An eerie calm has descended upon our house.
School’s out, everyone’s getting on, there are no tantrums and there’s a curious stillness about the place.
There’s a reason for this. Daughter #1 has gone on holiday to Spain with her boyfriend so the chief catalyst of mayhem is 1,586.8 miles away in the glorious sunshine while the rest of us dodge the downpours from skies the colour of a rugby team’s bathwater.
Seventeen is a funny age. There’s no point in going to sixth form and then university because kids that age know everything. She’s passed her driving test, has two part-time jobs and has enough of her own money in the bank to run a small country.
Still, that didn’t stop her asking yours truly for a lift to Manchester Airport for a 5.45am flight. Up at 2am, on the road for 2.30am and on a detour around Trafford Park at 3.30am because some nimrod decided it would be a good idea to shut two junctions of the motorway five miles from the airport for roadworks.
Thanks to daughter #1’s map reading skills from her boyfriend’s phone we picked our way through the streets and arrived outside Terminal 1 in plenty of time. They got some breakfast while I drove home, got an hour’s sleep then went to do a day’s work.
We’ve barely heard a peep out of her since she arrived in Spain nearly a week ago. I got a text just before take-off to say there was a screaming kid in the seat behind her (noise-cancelling headphones should be mandatory on aeroplanes, paid for by parents of every under-five on the flight) and that was about it. She messages daughter #2 now and again to tell her she’s been kayaking in the sea, enjoying a water park and generally having the time of her life. In the sunshine. Where her accommodation has its own pool. And she’s got nothing to do and all day to do it.
Of course, now she’s 17 we are far too boring to go on holiday with. A week with us in Cornwall followed by seven nights in Corfu is as appealing as prison.
Still, she’s saved us a fortune in kennel and cattery fees. She’s looking after Walter, Marleyboo and Mr Robbie while we’re away.