1. The van driver who flashes his lights and slows his approach so I can cross the road.
2. A nuthatch, in grey jacket and scarlet cap, comes round the the trunk of the next lime tree.
3. There are warm scones with jam and cream for tea.
1. I am out so early that I'm passing families on their way to school.
2. A day without rain -- a few bright stars and a huge moon tonight.
3. We go to bed well before we are ready and read until we want to sleep.
1. The knot of sleeves and legs in the bottom of Bettany's wardrobe is much less intimidating once it's pulled out and sorted into piles of tops and bottoms and dresses to keep or pass on.
2. The satisfaction of finding exactly what you want on offer.
3. From somewhere unholy Nick has found a recipe for Mexican parsnips to help shift the backlog in our fridge without straying much from the cuisine he has planned for tonight.
1. Now the drizzle has stopped smattering and the sun has come out, the oaks on the common glow in their autumn colours.
2. It's grand when your children get great results that you can show off; but I value far more Alec's daily piano practice, and the way he rehearses every food tech lesson at home beforehand.
3. There are streaks of paint in the bathroom sink and on the towels, but also a tiny wizard on Bettany's desk that is no longer grey.
1. As editor for this project, I haven't had much to do yet except listen and try to understand the concepts I'm going to be helping people write about. I feel like a small mouse nibbling my way round a very large nut.
2. Now both children are out of the house, I can quickly put their rooms straight -- picking up clothes discarded in the rush, straightening furniture and tidying away books.
3. In the sky right above the top of our road hangs a bright planet, encouraging me up the steep cobbles.
1. Bettany elbows her way to the front, points me out among the crowd of parents and gets permission to leave.
2. She is cross and has to pretend she is not enjoying shuffling the fallen leaves.
3. Not long ago I treated myself to a signed hardback. Now, sitting up in bed, I start to read.
1. It's early. No one else is up. I take my book downstairs and read (not for work, for pleasure).
2. At the market there is a rocks and minerals stall with tiny mushrooms carved from semi-precious stones. Bettany wonders if they might appear in her stocking.
3. I am tired of spreadsheets and mystery transactions. And so I stop for the night.
1. I don't love the smell of chicken soup during breakfast -- but I do love Bettany's dedication to taking a flask of hot food for her pack lunch.
2. As we go home, Alec quietly shares with me bits and pieces of information about his walks to and from school.
3. For the rest of the day, I benefit from the wake-up I got from my morning dash into town and back.
1. I spend a few minutes in a rabbit hole enjoying Van Gogh's Starry Night, which is the theme of the washi tape I've used on this week's planner.
2. I don't know why, but it's difficult to get hold of fresh passion fruits -- often as not, they're not in the delivery and I get a refund. But today, there are two of them, unprepossessing greyish balls that they are. Bettany likes them when they've had a few days in the fruit bowl to go crumpled, so the juice inside is sweet and concentrated.
3. Around midnight I remember and slip out of bed to look at the sky. I don't see the northern lights; but I'm glad I checked.
1. The sound of the doorbell and then boys' voices as Alec arrives home with his entourage.
2. Half-seen things: a woman with a deflated dinosaur costume round her waist; a father carrying a sleepy pumpkin home; ghosts under damp sheets; the darkened lanterns in houses that have run out of sweets.
3. Warming up with a second mug of mulled wine.
1. Bringing donations to the charity shop with Nick to carry the awkward things. 2. Sending an edit back when I have very little to say, ex...