1. To find a last piece of crackling on the carving board.
2. I'm apprehensive about letting Alec go on the scruffy fibreglass train that screeches and scrapes its way round a tiny track. I remember feeling afraid and alone on rides as a small child. The other children sit with fixed stares, and some of them are riding with a parent.
"You hold on," I tell him. He grips the window frame with one hand, and his knuckles are white for the entire rattling, shuddering ride. He looks straight ahead, but waves with his free hand each time he passes.
I lift him out when the door is opened, glad to feel his weight and his kicking legs. "What now? Chair-o-planes?"
"More, Mummy. More toot. More toot."
He rides a second time -- this time in a carriage with a bell. He has to reach right up to hold the chain, and his baby-fat arm is too tightly stretched to shake the clapper. He keeps hold until I lift him out.
At the end, he asks for more again. I tell him: "No more, just two rides." He buries his face in my legs and has a little cry.
3. Late at night is the best time for reading Poe. I love to read The Raven when it is almost midnight because I can empathise a little with the narrator. I'd never come across The Bells before: what a sonorous, tintinabulous piece of work it is.