My mum is quite elderly and has a vivid imagination, so when she called me in the middle of the night to say she’d heard a voice speaking to her, I was sceptical.

“Something’s wrong,” she said. “Every so often I can hear someone saying, ‘Hello Valerie.’”

I told her she must have been dreaming and to go back to sleep. But she called back a few minutes later, clearly worried.

“The voice is still speaking to me,” she claimed. “It’s saying, ‘Hello Valerie.’”

At this point my husband, who was quietly cursing at having been wakened, realised what it was – the automated voice in my mum’s smoke detector saying, “Low battery.’”

Submitted by Ann Barnett

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