Why torches are a bright spot in my life

Marianne Gibbs thinks that torches hold a certain magic for children. Picture: Thinkstock

Marianne Gibbs thinks that torches hold a certain magic for children. Picture: Thinkstock - Credit: Getty Images/iStockphoto

Children love torches; they seem to think there's some kind of magic in them that makes them light up, and they really like being in control of the beam, shining it down the garden on a dark night, and into the back of cupboards to see what's there.

Reading under the bedclothes after your parents have switched off the bedroom light is a special delight. Harmless, yet it feels slightly naughty.

Last week I was listening to the radio when the presenter announced that his son had said to him 'Daddy, if I had as much money as you, I would buy myself a really big torch, so why haven't you got one'?

The presenter couldn't come up with an answer that satisfied his son so was planning to go out with him and buy one.

This got me thinking, because although I have a number of torches, I do not have a really big one either.


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What I've got are these: A really bright one that lives in my bedside draw. I bought this after reading Margaret Thatcher's account of the Brighton bombing and how frightening it was to be plunged into sudden darkness in all that awful mayhem. Ever since that night she had slept with a torch by the side of her bed. She also decided to always carry a small one in her famous handbag. I thought it a sensible idea to copy so now I do the same. I have often been grateful for having the one in my handbag as I travel a lot using coaches. Occasionally the light in the on board facility fails to come on. Out comes my trusty torch to save the day.

There is a tiny torch on my key ring. I keep my keys in my coat pocket when I go out in the evenings, and although I have the torch in my bag, I don't necessarily want to rummage for it in the dark while I'm walking home.

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Also, even though I have security lights that come on as I approach my front door, some times they go off again if I'm not quick enough to open the door. My mini torch highlights the keyhole and lets me get into the house without waving my arms about to get the security light on again.

I also have a torch hanging on a peg in my hall along with a whistle.

The idea being that in the event of a major disaster I will not only have light, but a means of attracting attention too. This may all seem a bit dramatic, but really its not, it's no different to having candles and matches ready in case of a power cut. I don't really give them a moments thought in my day to day living but they are there if I ever need them.

This brings me back to the question of why I don't have a really big torch.

The answer is I don't feel the need for one. Had I ever felt the need I would have bought one immediately.

And yet, ever since hearing that radio DJ, I have felt a yearning for one.

Is this the child in me? I don't know, but do you know what? Sometimes it's okay to buy something just because you want it, and for no other reason; so for my birthday I'm going to buy myself the biggest and best torch I can find.

It will probably be horrendously expensive, but so what, I want one, I shall enjoy looking at it, and I might even switch it on from time to time.

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