I was hoping a gentlemanly phone call between us could extend the arrangement for another year. But my brother has been elusive of late and my anxieties were confirmed when news came through from my sister that the two year old moratorium on buying Christmas presents is over. The womenfolk of the family have seized their chance; I am doomed to a miserable weekend in and out of shops. The mind a blank, that haunted look in my eyes. There must be something, there must be something.
The best presents, of course, present themselves. And they tend to do so at a time of their own choosing, rather than the narrow window of a cold and hostile Saturday afternoon in late December. But such inspiration appears rarely for me, for reasons I should perhaps reflect on a bit harder. In the same way I might want also to reflect on what it means about the people I have in my mind when it does.