Meet up with Cass and Franny for a dog walk on Candlebury Downs. Except I have to leave Dusty at home. She, like her mistress, is unfit for purpose.
I take off my teacosy hat with a flourish, tip my head towards the girls and grimace expectantly.
'Eliza!' Franny is frowning.
'I know!' I wail. 'Meredith made me do it. She said I didn't have to go through life as a mouse and it'll always grow out.'
'It's a classic teenage hair disaster,' says Cass. 'They panic and wash it out too soon. If you'd waited it wouldn't be so orange. And you shouldn't have dyed the roots.'
'But they were so dark, the rest of the hair looked even more fake in contrast.'
'Well, it'll fade,' she says.
'Will it? Surely once it's bleached, you're stuck with it. I'll have this orange band working its way down my head.'
'Mine fades, but then it's Aveda. Vegetable dyes. No, you're probably right if it's bleach. You're stuck with it. Never mind, it's nearly winter. You can wear your teacosy for the next six months.'
We walk in silence, braced against the driving drizzle. I brighten on remembering the marvellous gallstone flush.
'And then you look down the loo, and it's full of little green raspberries,' I finish.
'But how do they come out?' asks Cass. 'Are you sure you're not talking about kidney stones? Because it's the most painful thing trying to pass a kidney stone.'
'No they're definitely gallstones. I suppose they come out in your poo.'
'But how do they get there? If they're in the gall bladder, they can't get out.'
We pause to climb over a stile. Wild oats at the field's edge ripple as Dotty and Plum go in pursuit of a rabbit.
'So was Lily happy to go back to school?' asks Cass.
I tell them about the injustice of her being relegated to the top bunk.
'Well what about poor Tilly?' exclaims Cass, the indignation boiling up in her voice. 'She's sharing with a new girl this year. When we got there, the best bed was swathed in Laura Ashley bunting and every square inch of the pinboard was covered with pictures of this girl and her family and the bedside table was crammed with more photos and little knick-knacks, and there was a whole zoo of cuddly toys on the bed, and the girl wasn't even there! She's only boarding two nights a week. So the mother had come in and staked her claim and then they'd gone home again!'
'Like Germans bagging the sunloungers,' sympathises Franny.
'The thing is Lily didn't mind at all,' I say.
'No, Tills didn't either - except for having to share with someone so uncool.'
'I had the same thing with Max last year,' says Franny. 'Just because he's so nice and doesn't make a fuss, he was put in with all the losers. I came home and burst into tears. I rang up the housemaster and sobbed down the phone to him." It's so un-fair-air-air, he's not with any of his friends!" But actually Max was fine.'
'It's such a curse, minding,' I say.
The other two nod in empathy.