1. This snow is perfect: it has dusted all the trees and laid a clean white cloth over the muddy grass -- but the roads and pavements are all clear.
2. In the middle of the swimming lesson Alec suddenly feels a bit protective of the toy he is supposed to be pushing around the pool. He shouts "Go away! Don't touch my ball!" and everyone laughs.
3. "It's a moorhen," my father tells Alec about the small black bird with a red face that is paddling against the current in the swollen river Medway. "I'm afraid I can't tell you the Latin name."