Every single year that I was living in Australia, as predictable as the changing of the seasons, my Mum would send me a cheerful little text message to say that GMTV were filming in Sydney.
Sitting at her dressing table, putting her Velcro curlers in before breakfast, I imagined her scouring the screen for a glimpse of her absent daughter. Although I lived in Bondi Beach where they usually filmed, I was always at work or in the bar after work, so I would chuckle to myself and forget about it.
Until, that is, I returned to Australia to have my first baby.
One bright afternoon, huffing and puffing with fatigue, I reluctantly pulled on the Baby Bjorn carrier and stuffed two-month old BUB.1 in it for brisk walk on the beach. When I got there, I noticed a small group crowded around a man with a microphone and I sauntered up to get a better look. Lo and behold, who should it be but Ben Shephard, a presenter for GMTV, conducting the annual exploration of opportunities for Brits down under. And yet, no text message from mother? I could only guess that she had given up by now.
Following the group onto the beach, I sent Mum a text message telling her to switch on the TV, and proceeded to make an utter tit of myself while some guy down the front droned on about work visas and heath care.
I’m not a natural TV waver and yet something inside of me clicked. Now that I was a Mum myself, I realised what my own Mum had been feeling when she knew that the TV programme she was watching was broadcasting live from the other side of the world where her daughter was breathing, walking, laughing, living. Clutching my new beloved son to my chest, I suddenly felt her optimism, her excitement and her eagerness to clap eyes on her baby, even for a millisecond.
And fortunately, this time she did clap eyes on her baby and her grandbaby, as did a few of Willy Wonka’s friends who had tuned in. Famous at last, live from Bondi Beach on national television.
I’m just glad I went for an afternoon walk that day.