1. Things are a bit fraught, Bettany is crying for this, Alec wants something else, I'm not dressed, the cleaner is due in an hour and I have no idea what I want her to do. I realise that I can pick one just thing. I choose Bettany, because she is the most unhappy. I lift her out of the cot and cuddle her. Everything stops spinning. Alec stops asking for whatever it is he wants and -- this is most wonderful and charming -- kisses me where my neck meets my shoulder and Bettany on the back of her head. It is just what Nick would have done.
2. Alec walks with one foot on the pavement and one foot in the gutter, "gammy-legged in gutters", just like the children in the poem. "Would you like to do it, too?" he asks.
"Yes I would."
3. The Turkey oak at the corner of the Grove has dropped all its leaves. The boys shout with joy and dive right in, sinking up to their knees in the great red and copper stars.