My middle daughter, Bliss, in her early 20s, moved out in a huff. We were having rows and now I can’t remember what they were about; probably about her needing her independence. When she visited, we began talking again – but I could feel the thaw.
Out of the blue I said: “Let’s go to Japan.” It just came to me. My children are used to my mad travel “arrangements”. When they were little I used to tell them to pack their bags and we would sit in front of Teletext (remember that?) and bag a bargain. We would literally go that day or the next. Crete all-in for £100! Ever since they were tiny, I have taken them all over the world.
“Isn’t Japan super-expensive, though?” Bliss said. I rang up a tour operator and it was indeed a lot of money. I didn’t even know that it was cherry blossom season, but I thought “I am a woman of the world. I can do better than that.” So I did, bagging a couple of cheapish flights, changing in Vienna, and then telling her we were off to Tokyo. On a budget.
“OMG. OMG Mum, are we really going?” Bliss asked.
We were indeed, and people gave me lots of unwanted advice. “It’s so expensive and you will get lost all the time.” Neither of these things turned out to be true.
What no one realised was that our budget meant we’d be in tiny lodgings, because space is at a premium in Tokyo. Neither of us is small. Two fat birds in teeny-weeny rooms; it could all go very wrong…
Yet from the minute we arrived and tried…