All over the country this weekend, there’ll be thousands of Mummy’s Special Soldiers and Daddy’s Little Princesses off to university for the first time.
There will be tears and there will be snot, mainly from mums and dads before, during and after they’ve dropped off their precious cargo in a strange city at a halls of residence that looks, sounds and smells like Yarl’s Wood Immigration Removal Centre, as the little cherubs are left to fend for themselves for the first time in their lives.
Dad’s taxi, mum’s cafe, the heaving fridge constantly filled with exotic food and the free laundry service will soon be a distant memory for little Tarquin and Periwinkle as they have to stand on their own two feet for once.
And I’m sure it will come as a culture shock to everyone concerned. Everyone, that is, except us.
The thing is, after we waved off our 19-year-old daughter and her buddy on a three-month backpacking trip around South America in February, where friends they met in a hostel in Colombia were held up at gunpoint in the middle of the afternoon, spending three years at university in Liverpool is her equivalent of popping to the corner shop for a loaf.
She’s got more family there than here in Lancaster, the best bands in the world play there all the time and it’s arguably the best night out in the country.
Earlier this week, daughter #1 received her timetable, and her tutors, the rotters, have scheduled lectures at 9am on Mondays and 4pm on Fridays.
The outrage button got pressed good and proper when the penny dropped that this means there’ll be no long weekends away during term time - that’s 27 whole weeks a year. There’s a smattering of other lectures and seminars throughout the rest of the “working week” but not so many that they couldn’t all be comfortably fitted into one long day at the office - oh, and none on Wednesdays and just the one on Thursdays.
Honestly, the pace is relentless. So relentless that you could comfortably hold down a full-time job and fit your degree into twilight hours sessions a few nights a week.