Amber Grace Carter, you are hopeless at speaking on the phone.
You’ve been at Grandma and Granddad’s in Hatfield for the half-term holidays this week, and as much as your mother and I love to hear from you in the evenings you have yet to master telephone etiquette.
Millie has – she’s realised the telephone is an audio-only medium and that you have to speak. She’ll tell us all about the trip to the cinema, the arts & crafts magazine she bought, who took up all the space in the big bed last night and what is planned for tomorrow.
Millie knows she’s effectively invisible if she’s not speaking.
You, Amber Grace, have an alarming tendency to go very quiet on the phone, so that most conversations consist of us asking “Are you still there, Amber? Hello?”
Few things are more terrifying for an English person than silence like that in a conversation.
“Was it something I said?” I ask myself. “Have I offended her? If I haven’t offended her then why is she leaving me hanging like this? Is it some kind of psychological interrogation technique? What does she want me to say? Just tell me what to say! WHAT DO YOU WANT FROM ME!!!!”
“What?” says Amber, at last, and I can hear Millie in the background saying, “They can’t see you, Amber; you have to talk.”