From Dominican Republic to ... Stockport

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As a teenager it is fair to say that I was to women what Bernard Manning was to race relations.

While the phrase unlucky in love could have easily been applied to me, the young ladies who would, quite literally, bolt across the other side of the road when they saw my figure zoom into view can count themselves very lucky indeed.

The 17-year-old me was a stranger to charm and if I saw an opening, so to speak, then a very clumsy play would be made (no hands I hasten to add, m’lud). More often than not my approach, which involved a very nervous teenager sporting wispy sideburns and a dubious ear stud, making stuttering attempts at very small talk, was dismissed with a withering look. If I was lucky. The problem was that I possessed all the allure of a flatulent walrus, which I am sure isn’t a million miles away from the case today.

When I was fortunate enough to go on a ‘date’ I could usually stretch to the latest offering from Michael J Fox at the local flea pit cinema or a cone of chips from a less-than-salubrious, long since closed, hell hole called Uncle Sam’s. Classy I wasn’t.

And one thing that would never have occurred to me was to leg it to the Caribbean with my girlfriend. I did leave home once but I only got as far as Stockport and, even then, I spent the week kipping on floors.

Which is why the story of teenage Lancashire runaways Indira Gainiyeva, 17, and Edward Bunyan, 16, is so remarkable. Like many, I was more than a tiny bit envious of the youngsters when they did a midnight flit from Stonyhurst College to Dominican Republic because they were fed up of the wet Lancashire weather.

While there was obvious concern from some quarters for their welfare, it was pretty clear this pair would not come to much harm, once it emerged they were armed with credit cards, which presumably, their parents take care of.

But even if I had access to an American Express Black Card, a sunshine holiday would not have been on my radar.

I would probably have bought a pair of trainers and a Luton van full of strong lager instead.

Of course the lovestruck pair have been since been rumbled, kicked out of Stonyhurst and now face the greatest of indignities – being made to live in Sheffield.

Apparently their parents believe it is for the best they remain together while they continue their studies, presumably because they know that, if they were kept apart, the pair would be off again quicker than you can say Fortnum and Mason.

For their sakes, it is hoped they can put the notoriety they have acquired behind them and live a normal(ish) life again.