Frozen dew, like a rocket, stupidly goopy, pics or it didn’t happen

1. It’s cold but doesn’t look too frosty, so I can’t understand why the grass is crunching so loudly underfoot. Then, picking up a stick for Lily, I see them – thousands, millions, of individually frozen dew drops decorating each blade of grass. I tip some into my hand and they almost immediately melt into puddles.

2. Lily watches the other springer run around. Her stare is part caution, part remembrance of things past. She can run fast, with her ears flapping behind her and her tail helicoptering her along, but it’s nothing compared to him.

3. The Brightbox December meal is full of laughter, good cheer and even better food. After a grown-up main course featuring a lot of green vegetables, I have a nutella and mascarpone calzone for dessert. It’s as ridiculously sickly as it sounds. (Bonus: where we’re sat at the end of the table, we watch it being made – the giant dollop of nutella, the striking white mascarpone, the crimping of the crust then the flickering flames of the oven reflecting off its crust while cooking.)

4. Lily spent the evening with our neighbours – they drop her back to our house just before we get home. We ask her what they got up to together but, of course, she can’t tell us and that makes us a bit sad. Then John logs onto his email – they’ve sent us a photo of Lily stretched out on their kitchen floor, getting a belly rub from Ade while their dog Benny licks Ade’s ear. Everyone in the picture looks very happy and we laugh.

3BT – puppy love, unusual blooms, kitty love, John love

1. I’m pawed, I’m licked, I’m nibbled all over. He can’t decide whether to eat his lunch or play with me so runs back and forth between both options until I’m tired. When I get back home, Lily thinks I smell very interesting and I’m grateful for her comparative calmness.

Later on, they play together in the garden. We watch over them like proud mums as they jump about with their helicopter tails.

2. I can smell garlic on the way up the hill but it’s only after leaving the meadow that I spot the former stream bed covered in wilting leaves. I decide to collect some more seed pods but without a basket, have to carry them in a bunch by their stems. I feel like I’m carrying a bouquet designed in the atomic era.

3. In turn, both of the cats visit my knee and I close my eyes to fully appreciate how they feel, sound and smell.

4. I’m so glad when I get a text just before midnight to say he’s on the train, the last train. Just over three hours later, I wake up suddenly and so do the cats and the dog. I hear keys in the door, a shuffling, a quiet unmistakeable cough. Lily’s tail starts banging on the bed – she knows who it is too.

3BT – glare of the glade, happy Carla cat, new to the neighbourhood

1. We happen upon a sunny clearing in the middle of the wood but quickly retreat back into the leafy shade.

2. We worried how Carla – once the most scaredy of scaredy cats – would handle the move to the new house, after the death of her brother, after the arrival of Lily – but stroking her as she stretches out in the morning sun, I realise she’s possibly the happiest, most content cat I know. (She’s actually dancing over me as I type this twelve hours later – grabbing my hand from the keyboard for tickles and purring so loudly it’s drowning out the noise of the YouTube video John’s frowning over.)

3. Our next-door-but-one neighbours bring over their brand new, six week old springer spaniel puppy. With his markings, he’s a miniature version of Lily and we’re instantly smitten. We offer/beg to babysit.