‘LILY! It’s 8 o’clock! Get dressed. QUICKLY. I turned on the Rayburn this morning so we could have porridge like you asked for last night and yet again we don’t have time to make it!’
Lily is de-icing the windscreen, so that I have to carry everything to the car. I feel like one of those mechanical pincer things at the fairground. Scooped up in my claws are:
1 cold sausage in a plastic Ikea bowl
1 storage jar of granola
I pull the front door shut. The damp has made it stiff.
… 1 pair of riding gloves
1 fleece beanie hat (where is my beret? And for that matter, where is the dog lead? That’s the fourth I’ve lost this year.) Oh my God. The dog!
I wrestle with the door. It finally opens with a shudder.
‘She’s here, Mum,’ Lily says calmly, walking round to the back of the car.
‘Is she on the road?’ I demand, dropping Lily’s riding gloves as I slam the door shut again.
‘It’s fine, Mum. She’s in front of the car.’
‘Well, can you put her in the car.’
… 1 pair of fleece gloves (mine)
I find a free finger and thumb and fumble with the doorlock.
‘Lily!’ I say in a can-you-not-see-I’m-carrying-our-breakfast-your-music-and-about-a-dozen-other-things-and-it-might-be-nice-if-you-came-and-helped? kind of way.
She stops making patterns in the rear window with the de-icer spray and comes over to help. ‘I don’t know why you always find it so difficult.’
I step back from the door, leaving the key dangling from the lock and it’s only then that I notice that there are three keys on the keyring instead of one.
‘Maybe because I’m using the old Chelsea keys,’ I mutter.
Lily removes the keys, opens the door effortlessly and swaps the old Chelsea keys for the Mistlebourne one. The phone starts ringing. Before I can go back in to answer it, Lily pulls the door shut. ‘Ignore it, Mum, we’re going to be late.’
She locks up, replaces the key between my finger and thumb and returns to the car.
... 1 key
1 Waitrose bag of Grade 4 music for daughter’s impending saxophone exam for which she is not fully prepared.
As I reach the car I glare at Lily, who is sitting in the driving seat, playing with the radio and the heater.
‘I was putting the heater on for the windscreen,’ she says mildly, getting out and holding the door open for me to drop the contents of my pincer-grab on the seat.
She gets in the passenger seat. I pass her the sausage in a bowl, balance the granola between the handbrake and her seat, throw everything else in the back, sit down, peel the top of the banana, lay it in my lap and set off down the road.