When our kids were small, and we lived in Singapore, they learned about trains from children’s books and tv, and from travelling on the MRT. In books, trains are steam-powered, with drivers and firemen and conductors: in real life, the electric trains drove themselves and tinted their windows as they rode close to residential buildings. (Though I suppose in books for younger children things drive themselves, if they have a face and a name). Culture was the first place where they met trains, and only later in real life.

Now we’re in lockdown, and they’re old enough to be learning to make conversation with their friends, they do so on facetime and skype. They would have done anyway, of course, and they’ve been skyping grandparents their whole lives, but there’s something striking about the comprehensive way their social lives have moved behind glass. Downstairs, our youngest is one-half of a pat-a-cake game with her friend.