Total failure can lead directly to great success.

That sounds like a famous quote doesn’t it? Some profound piece of wisdom from one of our great philosophers. But having just googled it, I can now assure you now, that it’s a Dr Anthony Roberts original.

The only person to have uttered these prophetic words is… me!

I feel I should stop here. Quit while I’m ahead. Say these words again - total failure can lead directly to great success - wait for the applause, take a quick bow and exit swiftly stage left.

But I can’t do it. I can’t walk away gracefully at the top. I’m like Muhammad Ali (a comparison people often make), I have to get back in the ring just that one more time. Dance like a butterfly and sting like a bee. Or in my case, prance like an idiot and sting like a flea.

I feel obliged to offer some explanatory words that have heralded this great announcement.

The actual total failure that led to my great success was not even mine. I call my mum every day in her nursing home by a video call that connects my smart phone to her tablet. What could possibly go wrong?

Anyone with even the most fleeting knowledge of digital technology knows the answer to that. Quite a lot.

However, to my utter astonishment, with only the slightest and most baffling complication that when I need to ring her, I have to do it through our teenage child Reggie’s iCloud account, which identifies me as “Daddy”, I usually manage to get through and my even greater amazement, sometimes it actually works.

All I have to remember is to pretend to be Reggie and masquerade as Daddy so I can speak to Mummy. Simple. Believe me in the world of technology there are more complicated workarounds than this.

But what often happens is that after about five minutes of chat the audio feed from her end completely disappears. In other words, she can hear me but I can’t hear her. Total failure.

Now there are often times I would like to apply this one way muting in ordinary life. Just turn off someone’s voice. Silence them by throwing a switch. But when I’ve called to speak to my mother and found I can’t hear her, well it’s damn frustrating.

So we’ve developed what we now call RADIO TONY! This is quite literally a one-sided conversation where it’s just me talking.

One day, out of sheer desperation and to add some variety to the reports of me cutting the grass (again), I turned to YouTube put one of her favourite songs on and mimed the words to her. It looks as if I’m singing.

Wow! What a hit! I’m really good at it. She loves it! So far I’ve been a quite outstanding mouthpiece for Frank Sinatra, Fred Astaire and yesterday I took on the persona of Andy Williams for an extraordinary rendition of the classic Moon River which I mimed to her without even knowing the words!

I’m a great success! Even if the audience is only one person. And that’s person’s my mum. That still counts.