Whenever my brother calls from the UK, I settle down for a long session as he takes a long time for him to get into his stride and get to what he actually phoned for. Because men, unlike girls, don’t just phone to chat. After about forty minutes of small talk, family news is exhausted and I can’t think of any more questions to ask – I need to do this or else there will be a period of long silence, by which my brother seems unperturbed but which fidgets me a lot and makes me (guiltily) want to say my goodbyes and get on with something else. When I finally ask if he should not be doing the same, he confesses that he has got to submit his tax return, but hasn’t done any admin for the last six months and so has a mountain of work to get through before pressing the ‘Submit’ key on his computer – which he calculates he can just manage to do one minute before the final deadline. This will prove a moment of supreme satisfaction for him but in order to execute it, he must first push himself to the edge of the remaining time factor. Hence the phone call.