Man, what a great place to go

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To be honest, I’ve had worse birthdays.

And when you’re so close to the next ‘big’ one that’s got a 5 in it, that’s about as much as anyone can hope for.

The boss booked a few days away in the Isle of Man for us and daughter #2. We didn’t fancy taking our chances on the ferry - christened the Vomit Comet by locals - on seas that could at best be described as “choppy”, so we flew.

Because, on a good day, you could skim a stone that lands on the beach at Douglas, the flight only takes about 30 minutes, which is just enough time for the drinks trolley to go up and down the plane. We wanted to see a bit of the island on our three-day trip so we hired a car.

The nice lady on the rental desk told us not to fill it to the brim unless we wanted to leave an almost-full tank when we dropped it off, £10 would be plenty.

And we saw it all. In pretty much half a day. We showed daughter #2 the place she was named after and she took about 100 pictures, we visited every town on the island that has more than three streets and a village green in it and drove along the world famous and terrifyingly bendy TT course.

Daughter #2 did well, putting up with two middle-aged gin connoisseurs for two evenings as we sampled some of the finest bars and restaurants in Douglas and didn’t moan once. Well, okay, once. After spending three hours in a sports bar with wall-to-wall giant TVs screening every 5.55pm kick-off in the Europa League, she’d had enough. It’s amazing that we’re happy to drive eight hours to Cornwall on holiday yet we’ve got an island with the bluest sea and the most beautiful beaches right on our doorstep.

SOUTH AMERICA UPDATE: Regular readers will know daughter #1 and her pal are trekking around South America on their ‘gap yah’, much to our horror. Last week they had a 17-hour bus journey from Buenos Aires to Mendoza and, at the time of writing, have made it to Santiago in Chile. And in the pictures they’ve posted on Instagram they look clean(ish), well fed and in one piece. I’ll take that any day of the week.