1. On the High Street one of the estate agents has a window display of wooden houses made from laser cut birch. Every time we pass I pretend Alec is desperate for a look -- really it's me. I assumed the houses were way out of my decorations budget... until I saw two for sale at the Pantiles Christmas Market for a fiver each. I treat myself to one and put it on the mantelpiece so I can smile at it while I feed Bettany.
2. Nick and Alec return from their special lad and dad outing -- a ride on a steam train and a visit to Father Christmas. Alec has an unopened parcel in his hand and he says he wants to save it for Christmas.
3. "What are you doing, she counted them out, there are exactly 24 in there!"
"But I only asked for 12," I tell Nick once I've spat the date pip into my hand.
"I could have sworn you said two dozen," he says uncrumpling the shopping list and peering at it.
Fresh dates are such a treat, and now we've got 12 that are not needed for my Arabian lamb stew.