1. There's an early message from one of the NCT mums wondering if anyone is up for a trip to Chartwell. I'm about to decline -- but if you say no to things, people tend to stop asking you; so I change my reply and say we'll be round with our sandwiches.
1a. She comes back from the garage with a bag of sweets: "You can't go on a journey without mints." I'm surprised to find that a Murray Mint is exactly what I do want.
1b. Gunnera -- the giant leaves make me feel as if I've shrunk like Alice in Wonderland.
1c. We shelter from the rain (that never comes) in Winston Churchill's studio. He kept his oil paints in a humidor, a gift from the Cuban government. I hold Alec up to the bronze bust of the great man, but he just squirms round to smile at me.
2. On a day that isn't as warm as it should be, she pours hot water from a Thermos and makes us cups of tea.
2a. We are both startled by the bright, bright blue of a delphinium in a border in front of a sun-baked brick wall.
2b. To stand on the high terrace lawn -- with all of Kent spread out in front of us -- and look up at the swifts that make long dives from the heavens to the eaves.
3. Our babies want to go to sleep, but can't. They are both fussing and a-heh, a-heh, a-hehing. The Canadian volunteer planting lavender says: "A nice bumpy ride in the stroller will do it." She's right -- it takes a while, but she's right in the end.
3a. To see another mother comforting her baby: I'm glad she goes into the mothering zone, too. It's a bit like a guitar trance, but with a baby.