“It’s really quiet,” said the proprietor of Oxford’s best falafel stall when I popped over to buy lunch last week. It is even quieter now.

Meanwhile, my wife e-mailed friends to ask if we could help: both of them are doctors and they have three children and a parent undergoing treatment for cancer. “Thanks. We will be in touch,” came the reply. No time for more. It may be quiet for the falafel man, but not for them.

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