The Paynes Blog

A blog about our life


Uncle Mike’s message to Toby on his 15th birthday

My brother Mike wrote this to Toby on his 15th birthday…

I hope you have a great birthday and to let you know I am thinking about you especially today. I can’t quite believe that you’re already 15 years old. You easily look that age and you act a lot older too. If I look back at the time I was your age (a long time ago, eh?? ;-)) I was just into my 5th year and would do my GCSEs the following summer. I was at boarding school in Leicestershire and I’d just gone from the shittiest dormitory into a room with 2 of my best mates. Finally we were out of a cold, draughty dormitory with no privacy. I think I enjoyed my 5th year at school. Only another year and I’d be in the 6th form when we were allowed to have a drink a couple of nights a week – and even smoke in our common room! Can you believe that? We now had more girls in our year which also made it more interesting! I actually had a serious girlfriend by now but it probably didn’t do me any good as I could only think about her and I just wasn’t interested in my studies. I did OK academically but not brilliantly (and to think I always used to be in the top 3 in my classes). I sometimes look back at those times and regret that I didn’t go to a better university or do something I really loved (I did a business studies degree like your Dad but I hated it). But once you get to my age you hopefully realise you shouldn’t have regrets: just try and make sensible decisions, listen to advice – but make your own mind up. I love my life now: I’ve had ups and downs – and no doubt I’ll have many more in years to come (but that’s life). When I have regrets I think about what I have today and I try and remember to be grateful.


Anyway, there’s some advice for you… 🙂 People older than you will always try and do that (remember these words when you’re my age doing the same thing – maybe to Robin!).

One other thing: your Dad is just awesome. He’s my big brother and yet he’s one of my best mates. He’s one of the wisest, smartest people I know. He’s also one of the weirdest people I know (but Marie thinks even I’m a bit odd!)! You know, he thinks the world of you and he’s really proud of you (as am I!).

Have a great day, Tobes.

Love you loads,
Uncle Mike x

A little later, Mike sent Toby this email…

Tobes – here are some pics of me when I was about 15. These were all taken in Oman when Grandma and Grandpa used to live there and I would go out and see them during the school holidays. Check out the big hair!! There’s one when I fell off my bike (down a drainage ditch!) and I’m all bandaged up. Check out the old style Pepsi cans too 🙂 Cool.Actually I just checked something – this must have definitely been when I was 15 (around 1986) as I’m wearing some shades which I thought were similar to the ones Stallone wore in a (silly) movie called Cobra which came out in 1986 (we thought any Stallone or Schwarzenegger movies were cool at the time).

Here are the photos he attached…