1a. I am chatting to the girl who is washing my hair. It turns out that she doesn't want to be a hairdresser -- 'I want to work with special needs children.' I say that this is a very worthwhile career; and wish that being a writer had the same usefulness to society. She pauses and then says: 'Well I couldn't live without my books. That's usefulness.'
1b. When I ask to tip my hairdresser, in her drawer are a few coins and a USB stick. In the drawer belonging to the hairwash girl, there is a packet of chewing gum.
1. Five bunches of daffodils for £2. 'It's because they're open,' says the flower boy.
2. A respectable middle-aged couple hurry up the hill carrying a Christmas tree between them.
3. I describe the vaguely-remembered work of a steam-punkesque scientist to Nick. He knows exactly who I mean. I feel as if I have met some sort of soulmate.