1. "We've bought the highchair," says my mother. "I couldn't face the thought of lunch with him sitting on your lap and my lap."
1a. I love fish pie for the treasures of prawns and mussels and scallops.
2. Finally, just before dark, we make a break for it and go walking under umbrellas and the pit-pit-pit of rain.
3. My cousin Laura says: "I'll entertain this end while you change that end." I am awed by her childcare skills -- she helps a family with a disabled child -- and when I tell her she says modestly: "I suppose it's easier when they're bigger because you can ask them to stay still and they do."
4. The Christmas books are stacked in wobbly towers around the living room. "Let's make one evening a week book night," says Nick. "We'll just sit and read."