From nursery to an empty nest in the blink of an eye

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Our daughters aren’t ready to fly the nest just yet, but they’re standing on the edge while giving their wings a good old flap.

In the last week daughter #1 has been to an open day at Newcastle University while daughter #2 spent the day at the Liverpool Institute for Performing Arts – that’s LIPA to me and you.

They know what they want and they know how to get it. Now it’s just a case of getting in.

As daughter #1 and I walked to a very impressive lecture theatre at Newcastle University last Friday for a detailed talk by the head of the School of Modern Languages, it didn’t seem like five minutes ago when she used to cling to my legs in tears every morning for the first two terms as she lined up in the playground for Reception Class.

Honestly, blink and there goes 13 years.

As for the university itself, she loved it and if she gets the A-level grades she needs (ABB, no pressure then) that’s where she wants to go.

She fell in love with the place at first sight, to such an extent that she picked out the student halls where she wants to live after we had a grand tour of everything they had to offer.

As for the cost, daughter #1 is going into this with her eyes wide open.

Tuition fees of more than £9,000 a year, rent of around £5,000 a year plus living costs and, over a four-year course (including a year spent abroad), you’re looking at a debt of around £50,000 after graduation.

That’s more than our mortgage was in 1997 when we bought our house and to load kids with that level of debt is immoral.

And we’ve got all this to come times two as daughter #2 wants to be an actress.

She doesn’t take her GCSEs for 12 months but has decided already A-levels are not for her and wants to do a two-year course in performing arts (equivalent to three A-levels) with a view to studying for a degree in acting at LIPA.

Last time I looked, our daughters were happy spending an hour painting the garage door with a bucket of water.

Before we know it there’ll be me, the boss, the dog and two cats rattling around a big old house.