A serendipitous love story in Birmingham.

Recorded in Naarden, NL.

Sting by James Iball.

Photo: The couple on holiday in France.


[Nadine:] This is 1977, a long time ago. So when I was 16, I went to this youth club and I met this guy, and we started to go out. And we both really liked the same music, both liked soul music. He was a really good dancer and we liked dancing together. We went out with each other for a bit and then, after six months we split up and didn’t see each other again. But I always liked him, and that was sad when we were split up. But that’s how it was.

Anyway, we were both in sixth form, and I did my A-Levels, did really badly. And there was a concert on at school by the Doobie Brothers. And I went to the concert with my friend Stephanie and her brother Chris. And Chris had a car, and we went in his car and we went to the concert, which was in Birmingham Hippodrome. And around Birmingham Hippodrome are all these little streets and a lot of them are one way. And Chris got lost and he accidentally went the wrong way up a one-way street. Fortunately, there wasn’t another car coming down. But in the process, who should be crossing the road with his friend but this guy who I had been out with. And my friend Stephanie and I decided we were going to track him down during the concert, because it was obvious he was going to the same concert as us.

So we went to the Doobie Brothers concert and it was really, really good. I didn’t see him anywhere. And then at the break time, Stephanie and I decided we’d go and look for him. I wasn’t exactly sure what I was going to do when I found him. But we decided we were going to look for him. So we wandered around, didn’t see him and started to walk back to our seat. And all of a sudden, Stephanie just said “we’ve just walked right past him”, and I turned around, and there he was with his friend. So I had to act like I was surprised, like I’d actually bumped into him and didn’t know he was there. “Wow – you know – what are you doing here folks? Are you eating here? What are you doing?” And he proceeded to tell me that he’d done really well in his A-Levels. And he was about to go to Lancaster University. He was going in about three, four weeks time. But, so he said “Oh I was going to ring you to find out how you had got on and what you were doing.” And I didn’t believe him. I’m still not convinced he was actually going to do that. But he said he was. And he still says he was because we started to see each other, and he went off to Lancaster. And we carried on seeing each other.

And then a year later, I got my A-Levels and I went to college, to Bristol. Which is completely the other end of the country. And we carried on seeing each other. We used to go and stay with each other and then we’d both come back to the Midlands, and see each other then. And we wrote letters to each other, and we used to ring each other up. But we didn’t have mobile phones then, so we’d have to arrange at a certain time and go and stand in the public phone and wait for that particular time for that person to ring up. Because in their student accommodation there would be a phone box that you put money in, but attached to the wall. So you’d just stand there and hover and hope that nobody else was on the phone. So it was all a bit hit and miss but we managed. And that was 40 years ago. And we’ve been married for 30 years, celebrated our 30th wedding anniversary last week.

So that’s my story. If we hadn’t gone the wrong way, up the one-way street. I wouldn’t have met him again.

What’s the lesson of the story, Tim?

[Tim]: Strange things happen.

[Nadine: Strange things happen when you least likely expect them, yeah.

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