It’s 5am. I’m awake. Everyone else is sound asleep. I can hear the children’s sleep noises. I know which is Lil H and Diva G. They are safe.

My mind is full of the unsafe though. On Monday I fly with my godmother & my children’s 8yo cousin to Cala D’Or in Majorca, we will have a fantastic week, a beautiful villa with a beautiful pool, with temperatures in the lower thirties. So why the lying awake since 3:30am?

I’m solo abroad with my two most precious people, one can just swim, one can’t. My ears seem to have been tuned into hideous reminders of terrible people and tragic events. Tia Sharp should have been safe in her grandmothers home, but she wasn’t. Poor little four year Dylan who slipped from a jetty to be instantly washed away from his parents and out to sea. Ian Brady and Myra Hindley’s evil past not far from here have returned to the headlines. The revolting attack on a 14yo boy in toilets Manchester on a Saturday afternoon is beyond sickening, Lil H will have to be catheterised when he becomes too old to come into the ladies with me, I can’t bear to think of that time.

Lil H was two weeks old when Madeleine McCann was abducted. Cradling my first newborn child, this was the first time I’d consumed the news of a child crime as a parent. The reality of a parents worst nightmare hit me like a train whereas before, child free, events like the death of James Bulger were shocking but I just didn’t feel them in the same way at all as I do now as a parent. Now they make me sob uncontrollably at the mere thought that anything like these terrible events happen to anyone let alone my own children. They make me want to hunker down in my home with decades of supplies and keep my precious people safe. My heart aches for the parents, how on earth do they cope and continue to live, contain their anger, fight for justice, hope for news?

As I pack our bags and set off to create happy, sunny childhood memories I will shift these thoughts and stories to the back of my mind. I wish they didn’t exist at all but they do. I will play tea parties with Diva G by the pool, the children’s pool water paintings will evaporates from the hot slabs, Lil H will bounce high on the trampolines and whizz past me on the 1 Euro go karts. All the while I shall be behind my sunglasses scanning the surrounding for psychopaths and pedophiles. Right now in the dead of night our week away is feeling like an endurance test worthy of a CSI episode. I think I need join the Women’s Institute or take up baking or gardening. My garden would benefit greatly!

So this post confirms what I’ve always known and you may have suspected. I am a nutcase. Instead of filling my bags with useful things like suncream & swimsuits I’m filling my head with remote risks and terrors. Why do I do this to myself? Perhaps it’s some subconscious self-coaching in preparation from being solo, by a pool in a foreign country, whatever the reasons I wish it would stop. I need to pack. I needed those three hours sleep! Anyone else mentally torture themselves like this? I’m feeling a lot tired and a lot terrified! Claire x