are you taking?"
"Only ten - to read. I might not like one or something so I need a lot," Ms W informed me.
They are off on holiday - to a rather remote spot. Her father likes to "get away". He tries to take at least a fortnight over the Christmas and New Year period. If he doesn't get that then he might not get more than a day here and a day there - and they will be used for other essential things.
Most young teens would object to the sort of holiday that Ms W is looking forward to having. They would think there was "nothing to do" and complain about not being with their friends. Ms W has taken the attitude that she gets her father "all to me" and that she will see her friends later. She also told me, "I get to read and I can do heaps of drawing."
She also knows that "my dad will spend half of it asleep and he won't catch any fish".
As they can take the car and will be staying in a two bedroom cabin with most of the essentials already there they can take plenty to entertain them. I saw that their Scrabble and chess sets have been packed. They have books and Ms W has no less than four sketch pads, pencils ("and three sharpeners") and some other art items. She has a carefully wrapped present for her father and I know that he has something for her. She has their Christmas lunch organised after her usual consultation with me. They also have Christmas cake and mince pies that Ms W has made herself.
There is a small shop about five minutes walk around the bay so they can get fresh milk and anything they may have forgotten. Ms W did a slightly simpler version of this a couple of years ago. She has had lists for weeks.
It has been a lot of work. Her father would have done more - at the very last minute - "but it is his holiday too".
And it will be a holiday now. Her father is exhausted after a very heavy year at work. He will switch his work phone off.
Ms W informs me that she will see it remains off "at least until next year".
I know what she is getting for Christmas. It isn't lavish but it is something she will really like - and she deserves it.