1. R comes over with some terrible news. We sit out on the balcony with the cats circling and the chickens milling about in the garden below and talk about nothing for a couple of hours.

2. It’s a largely ineffectual afternoon in the garden. I gather pieces of scrap wood to make a raised bed, struggle with the tools to put it together, stain the newer wood to match the older stuff – then realise I don’t like it so take it apart again. Similarly but on a smaller scale, I carry a plant ladder awkwardly down two flights of stairs before changing my mind about that too and having to carry it back up again. Still though, I do make some progress – some more rubbish collected together, a lupin sat neatly in a wooden planter I made (and liked) a few years ago, the blackcurrants tied back from the path and an old chimney pot lined and filled to house a cheerful delphinium.

3. Black pepper and chilli flakes speckle the butter.