I find, somewhat to my relief, that I’m chilling out as I get older. I never considered myself to be stressed, over-excitable or nervous, but I was certainly anal retentive about many things. I guess I still am to a certain extent, but it’s easing off. For example, I still keep books and cds in alphabetical order (my wife prefers things to be colour-coded, which causes no end of conflict and confusion). On the other hand, during a seven-hour drive to France for a recent short break I relinquished the cd holder to 2 1/2 year old Chiara, who spent many a happy hour taking them out of the sleeves and putting them back in again. Now I was willing to do this partly because I know that she’s relatively careful and respectful of other people’s stuff (unlike some children I know who would happily have smashed them into tiny pieces and then eaten them all in five seconds flat). I was even willing to give in to her demands to play whatever cd she took out, even though she took out a new one and demanded “This one!” every…ohh…ten seconds or so.

But it’s fundamentally a case of learning how not to “sweat the small stuff”, as they say. So maybe they’ll get put back in the wrong order and get a few tiny fingerprints on them – I can wait until we get back in the evening before I clean and catalogue them, no big deal.