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.