their obsession with swapping a cabbage in a box for swimmer Duncan Goodhew's head?) but none as often as the supposedly runaway tank, rolling over what some poor, unsuspecting soul thought was his car.

I still feel envious just thinking about that lucky tank driver, getting to crush a car into smithereens every week.

When I turned 40 a few years ago and my hubby asked me what I really, really wanted to mark such a big birthday, I asked him to arrange the loan of a tank and find a car for me to drive over. He thought I was joking.

And my last ambition? I was four or five the first time I can remember being wrapped up in a woollen hat and mittens, swamped in my sister's hand-me-down duffle coat and taking a walk down the street with my family to see the Christmas lights being switched on.

This was the late Seventies and the Christmas decorations were much more scaled back than today. A string or two of coloured lights and some mismatched tinsel was viewed as really pushing the boat out.

Still, it's the magic of Santa arriving that I remember, as he pressed a big red button and brought the tree and the street lights to life.

That year and for many afterwards I asked in my letter to the big man to please, please let me be the one to flick the switch and light up the town. This week, my wish came true. I can't even begin to put down in words how thrilled I was to be asked. It had taken Santa four decades to come through with my Christmas wish but I'm happy to say when he did, it was every bit as good as I had imagined.

The Christmas carols ringing in my ears, the big countdown, that moment of expectation, pushing on the button and then ... wow! The night sky, lit up and festive with all those twinkling lights.

It just goes to show, it pays to be on the Good List and I know what I'm going to ask for this year. I'm just not sure how Santa is going to fit a tank under the tree ...

The Kerry McLean Afternoon Show is on Monday to Thursday, BBC Radio Ulster, 3-5pm

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