1. A twinkly older man sits down next to Alec and me while we are taking off our shoes before going into the changing rooms. He looks hard at me, and then says: "Is this the manlet?" He's referring to the pseudonym that I give Alec in my local newspaper column. I confess that it is indeed. "I read your column every week," he says. "I always enjoy reading about 'the manlet' and now I've actually met him."
2. When I say that TV is finished because it's time for bed, Alec says firmly that he is going to put the zappers away. He takes two of them and spends a good minute arranging them to his satisfaction in the TV cupboard. I hand him the third (his personal toy zapper) and takes it over, removes all three and re-arranges them.
3. I haven't told you about our caterpillar! I found him hiding under the chopping board last weekend after I'd prepared some curly kale. I threw him out into the garden, and then suffered so badly from guilt about leaving him to die alone in the cold and wet that I retrieved him and put him in a jar with some kale (you always get such a lot in the bag, so there's plenty to go around). Nick gave him a name, Reginald, and he's been living on a cool window sill, nibbling and pooing and being shown off to guests. This evening, he has climbed to the top of his jar and is hanging upside down -- I suppose he's getting ready to pupate. When he does, I'll put the jar somewhere cool and dry so he stays safe in his chrysalis until the cabbages bloom again.