In the midst of death there are still Christmas presents to buy.
Katy rang me when I was in Kingston on my second day of Christmas present hunting. I had just spied my prey on a bookshelf in Waterstones when she rang to tell me her mother had died.
I let the book go. Took a step back from the tables full of books and piped Christmas music. Another step back from growing crowds and the unspoken urgency in the aisles and in the queues.
Christmas that seemed clearly in my grasp a minute ago slipped out of my hands.