“Have you got your sun block on? What factor is it? Thirty’s probably all right. I think you’re better off with the fifty. To be on the safe side. Here; take it with you. You can always reapply in an hour or so. Have you got your jumper? Well, it might turn chilly at any second. Then you’ll be glad of it. And you’ll see that I was right. Well, tie it around your waist or something. Put it in your bag. What do you mean, you’re not taking a bag? I’ve made you some sandwiches. They won’t keep. And I’ve cut the crusts off. Go and get your bag. And here’s some bottled water. You should never be far away from a bottle of water. And here’s some change. For the phone. Yes, I know you’ve got your mobile but mobiles run out of battery, don’t they? (Or go straight to voice-mail if I’m trying to call you) I’m sure there’ll be a phone box somewhere. Yes, of course they still have them. So keep that change separate from your other money, just in case you need to phone me.
“A hat! You haven’t got your hat. You need a hat. To keep the sun off. And the rain. You’d better take my foldaway umbrella too. Of course, it’s not heavy. And if I wrap it in your scarf… You can’t be too careful. While I think about it, here’s a box of plasters. And some of that antiseptic hand sanitising whatsit. For when you get off the bus. You don’t know who’s had their hands on those poles.
“Speaking of the bus, you won’t go upstairs, will you? Stay downstairs. Sit near the driver. He’ll tell you where to get off. And don’t go playing your music loud enough for everyone else to hear, whether they want to or not. Bad for you, those things, those ear-pods. I mean, all that tss-tss-tss in your ear holes, jarring your brain. No wonder you don’t seem to hear me half of the time.
“Don’t go making eye contact with strange men. They might follow you and then where will you be? Don’t say I never warned you.
“Now, before you go, let’s have a look at you. I’d double-knot those shoelaces if I was you. Now, give me a kiss goodbye and I’ll wave you off from the doorstep. Come on. On the cheek will do. Just a peck. Just a little peck. No? What do you mean, you’re not going now? I thought you were looking forward to it.
“Oh, don’t stomp up the stairs like that. And don’t slam the d-
“It’s not my fault you’re in one of your moods all of a sudden.
“Oh, well, stay up there. Sulk it out. I’ll call you down when dinner’s ready. It’s fish fingers but don’t you worry, baby; I’ll check them thoroughly for bones.”