1. My anniversary lilies opened on Sunday. The stigma is coated with velvet the colour of aubergines, and the white petals have a zing of cold lemon yellow up the middle.
2. "I just fancied a mince pie," says the mother. Then she puts the kettle on.
3. Alec goes to bed early -- very early -- at his own request, and Nick comes home to a tidy, quiet house, a plate of sandwiches and a gently steaming cup of tea.