Who’s the Daddy? column

Albert Dock, Liverpool.
Albert Dock, Liverpool.

To steal a line from Breaking Bad’s Walter White - once upon a time not too long ago, I was the one who knocked.

Usually at 4am when, in an advanced state of refreshment, I’d misplaced my key and hammered on the front door to be let in.

Those days are gone. Now it’s us who wait for the knock, or the phone call, or the text from daughter #1 because she’s had enough fun for one evening and wants a lift home.

We’re currently entertaining a Spanish exchange student at Who’s The Daddy Towers and our 15-year-old daughter’s itinerary of fun and frolics for the group’s week in England reads like One Direction’s tour schedule.

The thing is, because our weather in January feels post-apocalyptical to Spanish teenagers who have been raised in glorious sunshine, we feel it is our duty to keep them entertained AT ALL TIMES in an ultimately futile attempt to distract them from the rain, hail, sleet, howling wind and eternal darkness.

No word of a lie, these Spanish kids live where we go on holiday. To them, arriving in Lancaster in winter is like an advanced landing party in a sci-fi movie touching down on a hostile alien world.

Daughter #1 organised a coach trip to Liverpool for their first day in the country. In a move that would draw a nod of approval from Alan Sugar, she booked the bus, collected the £10 fares from everyone and turned a healthy profit – which the hosts spent later that week on taking the Spanish kids bowling.

Of all the things she has done in her life, the initiative she showed filled me with the most pride. Well, it was either a coach trip with a designated pick-up and drop-off point or 37 teenagers changing trains at Preston with one or two wandering off and ending up in Glasgow or London.

Our guest’s English is about 50 times better than our Spanish and apart from breakfast done at a gallop we hardly see him.

But while our teenagers’ lives seem exhausting to us, at 15 they are the Duracell Bunnies whereas their parents are dim energy-saving light bulbs that work, but only just.