Up, up and away

Victoria Hawkins: She's gone and I miss her. In fact, as I write this, it's her birthday and I can't even talk to her because by the time I get home and could ring her (she didn't pick up when I tried this morning) she'll be tucked up in bed in a bungalow on a beach in Thailand because in present DD-world-time, she's living seven hours ahead.

Victoria Hawkins

SHE'S gone and I miss her. In fact, as I write this, it's her birthday and I can't even talk to her because by the time I get home and could ring her (she didn't pick up when I tried this morning) she'll be tucked up in bed in a bungalow on a beach in Thailand because in present DD-world-time, she's living seven hours ahead.

The Dreaded Daughter is finally off and away on her solo (eek) global travels. The departure was as bad as it could be too because by the time she went, the about-to-be intrepid world traveller lost the plot and didn't want to go at all. So it was a very fraught last day filling in the hours before take-off. Not having been able to get a hotel reservation confirmed at her destination hadn't helped either.

Nor did it help me much that 24 hours before we headed Heathrow-wards I'd read Nick Richards' copy (see Travel pages 22 and 23) where he almost didn't even make the first leg of his round the world trip. He'd set off on a Singapore Airlines' Saturday night plane to Singapore, flight number SQ321, which naturally was the very same one she was taking.

Heathrow airport, terminal 3 on a Saturday night is like a disturbed human anthill with added traffic. We queued from the M3, queued through the tunnel, queued for the car park and queued for check in; we even queued for 30 minutes to get out of the car park later on. There were tears, rivers of them, and protestations, more tears and when we finally insisted on pushing her through the departures gate, she never looked back.

Things weren't much better when she touched down in Singapore for the connecting flight to Thailand. She still wasn't happy. Nor was she any better on the bus going into Bangkok at her next midnight. Not good for the mummy person back home. Then it turns out that quite by chance between the bus stop and her hotel she ran into a bloke on Khoasan Road who she'd met at a party in Suffolk on New Year's Eve. So this time, she couldn't talk just now, she was just off for a beer with him...

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