Ada gathered her things. Like any woman of a certain age – and particularly one who has brought up a special little boy -- she was accustomed to taking a whole handbag of potentially needful items with her. Handkerchiefs – both cloth and disposable – a packet of mints (for bus journeys) and boiled sweets (for walking), her purse, her glasses, a fold-up plastic rain hat, a small plastic case of make-up, a nail file and clippers and a book to read when she was either bored or wanted someone to go away. She'd once gone to Frances Beamish's for morning coffee and while her host prattled on about her son Pip – who claimed to be a starving artist but was the first of the kind she'd ever met who could afford one of the studios in the purpose-built River Terrace complex – Ada had taken out her book and started reading, quite forgetting where she was and genuinely surprised when Frances had pursed her lips at her.
"Right." She shrugged on her heavy woollen coat with the fake fur collar and rammed the matching hat over her hair. "Off we trot."
"To where?" Legion glided through the front door, her face disappearing under her hooded cloak. "Can you find my children so easily?"
"No." Ada pulled the door shut and locked it, dropping the key into a side pocket of her voluminous handbag. "But I know a man who can."