Saturday, 17 January 2009



Several years ago Dr Nostrum once bought a small torch and batteries from an 'Everything for a £1' store (almost nothing was a pound but, hey) or something like that, in other words an "It fell off the back of a lorry and it's all shit" store, although, interestingly they did have Brabantia Bins, which is either a comment on the bins or a strange wormhole issue.

The torch and batteries set was less than a pound with the unexpected bonus that the included AA batteries were Chinese, with a fabulous tiger painted on the side of them. It had less heft than one likes in a torch, or indeed a pair of false eyelashes or a robin's wing, being made of a thin red plastic bottom and a thin white plastic helmet, with a loose black plastic sliding switch (the colors of the flag of Iraq, Yemen, Egypt, Sudan and Syria, so perhaps I shouldn't have expected anything but trouble). There was a bulb, though I'm not sure there was a reflector behind it.

I inserted the batteries and pushed the switch on... Light! It Works! Then, it began to get quite hot and shortly after went out. The bulb looked fine, the batteries had stayed hot though, so I tried it with trusty Duracell's. Nothing. I checked the Duracell's with a fiddly battery meter and they were good. On removing the Duracell's I saw something inside, low down.

Pushing my finger in I could feel it was a piece of paper, but I couldn't quite get it out as I had no real purchase and just a pinkie's strength. Heading to the ever generous tool box that is the kitchen drawer I tried to find a suitable implement and settled on the flat handle of a desert spoon. Still no luck, the piece of paper was jammed in quite tight. From the real tool box the pliers fit in but didn't have room to open. I was forced to raid the girlfriends beauty bag and found some solid tweezers.

Firmly I grabbed the paper and with a few tugs out it came, slightly curled from the shape of the torch. It had some words printed on the back of it, I turned it round, flattened it and read "DO NOT REMOVE THIS PIECE OF PAPER"

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