I've just listened to a broadcast on Radio 4 where Paddy O'Connell was interviewing Professor Sir Al Aynsley-Green , the first Children's Commissioner for England .
They talked about the emotional upheaval of bereavement in losing a parent at a young age. During the conversation, which was endearingly frank and honest, Paddy talked about how they can't hear the telephone ring in their house without fearing the worst .
I felt as if I'd been struck by a thunderbolt of enlightenment. Blindingly obvious I realise , in fact so much so that it made me feel quite stupid. This must explain why in all these years I've been unable to hear phone ring without expecting news of a death or disaster.
Both of my parents died suddenly , prematurely and unexpectedly. On both occasions I was notified by phone . Is it any wonder that I can't hear that ringtone without freezing with fear and all the more astonishing that I've reached the age of 56 without realising this ?
This must account for why I never phone people, never answer the phone at home without letting it go to answer phone first and carry a mobile which is almost permanently out of charge, much to everyone's annoyance who has ever wanted to get hold of me.
Electronic mail has been my godsend. So, to everyone who has been infuriated by my lack of response by telephone, you now know why. You can always send me an email.