1. Nick needs some peace, so I take the baby in the backpack (there is no room to get the pushchair out because of all the packing) and go to the park. It's quiet and cold, and children keep asking why Alec is not wearing any shoes. "He's growing too fast," I tell them. I wonder what their parents are thinking about my baby standing on the roundabout in his socks? We sit together on the big swings and he dozes against my chest while I sing fragments of songs. Another mother and son are on the other two swings -- but he's about ten times older than Alec.
2. The beams are laced and lanced with holly and ivy, and we are home for Christmas.
3. The sound of the back door and Robert's modest 'Hello?'