Nothing Compares 2U

Summertime hits Britain.

Bliss.

Sunshine can make us happy.

But there’s always something nostalgic for me on a British summer’s day.

Today I was driving to Exeter (with A/C on!) and Zoe Ball played Sinead O’Connor’s version of Nothing Compares 2U. I was back in London, our first summer there. I was twenty-one, graduated and married, trying to live like a grown-up, in a flat in south east London, doing my first full-time job, commuting to town, to sit all day being bored by bureaucracy and being patronised by an older man with body odour.

I knew by the end of my first morning that I did not want to spend my days in an office. There weren’t even computers to distract me. No mobile phones to text get-me-out-of-here messages.

Just clock-watching.

And tedium.

Only relieved by window-shopping in Selfridges around the corner and gossip with two friends who felt the same way. Waiting for Friday night to come round.

Wondering if this was it?

(It wasn’t. I stuck out the year and then went on to do a PGCE in Primary. Never a dull moment working with the kids of Camberwell and Plumstead. Stress, yes. But never boredom.)

This beautiful break-up song reminds me of getting up early to catch a packed train at Hither Green, taking me into a city I didn’t want to live in, far away from the seaside, from my hometown of Teignmouth. It makes me happy I escaped that life. That I am now in my forties and know a lot more.

I also know that there is much ahead of me I can never even guess at. That life changes. You go along in a certain way for a while, you think maybe forever, but then life takes you off in another direction. I am now doing a job that I love, writing novels. I am on my own a lot but never clock-watch. Time rushes past and I have to try my best to catch up with it.

I don’t want to waste another day.

(Though I do love a bit of nostalgia – it makes you appreciate what you had and gives you hope for the future. More songs to follow.)

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