Next week my amazingly gorgeous C will be 18. I cannot believe that she will be 18 and all grown up and it got me thinking about when I was 18.
I was fresh out of college having skipped A Levels and done a two year NNEB course to train as a nanny. It was the summer of 1987. “Bad” was a week away from being released and “I just can’t stop loving you” was Number 1. We had also been singing along to “Star Trekkin”, “Jack your body”, “The Lambada” and “Its a sin”. MTV Europe had just launched and we see the video for “Money for Nothing”.
Nobody has a computer at home and mobile phones are in their infancy and nobody has one.
I had the whole world at my feet and started looking for a job. THE only place to look for a nannying job back then was in The Lady magazine. I bought it from Easter onwards and applied for all those I liked the sound of. The one I wanted was for a 42 year old man whose wife had died. He had two children. My mum suggested he might end up “trying it on with me” and talked me out of it.
Funnily enough I found the copy of The Lady magazine where I did find my first job in a drawer recently. I don’t know why I kept it as it has followed me around the world but it makes me smile when I read it. And feel really really old.
All the contact details for employers are home phone numbers. No email. No websites on the agency adverts. No 0207 or 0208, just 01 for London.
My first nannying job at 18 was for a family where he was a company Finance Director and she was a GP in a sleepy Essex village and it came with a car, a small annex of their house and the princely sum of £45 a week.
Nannies these days don’t get out of bed for less than £45 grand, do they?
My feeling ancient was reinforced last week when we heard that the Camerons interviewed their new nanny on Skype as she lives in Australia. Skype? I had to drive for two hours to that interview. I sat in the garden and had lunch with the family drinking home made lemonade (my hayfever making my eyes stream and trying desperately to play it down).
Job interviews on Skype? I felt myself saying “what is the world coming to” like our grandparents do.
And as I was at my desk
reading Twitter working on Friday the editor of the Lady (@mattawarren) tweeted to his followers: “send us a pic of you with this week’s Lady magazine and you could win a cake”.
So I did:
I photographed that pic of the skin on the back of my Playbook covering up Elizabeth Taylor (who was “between husbands” in 1987) using my BlackBerry and then Tweeted it to the Editor. Who promptly replied that I had won the cake. And not a notional cake. But a real cake from Betty’s tearoom in Harrogate. A cake that has presumably been ordered by email and will be delivered by courier
And then it hit me. I am not getting old.
I am old. That magazine in 1987 was 43p and now it is £2.
That is about right.
I am 43 but I feel 200.