1. I've been up again and again in the night, what with one thing and another and I feel as if I have been nursing non-stop. I am worn out and utterly despondent. Alec wakes up, whines for bub and when I say no, takes a deep preparatory breath. "Stop that! Please don't shout," I tell him.
He stops, sits up, snuggles in close and pats my arm. "It's all right," he says.
I stop, too, and manage a smile.
"Have I saved the day?" (I wish I could express the inflection).
"You've saved the day."
2. "No, Charlie, not the baby!" This is the sort of cry I hear quite often wherever toddlers gather. I tell the mother that it's absolutely fine, that Bettany has seen much worse. He pats her face, she waves her hands and smiles and it's all rather adorable, until she gives his nose a good gumming.
3. The Grove is suddenly -- finally -- naked. Autumn was very nice, but it's winter now and time for bare trees and cold, dirty colours.