I fill the fridge and cat to bursting, despatch Youngest Child to her Other Parent then head off to the airport to catch a plane for a weekend in Italy where the BoyF is working. The manboys will be fine, let them forage. As long as they feed Biggie Smalls.
Fast forward to Siena where I’m gazing at the mosaics on the floor of the green and white candy-striped marble cathedral. It took 40 artisans 200 years to make and the whole thing is overwhelmingly magnificent, but one of the panels really grabs me on account of the naked woman on one side. It’s the Allegory of the Hill of Wisdom, and features Fortune, personified. She’s holding a billowing sail above her head in one hand, the horn of plenty in the other, has one foot balancing on a sphere and the other in a shaky boat with a broken mast – this is a woman who can multi-task.
I’m smiling at her, and her glorious belly, tempting fortune to smile back, when my mobile rings and shatters my serenity.
“It’s me,” says Youngest Child. “Are you at home?”
“No, I’m in Siena,” I say.
“At the shops?”
“No. In Italy. In a church, looking at the floor.”
She tries again. A bit louder. “The kitchen floor? Are you at home?”
“No, I’m in Italy, looking at mosaics on a church floor.”
There’s a pause. Then she starts again:
“OK. I need to come home and change. I don’t like my top.”
“I’m away this weekend, remember?” I say.
“Oh. S’OK, I’ve got keys.”
“OK, are you miss…”
She’s gone. Ah well, maybe the manboys are missing me.
On my return I solicit for evidence of pining and domestic apocalypse.
“Barely noticed,” says Eldest. “Away?” says Middle.
Biggie snores on.
I wonder how far I could get before anyone would notice.