All Hail the Barnsley Nightingale

I had an epiphany this morning. I love a good epiphany, don’t you? Maybe it’s the way the chocolate melts on your tongue when… no, hang on, that’s Divine bars. Wrong thing.

Standing at the sink, peeling spuds and peering out at the rain lashed garden, I caught a lyric in a song playing on my CD player. I’ve heard the song numerous times, have the album set on continuous whenever I’m in the kitchen, so often, in fact, that the family groan and I’ve worn out one of the tracks. My favourite track, that is, not the one that induced the epiphany. No, until this point, that particular song was nothing more than pleasant but incidental background music to whatever kitchen-based chore I happened to be doing at the time.

Until this morning, that is. Like a mayday message cutting through static, I heard sweet words, insistent and clear –

“I can see the planets are aligning for me.”

Heard the words, really heard them, for the first time. Tuned in to them instantly.

“On nights like these, I could fly up to the sky above me, like Superman, I would change the course of Earth below me”


“These are the days I live now.”

Many songs have been my soundtrack in recent times, telling me to let go, forgive myself and not worry, be strong and proud and face down the devil.  I’ve just kept swimming, as Dorrie the fish would say, head down, one breath at a time, and sung along and laughed at the absurdity of it all and, sometimes, cried in the car or the kitchen or the shower. A month or so ago, when a sickness day saw me immobilised in front of the television, Series One of Jam and Jerusalem on Catchup introduced me to Kate Rusby, and since then the songs have been almost entirely hers. And her nightingale’s voice has added a beautifully melancholic lilt to my soundtrack.

Until today, when a more hopeful message wheedled in, resonating with my recent thoughts. Because, you know, my life is pretty damn wonderful. New and exciting things are happening and right now, I’ve no idea where they will take me. But that’s ok, I’ve no need to worry. I’m strong enough to cope, wherever I go.

It’s chucking down with rain, my expanding to do list should be making me lose sleep and my old man’s grumbling loudly about the international ironing mountain in the dining room. But life’s good. I may feel old, old, old, but I still have a future. The planets are aligning for me and these are the days I live now.

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