Apparently I talk a lot, more than is healthy for anyone within a few yards of me. I never really noticed that I might be causing any problems or distress (!) for anyone until some months ago when my sister-in-law Margaret (pictured above with Trish and myself) stayed for a few days while Trish was in hospital.

Apparently I was rabbiting on too much for Margaret’s liking, so when Trish said that Margaret had pointed it out, I was just a mite upset.

Well, I decided the best thing was to take action. So that evening after visiting poor Trish I arrived back home and bombarded Margaret with a bout of silence. Not a word issued from my lips.

Eventually, she commented about why I was so quiet!! So I told her. In fairness, she saw the funny side, but the whole thing did make me reflect a little, and she’s right. I probably do chat too much.

I suppose some people would say I talk a lot of tripe anyway, but the truth is it goes back to when I found it difficult to connect with girls. I used to think that if I stopped talking I might never say another word, so I prattled on and on. God knows why I did since most of what I said was probably nonsense.

The first time I met my wife Trish I was afraid to stop talking so I droned on and on, pouring out my life story and barely giving her a chance to get a word in. I’m sure many of my former Irish Examiner colleagues think most of what I said was rubbish anyway, but you can’t please everyone.

I can’t help myself. You see, my mother – coincidentally called Margaret –  is a great talker. She’d talk for Ireland, and when I meet up with her the words pour in torrents from her mouth: opinions on the election aftermath;  the unfairness of the taxation system on her, a poor widow; the weather; my weight. She has a view on everything, and it takes a lot of willpower not to interject too much, because she is my mother, after all.

I’m sure they were offering novenas up when I left my last job, and the silence must have been deafening when I walked out the door. Now I’m in an office with two women who are just finding out that I chat a lot. This should be fun!