I might have mentioned that I went away for a few days. Upcountry, oop north, not quite overseas but it might as well have been.

I left the Other Half and Daughter at home alone. You can imagine the planning this entailed.

Every item I thought might be necessary – PE kit, martial arts uniform, swimwear – was washed and stashed in its usual place, so that if I got a panicked call along the lines of “Where is X???” I would have an instant answer.

“I’ll be fine – it’s Dad you need to worry about,” said Daughter, drily.

“They can eat here,” added Father-in-Law, a superb cook who has passed on precisely none of his kitchen skills to his son.

I took the car. We only have one these days, and Daughter had a slew of clubs all over the place. This meant a lot of walking, and the odd bus.

OH deplores unnecessary car journeys, but it got to him. I made the mistake of calling to wish Daughter good luck in a belt grading. “We’re miles away,” he growled, perhaps panting a little. “This is ridiculous.”

That said, the walking was great practice for Daughter’s Bronze Duke of Edinburgh expedition last weekend. She was simultaneously excited and terrified – and nowhere near as organised as I would have liked.

I would have had her rucksack packed a month ago. She prefers to prep at the last minute, by which time I have selected and folded the appropriate items. Ski trip and cadet camp both functioned in this way.

“I wanted to do it myself! You always do this!” she wailed on Thursday. Fair point.

But I can’t help fearing that some crucial utensil will be missing at the 11th hour, or that discovering the tonnage of the pack the night before will be enough to make her call the whole thing off.

I remember my own bronze expedition, in the Lincolnshire Wolds, only too well. I was a seasoned hiker, stepping out with a rambling club every fortnight, but had never led a walk or carried cumbersome accommodation on my back.

We had a trial run over a weekend that was blisteringly hot – literally. I had a corker on my heel, the size of a golf ball. The actual event took place in the rain, which was much more pleasant.

Dinner was Batchelor’s Beanfeast, a palatable soya-based just-add-water job. One team member set fire to her tent by using the gas stove inadvisably close to it. I wrote a song about it, the punchline of each verse being our leader’s expletive at the sight of the flames: “Hell’s bells!”

Daughter had volunteered to take the gas stove. “Should I take a lighter?” she asked. I recommended that perhaps someone else should do that.

She borrowed my boots – 20 years old and well broken in, crossing Cornish fields, exploring European cities and covering the floor of the Royal Mail sorting office. (Ulterior motive – if she likes them, she can have them, and I will treat myself to a lovely new pair).

They left on Saturday morning, a bunch of high-spirited 14-year-old girls, each carrying her own body weight on her shoulders. In Daughter’s case, the pack was probably as tall as her too – toppling over was a distinct possibility.

There was enthusiastic waving and kisses were blown. From St Columb Major, they walked to Padstow, camping overnight at Porthcothan. Day one was overcast, with a spot of rain while under canvas; day two, blue skies and some bleddy hot.

We spent a lovely morning scoffing pasties and ice creams in sunny Padstow, followed by a tedious hour or so in the Link Road car park watching various teams stagger home before we finally saw our girls crest the top of the steps in the far-left corner.

They had somehow managed to acquire a random pensioner, who on closer inspection turned out to be my mother, having taken it upon herself to set out as a search party-cum-paparazzi.

My mouth formed the words I suspected Daughter had already said: “MUM! What are you DOING? You’re SO embarrassing!”

In fact, Daughter was just acutely relieved to have reached the end of her mammoth trek. “I’ve never been so pleased to see Gran in my life – it meant we’d reached the end,” she admitted later, shortly before conking out on the sofa for eighty winks.

I, meanwhile, was unpacking the rucksack, filling the washing machine and making a mental inventory of what was missing (a new metal bowl suitable for camping and just the right preppy shade of blue).

“Do I have to go into school?” she groaned at 7am the next morning. My immense pride gave way to tough love as I reminded her she wasn’t ill – just absolutely knackered.

I gave her a lift in, though – I’m not completely heartless.