You are going to read a magazine article about escaping the stresses of modern life. Seven sentences have been removed from the article. Choose from the sentences A – H the one which fits each gap 16 – 21. There is one extra sentence which you do not need to use. There is an example at the beginning (0).
A I’ve leapt off what felt like an out-of-control express train three times in my life.
B It’s obvious that you have been made redundant.
C One of those jobs that elicits the comment, ‘She’s so successful’.
D So I moved to Nice to the smallest, cheapest hotel I could find in the Avenue Gambetta.
E It was far away from memories of Harry and racing around London achieving things that suddenly didn’t seem important.
F Some of the brightest and best people have been fired or made redundant.
G You say, ‘One day I’m going to .. .’ but you can’t envisage that day.
H But because he insisted I could do anything and he was always there to catch me if I fell, I did it.
GETTING OFF THE FAST TRACK
You have a very pressurised, fast moving and high-flying job.
Okay, so you’re often exhausted and you talk to friends, when you see them, about how little time you have to yourself and how you don’t even have a moment to sort out the dry-cleaning. 16: _____ By Friday night you’re failing asleep on the sofa at 8.30 even though you promised yourself you’d go and do a work-out. Okay, some days and evenings are pretty damned good but mostly life is something that nibbles around the edges of work. Sooner or later, and often after a holiday, you’re thinking: There’s got to be something better than this.
Nowhere is it written that you have to stay on the fast track for ever. Getting off it for a while or for good is often the best thing you’ll ever do. 17: _____And I’ve got friends who’ve done or were forced to do the same.
Listen – sometimes it’s easier if someone else makes the decision for you. And in these days of downsizing, it’s not personal. 18: _____
Yes, I know if there are bills there’s an intake of breath, and maybe you will find yourself staring at the bedroom walls at five in the morning feeling like the figure in Munch’s The Scream as you wonder how you’re going to cope. In my case, the awful doubts come much later – after the exhilaration and the thrill of freedom.
In my 20s I sold advertising space. Harry, my boss, was full of encouragement and the kind of enthusiasm that made me want to jump through hoops for him. In the early days, while he was still training me ‘to be the best’, I’d say, ‘Harry, I can’t do that. I just can’t do it’. 19: _____ By the time he got leukaemia and left the office and me running it, I was very good at selling. But without him, the office that had sparkled was – just an office. I spoke to his wife one wretched Wednesday morning. Harry was dying. The sky turned black. A copy of The Times lay folded on the office table and I picked it up and tried to read through tears. I remember the ad in the personal column: secretary for Cote d’Azur. French speaker. Car driver.
Two weeks later I was living in Eze, a few kilometres from Nice. 20: _______ And I surrendered to the beauty of spring in the South of France, the smell of mimosa, winding roads, tall pine trees and a social job in a chateau. The job lasted three months. But I couldn’t face London. Not just then. 21: _______ I fell in love with France and a man, learned to speak fluent French and didn’t read an English newspaper for six months.