Percy suddenly decided that he was going to come with us, after all. He started to put his boots on, but then realized that his Mum was already quite a long way up the road, and set off at a run, one foot padding along in a sock, and the other thumping along in a boot, laces flying loose.

I slowed down and let Bev get ahead a bit. As I'd expected, Percy overtook me without a glance, and I dashed back to pick up his other boot. It had a toy iron in it.

When he originally said he wasn't coming, Bev had told him, "That's okay. Auntie Sharon will be very happy to have you here. We'll be popping in in a week's time to pick up the rest of our stuff, and you can come then if you've changed your mind."

I hoped we'd got everything we needed for that first week, but I was far from confident. I knew we'd not thought about it nearly carefully enough, and was sure we'd forgotten something. I was right: we arrived at the car, which we'd loaded with all the less valuable stuff the previous day – and discovered I didn't have the car key. I put down my rucksack, and Percy's boot, and ran back again.

Sharon met me at the door with the key, laughing fit to bust. "Have you got a spare sock for Percy? He must have worn holes in that one!"

"Probably. Somewhere. He'll survive."

As I reached the collapsed section of the road for the third time, another huge chunk of the cliff broke away. I watched it fall, seemingly in slow motion, then heard it crash into the sea far below, a long drawn-out crashing, thundering sound.

God, thank goodness none of us were on that, I thought. I detoured even further across the field than we had before, keeping a long way back from the edge, and thanked our lucky stars that we'd had the foresight to leave the car so much further up the road.