I hate to be churlish, but whenever I receive an electronic greetings card, my heart sinks.

These e-cards ping up on your computer with amazing regularity.

On your birthday, at Easter, Christmas, on New Year’s Eve, New Year’s Day.  Some thoughtful friends even remember your wedding anniversary.  

The sender is being kind, showing that you are in their thoughts – throughout the year!

And they are clever, these e-cards.  Beautifully designed, the graphics are superb.

Walt Disney must be turning in his grave.  Or in his cryonic chamber, depending if you believe the urban myth.

Look, I’m being horrible, I know.  But when you’re busy, writing a letter, paying a bill or just trying to be creative, you have better things to do than watch a mouse running up and down a grandfather clock? 

How many times can I ‘ooh and ahh’ over a hatching egg, as eventually a darling yellow chick emerges. 

And as for the Harry Potter/Grimm Brothers-inspired old oak tree! 

Do we have to watch little twittering bluebirds rise and swoop and plummet incessantly until the gnarled lump of wood is transformed into a rose-clad thing of beauty.

I hear the ping, I see it’s an e-card and whom it’s from.  And I carry on with what I’m doing.

The trouble is, if you don’t watch the Easter Bunny or the flowering tree or the troupe of carol singers immdiately, you get regular pings to remind you that ‘Joe or Josephine Bloggs has sent you an e-card’.

Alright, when you do click on it, you can skip to the end.  But mean-spirited as I am, I do feel that is somewhat ungracious.

And then, when I eventually get round to clicking, I see:

Sorry, the card you are trying to view has been deleted by the sender.

And I feel terrible.  I’ve upset a thoughtful, kind friend.  Several kind friends.

And it explains why I never hear from them – not even an e-card…