/Some people,/ said Claire, don’t want a career and a job that pays lots of money. Stroked Sushi and wondered at the strangeness of this crazy minority. Caro roots about in her bag; ‘Do you want a laugh?’ Hands me her payslip, and I boggle at the zeros. ‘Monthly’, she reminds me, and suddenly I’m not feeling quite so guilty about her paying for my two train tickets up to Leeds. The thing is, continues Claire, you have to take responsibility at some point, and grow up - you have to stop messing around and get your life-plan sorted out. ’I’m working at the bookshop!’ Emma tells me and I squeal with delight. ’Just on Tuesday afternoons - I think I need to start of slow, you know? But everyone’s so lovely! People who work in charity shops are the coolest!... And I’m thinking of going to college and doing sign language and jewellry making!’ (This is where we come up with The Plan. The Plan involves us both getting very old and hopelessly eccentric, living with each other and an unhealthy amonut of cats in Avebury and selling jewelry, touring the music, gay and pagan festivals in the summer. A batty pair of old gay hippies) I mean, I’m pregnant now, so I have responsibilities there, and there’s this house and garden, which are lovely, and as you grow up you need to take these things into account ’So what I’m going to do’, says Caro over our customary bottle of wine in Retro (we’ve stepped back a year now, do keep up), ‘is this...’, and she goes on to detail a plan involving an exhausting amount of moving, mortgaging, leasing, career-climbing and saving. ’And then I’m going to pack the whole thing in and move to Africa on a VSO program to help out over there’ I laugh, and realise how glad I am that there are people like Caro in the world, to do all the organisation so I don’t have to. Because you did drift for a bit, but now you’ve got back on your feet again and are doing this degree, and you need to keep an eye out for the doors it will open for you, career-wise, and it’s a very good thing to know where you want to end up. * I have been indulging in sunlight. Last weekend, up at Caro’s when we sat around the bonfire all night (the play of orange light of people’s faces is mesmerizing), watched the sun rise over Leeds and the blossoming clouds with pink tracery, listened to the first birdsong of the day. Yesterday evening, waiting at the station; the world was heavy and warm, light stretching lazily over the twilight sky, knowing it had nowhere it needed to rush off to. Summer sings with all its heart and it makes me want to dance, so I do and ignore the looks of strangers. The roses on Albert Embankment are out, and their petals feel like velvet, or satin, or long sloppy kisses. I bounced up to them today on my lunchbreak and said hi. I’m glad I live in a world with roses in, so I watched them for a while and took a few breaths. I forget how gorgeous roses smell. * There’s only one place we know we’re going to end up.