The news on Edward Bunyan and Indira Gainiyeva, two teenagers who fled from their boarding school in Lancashire for a holiday in the Caribbean, keeps on coming. We’re receiving breathless updates as to whether the local police have finally managed to uncover their exact whereabouts.
I’m sure the parents are worried of course, and I sympathise, but really, I think we all need to sit back, take a sip on a rum cocktail, and think whether it’s worth the fuss. Frankly, if someone is stuck in rainy Lancashire, then saying, “Sod this for a laugh, I’m off to the beach,” is a sign of wisdom well beyond their sixteen years.
The pair could have chosen a weekend in Ibiza, but instead they plumped for a couples’ holiday to the Dominican Republic. The Dominican Republic! How middle-aged are they? In all probability, she’s sat there on the beach doing the crossword, while he goes off for a round of golf, before they turn in early to watch a DVD and try to work out how to use the machine. Tomorrow, they’re off for a trip on a glass-bottomed boat.
I know that most people would rather that they were back home in Clitheroe, where they could return to everyday teenage life and do things like taking drugs, vomiting on lampposts and joyriding their way home afterwards, but somehow I think they’re better off hanging out with a bunch of retirees in the Caribbean. Doubtless, they are having a fantastic time and doing no harm to anyone - except perhaps the bank of Mum and Dad.
School is important, of course, but at sixteen the challenge is as much about earning life experience as anything else. They could have spent the last week sitting through double Chemistry, but instead they have done something impulsive, exciting and – ok – a little bit stupid, but when they come home they will be much the richer for it. It’ll be a great story to tell the grandchildren, (albeit, undoubtedly, different sets of grandkids, unless they really haven’t been listening in school).
It won’t, however, have damaged them in the long run. At sixteen, you are old enough to make important decisions, not just as to your sexual partner but also as to your other life choices. Either of them could have chosen to chuck it all in and join the army - undoubtedly trickier than learning how to water ski.
Judging by some reports, there will soon be calls for Interpol to intervene to stop this elopement. But the inevitable rollicking from their parents will probably do the trick, instead. My advice to Edward and Indira would be to turn on their phones, send their parents a message confirming they’re okay, then get back to the beach. And expect to be grounded for the next year once they get home.