1. Bettany and I go to a school open afternoon. Our guide, Tabitha, proudly tells us that she is the oldest girl in the school. One of the teachers says to us "You've got to watch her, the trouble is she isn't afraid to speak her mind." He adds, almost absentmindedly, "I'll miss you, Tabby."
2. Blowing bubbles for Bettany when there is no terrible three-and-a-half-year-old there to jump up and pop them all.
3. At the station barrier I tell Alec that he must choose himself a dad from the commuters coming up the stairs. He examines each tired face in turn, saying "No... no... no..." as the workers march towards us. The stream of glassy-eyed people thins and we consider taking platform supervisor home with us. But then a dear bespectacled face emerges and Alec yells with joy and scampers towards Nick trying to shout "DADDY", show him a photo and tell him about four different things all at once.