It’s midnight and I’ve just collected Youngest from work. As I drive she’s on the phone to her pal organising something for the next day.
“No, you can’t patch it,” she’s saying. “It’ll be cool. And you’re driving us anyway. It’ll be so fun! Don’t worry about it.”
I share her friend’s anxiety about this trip, whatever it is.
“Where are you going?” I ask, as she continues her conversation, because her generation can multi-task everything with being on a phone. I lob in crucial questions such as where and with whom.
“Don’t bother bringing anything,” she’s saying. “They’re bringing it all. Tents, sleeping bags, food…”
So camping. Tomorrow. Somewhere.
“Don’t worry,” she continues into her phone. “You don’t need to bring anything except…” then lists suggestions centred on the sartorial. “PJS, thick socks, jumper…
“Where are you going?” I ask her free ear.
“Give me a clue.”
“I did. Southern Scotland. Somewhere in the country.”
“So, you’re going camping tomorrow,” I say. “It’ll be cold at night. Take my arctic resistant sleeping bag.”
“No, thingy has all that. They camp a lot. Cooking stuff, little seats, sleeping bags, they’re organised, they’re from the country. They know all about it.”
“Well, I’ve camped a lot too and I’m telling you…”
“You? When did you ever camp?” she laughs and I have her attention for a nanosecond.
“Loads of times. I slept in a tent halfway along the Lairig Ghru in the snow once when I was walking it. And I’ve camped in the Highlands, the Borders, the Hebrides, all over.”
She snorts and continues talking to her friend.
“Anyway there’s a bothy if it’s very cold. And anyone who gets tired and wants to sleep can go in one of the tents.”
Sleep? Dream on.
“You know bothies are freezing,” I say. “Take those walking boots I got you and my rucksack. And water, and your phone. And food.”
“Yes mother! I HAVE planned it all,” she says, waving me to shut up.
“Nah, you don’t need anything else,” she says to her mate. “No, no make up. Well, maybe a lip liner… because it’s glamping, ha ha ha. Phone you when I get home.”
Off her phone she says, “That was a joke, the glamping, for you. Do you really think I’m taking lip liner?”
I know she is.