Elspeth is dead. She'd been in residential care for the past year.
The call came at 8:40am - the mobile said 'Dad', and I knew before he spoke.
'Bit of upsetting news, son.'
'Go on', I say.
'Your -', he wasn't clear - emotional, 'Y' grandma died this morning - died in her sleep - in the home. We were with her, like.'
A pause. 'Mm. You alright?'
'Aye - we came up in the night - Matt brought us.'
Bleary eyed in a Manchester hotel room, 'I'll be up later', I say.
'Y' don't have to come up straight away.'
'I'll phone you later.'
'Aye, do that. D' y' wanna speak t' y' mam?'
'Hello?' she whispers.
'Ye-es, uh-huh. Died in her sleep.'
'Best way to go, really.'
'Oh yes - she didn't suffer.'
Didn't suffer. It's too early for me to hear the nonsense of that statement.
'I said I'll call later -', I say.
'Yeah, let things settle down a bit, here. Mind, y' don't have t' come up straight away.'
'I'll talk t' y' later.'
I think for a moment.
'Elspeth is dead', I say. And I'm remembering September 2002 - walking round to Ashford Street, after hearing of George's death. I remember a feeling of love, and of touch, and the colour purple.
It is now 11 hours later, and I'm on my third train of the day, heading east through West Yorkshire, writing this.