1. In Laura's sitting room I spot a souvenir -- a tiny blue and brown ceramic cup and saucer -- from my hen party. Alec spots it too, and uses it to serve tea (with 'mook' and sugar, a bic-bic and a muffmin) to everyone.
2. "He's a blue-tongued skink," she says, "but he doesn't usually stick his tongue out for an audience." He's beautiful -- smooth, cool scales blotched with browns and buffs like desert camouflage. When we reach the end of the reptile table, Alec wants to go back to the start and stroke the skink again. We shuffle back and he reaches out very gently... and the skink licks his narrow nose with a sharp blue tongue.
3. One costumed member of staff scares Alec -- a person wearing a full mask who keeps appearing among us and... well, not doing anything. "Scary man," says Alec, hiding behind my knees. I tell him to say "BOO" next time he appears. While we are in the soft play centre, the scary man strolls in and sits down at a table nearby. Alec rushes over and I lift him up on to my knee for a cuddle. "What were you going to say to him?" I prompt. There's a pause. Then: "BYE scary man! Bye bye."