As my eldest two reached towards the end of their teenage years, so the lure of the big city (Hereford) became evermore irresistible.
By the time Mike was 19, he was enjoying regular Friday nights out with his friends playing league pool and darts (with his dear old dad occasionally invited along to make up the team numbers when they were short). But 17 year-old Sarah was soon catching up on her big brother, chomping at the bit to go out with her girlfriends on Saturday nights to the disco.
Sarah could go out as long as I picked her up to come back home
I was a firm, but fair (divorced/single) dad at the time, but I also knew my Sarah was a sensible young lady – and I knew her friends very well (after several years of weekend stopovers at our place). And so we reached an agreement: that I would allow her to go out dancing on the strict understanding that I drove her there and I met her outside the dancehall/discotheque and drove her back home.
As time went by, so the pickup time crept nearer and nearer towards midnight until, by the end of the year, it finally reached 1 and then 2am in the morning. This was getting too much for me, but what could I do?
Big brother came to the rescue thanks to me teaching him to drive!
Well, help came to hand from the most unexpected of quarters: eldest son/big brother Mike of course! He was a very good big brother to Sarah (as he still is today – nearly 20 years later). And so my patient hours teaching him how to drive a car several years earlier (on our private land), followed by, of course, him passing his driving test with flying colours finally paid off!
He took over being the late-night (early morning) taxi driver to Sarah and her friends (and I got to retire at a more civilised hour).
Mike and Sarah still keep in touch with their Herefordshire friends to this day (from Canada and America respectively) and reminisce about their teenage years whenever they get together for reunions.