I’m going away for the weekend

…. about 20 minutes down the road to have a little reunion weekend with three of my friends from university… packing for it brings to mind my all time favourite poem:

Just In Case

I’m going to the sea for the weekend,
in a couple of days I’ll be back,
so I’ll just take my little brown suit and a blouse
and a beret and carry my mac.

But what if the house is a cold one,
the house where I’m going to stay,
no fires after April, no hot drinks at night
and the windows wide open all day?
I’d better take one – no, two cardies
and my long tartan scarf for my head,
and my chaste new pyjamas in case they decide
to bring me my breakfast in bed,
and what about church on Sunday?
I could wear my beret and suit,
but if it were sunny, it would be a chance
to wear my straw hat with the fruit.
I can’t wear my little brown suit, though
not with the straw and the fruit,
so I’ll just take a silk dress to go with the straw
and a silk scarf to go with the suit.
I’ll just take my jeans and that jumper
in case we go out in the car,
and my Guernsey in case we go out in a boat
and d’you know where my swimming things are?

D’you think I should take that black velvet
in case they’ve booked seats for a play?
And is it still usual to take your own towel
when you go somewhere to stay?
I had thought of just taking slippers,
but they do look disgustingly old,
I’d better take best shoes and sandals and boots
for the church and the heat and the cold.

I daren’t go without my umbrella
in case I’m dressed up and it rains;
I’m bound to need socks and my wellies
for walking down long muddy lanes.

I’d rather not take my old dressing gown,
it is such a business to pack,
but s’pose they have breakfast before they get dressed
I’d have to have mine in my mac.

I’m going away for the weekend,
in a couple of days I’ll be back,
so I’ll just take my little brown suit and a blouse,
two cardies, my long tartan scarf,
my chaste new pyjamas
my straw hat with the fruit,
my silk dress, my silk scarf,
my jeans, that jumper,
my Guernsey, my swimming things,
my black velvet, my towel,
my slippers (no one need see them)
my sandals, my boots, my umbrella
my socks, my wellies
my dressing gown, no, not my dressing gown,
Ok my dressing gown,
and a beret and carry my mac.

Charlotte Mitchell

from Just In Case: Poems in my Pocket by Charlotte Mitchell, published by Souvenir Press, 1991 ISBN 0285630601. Currently out of print, but available secondhand from Amazon. as is I Want to go Home:Poems Through a Day.

Many thanks to Candy Guard, Charlotte’s daughter, for giving me permission to quote this poem in full.


Leave a comment


  1. Lausanne Persona

     /  May 2, 2014

    I’m going away for a week at the end of May, and this poem just about sums up my packing list process!    Enjoy your break     Lausanne


  2. Linda Winn

     /  May 2, 2014

    Brilliant! Describes my packing process perfectly…………


  3. I am so familiar with the thinking in this poem! Have a great time with your friends.
    You could always pop home if you forget anything!


  4. Fair enough. Sound just about right for the UK weather. Be Prepared.
    xxx Massive Hugs xxx


  5. …and some nice knitted socks, and a shawl, and how about the new gumboots? And a hot water bottle in case it turns chilly, and a thermos so you can have a nice hot cup of tea in bed in the morning! Have fun!


  6. Have a great weekend! Don’t forget a good book!! xoxoxoxoxoxox


  7. this poem sounds like me when I go anywhere! 🙂


  8. A wonderful poem, and so true to us all! 🙂
    Hope you have a wonderful weekend, Jan 🙂


  9. wscottling

     /  May 2, 2014

    Have fun and travel safe!


  10. Oh my goodness! I’ve never heard that poem before but it certainly describes the thought process that traps so many. We can get buried in “what if” statements.


  11. ROTFL! I love it…I love it and I am going to pin it as it needs to be shared it is that lovely 🙂 Hope you had a great time 🙂


  12. Heard this on Poetry Please on Sunday – thought it was brilliant. 😉


  13. Veronica Cleary

     /  April 2, 2016

    So funny, I recited for my friends, they were doubled up with laughter, thank you.


    • Glad to share – Candy, the author’s daughter, is very happy that her mum’s work is once again getting read. Fingers crossed for a ‘collected works’ in the future.


  14. this was quite fun. reminds me of an E.B. White poem, but i can’t find it online to provide a link.


  15. Elizabeth nye

     /  June 23, 2016

    No underwear ?!


  16. Lauralin Scott

     /  June 13, 2018

    A friend recited this at a concert and everyone absolutely loved it because it’s soooo true!
    Very funny and clever


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