Emily spends a few precious hours with her lover, then picks up her children and returns to normal life. Her brother Ben's career has crashed with the banks, and suddenly he has nowhere to go. But they must both put on a brave face for their mother's sixtieth birthday. Fran doesn't feel old. Mostly, she's worried about her increasingly depressed husband Duncan. Why did he think they'd been to Florence? Who is Alexa? And she doesn't really want a fuss over her birthday, but her daughter insists they must celebrate.