Today, daughter No.1 and three friends set off to travel around Europe on trains and stay in hostels for three weeks.
They’re going to Amsterdam, Berlin, Prague, Krakow, Vienna, Budapest, Ljubljana and Split. As a parent, if that doesn’t make your blood curdle then I have my doubts as to whether you’re actually human.
So why let them go? I hear you ask. Try stopping them. They’re all adults (just) and daughter No.1 has paid for the trip and all her spends out of her own pocket.
Here are just three reasons why our hearts are in our mouths.
1. The boss went interrailing with her friends back in the day (she can’t remember exactly but thinks it was either 1989 or 1990), and while sitting outside Venice railway station one afternoon a middle-aged man sidled up to her and exposed himself in all his (ahem) glory.
2. On the same trip they were invited onto a ship for “a few drinks” by a bunch of Lebanese sailors, which sounds like the first 10 minutes of the grizzliest horror movie you’ve ever seen. Thankfully they had the sense to run a mile.
3. Of course, after a week or so their wildly optimistic budget ran out and they spent nights sleeping on station platforms and eating stale bread.
Back then mobile phones were a luxury. If you were swanning round the Continent for weeks on end, then as far as your parents were concerned you might as well have been on the moon.
You got a postcard if you were lucky and a teary, panicky phone call from somewhere you’ve never heard of if you weren’t.
Now phones aren’t a luxury, we’ll probably see more of daughter No.1 on social media than we do now she’s finished her A-levels as she (clears throat) treats this place like a hotel and bar.
So for the next three weeks yours truly will be driving to work, that’s halfway between Lancaster and Manchester Airport, with his passport in his back pocket just in case.