When I was a child - and like every child - I wanted many things. Instead of eagerly awaiting the letter summoning me to Hogwarts for a career in witchcraft and wizardry, my greatest desire in life was to go to Malory Towers and have midnight feasts with the girls at St Clares.
I wanted to be a Princess, but not a Frozen one, I wanted to be Princess Diana. My dreams were fuelled from my bookworm tendencies rather than access to 7,000 TV channels and a smartphone. But while I talked about becoming a doctor, an astronaut and an Olympic gold medal-winning swimmer I read, I wrote, I broadcast from the back seat of the car (sorry, siblings) and it was always pretty clear my road ahead lay in the media.
However, as I unwittingly prepared the ground for my future career, and even as I relinquished my desire to marry a Prince (none available in my age category frustratingly), I held close to my heart my closest desire - to run away to the circus.
This fantasy, partly fuelled by too much reading, a desire for freedom and as a young gymnast, a fascination with the high flying acrobats, never quite left me. Reality, I’m sure, is quite different but the circus held - holds - a romance for me. The performers create magic from very little, it is precarious, and really can go wrong. This week my dream came true when I was invited to try out my skills at the Blackpool Tower Circus.
I use the word skills advisedly - I never was a juggler. And a part of me was disappointed they wouldn’t let me twirl high above the ring. But the child in me yearned to be part if that life with the sad-happy clown, the made-up baddie and the international acrobats.
Children these days have completely different dreams. But as I watched my small niece spin a plate and juggle a ball, I could see their faces light up and the magic reflected there. But their dreams fly higher. And I think my future remains in the media (circus).