I wave and hit the windowpane, in pleasure. Their father stands in the background. Soon my wife, Alison, comes down from her study at the top of the house and joins me. “Nanny,” the children both shout, with yet greater enthusiasm. Then, 10 seconds later, already looking for something new, they turn and run off. All is still.

These two of our five grandchildren live around the corner, with our daughter and her husband. We are used to having them regularly in our house. When will that happen again?

We have no idea. That is painful.

Our other children and grandchildren live on the other side of London. We only see them on Zoom now. It is better than nothing. But it is not the same thing as hugging a beloved child’s wriggling body.