Who’s the Daddy? column

Daughter #1 is set to go on a school exchange trip to Spain.
Daughter #1 is set to go on a school exchange trip to Spain.

The first leg of Daughter #1’s European Winter Tour 2014-15 began just before dawn on Tuesday morning.

A gaggle of girls boarded a coach to the airport with the absolute minimum of fuss to their flight to (fingers crossed) sunny Spain for a school exchange trip.

There were a few pre-gig nerves which is only to be expected – because if there’s a disaster, such as the plane’s drinks trolley isn’t stocked with the right kind of J2O, then me and the boss won’t be there for her to moan at.

Having said that, there can be no greater buzz than going abroad with your teenage mates for the first time with no mum or dad to tell you what to do.

When they get to Spain there’s another coach ride, then they meet their host family and spend a week with them.

Thanks to the wonders of the internet daughter #1, who celebrated her 15th birthday on Monday, has been chatting to her new amigo online in the run-up to her departure and it turns out they have more in common than you might think.

For instance, they look so alike they could be twins – fathered by me.

Just for the avoidance of doubt, not only did I not go on holiday to Spain in the late 1990s I only left the UK once around that time to go on honeymoon to the Dominican Republic with my wife who I am still married to.

But our house is eerily quiet in daughter #1’s absence.

Despite writing a column every week for the past eight years that’s ostensibly about parenting, what I know that’s worth knowing about raising kids can be summed up in a single 140-character tweet – and even I find it a doddle with just the one child to look after.

Anyway, once daughter #1 arrives back in England there’s the little matter of the return leg in early January when we get to show a Spanish kid the wonders of England in the post-New Year gloom (United v Southampton at Old Trafford looks a good bet) before she’s off on her travels again in February, this time skiing in Italy.

Oh yeah, and in the middle of all that there’s Christmas.

Tough life, eh?