Wendyl Nissen is in cruise control.

By the time you read this I plan to be on a cruise ship in the Baltic doing very little. It's a long-planned, longed-for month away, part 50th birthday celebration/part second honeymoon. It needs to commemorate two life events because it was so damned expensive.

But I don't care. The chance to drift about in the ocean for a while, recharge the batteries and not have a deadline to meet will be a luxury I can rarely afford.

"You'll do a few things though," said my husband, hopefully. "Get off the boat, have a look at things."

"I might, but then I might not," was my reply.


But my absence is not being appreciated by some people. Mainly my mum and my best friend.

"What did you get up to today?" I asked my friend during one of our daily catch-ups on the phone.

After we had assured each other that our ageing dogs were still alive she got around to telling me what she had been up to.

"I was auditioning," she told me.

"That's nice, TV role is it?" I inquired gently.

"Auditioning friends," she said.

"What on earth for?" I said, feeling just a little bit put out as I feel I fulfil my role as a friend rather well.

"For while you are away. I need someone who can lunch, can swear like a trooper, laugh and cry within five minutes and be on the end of the phone when I need her to be."

"It's only a month," I said. "And besides you're not drinking in July so it's not like we could really lunch a lot anyway."

"You know how I get when I don't drink. I'm very needy."

"You can email and I'll reply," I said to appease her, although having to open an email while I'm away leaves me feeling tearful just thinking about the stress involved.

"You'll be at sea. The internet is very unreliable."


"Don't worry about me. You just go away and have your little holiday. I'll keep an eye on your children, your dog, your cats and your hens for you. Just don't worry about me."

And so I left her to the auditions and packed my bags.

Then the phone rang.

"I just wanted to hear your voice," my mother said. "Because I won't be able to soon. There'll be no one at the end of the phone," she said full of doom and gloom.

"You could always audition daughters to stand in while I'm away," I suggested.

"Oh, don't be silly. I just like to picture you there on the end of the phone, that's all."

"Tell you what, why don't you ring my friend and you can both keep each other company," I suggested. "Oh, that would be fun," she said giggling. I told my friend. She has my Mum's number.