THE nights are drawing in which means my nemesis is lurking, ready to pounce from the shadows at the flick of a switch: The Big Light.

My dislike for overhead lighting is not to be trifled with. Some people hate the sound of nails down a blackboard. Others bristle at the feel of cotton wool. For me, it's a bulb hanging from a ceiling pendant searing my retinas on a dark autumn evening.

To remedy this, I have devised what could be loosely termed as a lighting concept, although that's perhaps too grand a term for a couple of table lamps and a cluster of flickering candles.

Still, it is cosy and exudes a certain ambience. Which is why, when my long-suffering husband turns on The Big Light, mumbling curses after stubbing his toe on the furniture amid the perfect murky gloom I have carefully curated, I feel quite justified in unleashing a banshee-like screech.

I shrivel away like a vampire caught out at dawn. I'm the witch in the Wizard of Oz screaming, "I'm melting …" I don't believe I'm alone in this aversion. Where do you think the saying, "Turn that light off, it's like Blackpool Illuminations in here …" – a phrase uttered by generations of sage Scottish women – comes from?

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It isn't merely a scolding because needless electricity is being wasted and the little numbers on the meter dial are birling round like there is a hyperactive hamster on a wheel trapped inside. It's because The Big Light is, well, evil. I can't put it any simpler than that.

Sitting in a room when The Big Light is suddenly snapped on is like being caught in a lighthouse beam. Staring directly into the sun. Being interrogated by nasty sorts who shine a lamp into your eyes to coax a confession.

I find myself involuntarily unbosoming secrets: "Aaaargh. I'll admit it. I was the one that ate the last Tunnock's Caramel Wafer. I also polished off the remaining Custard Creams. And yes, it was me who squeezed the toothpaste from the middle. I'm sorry for blaming the dog."

That said, I will grudgingly admit The Big Light is sometimes useful, say if, you slosh some red wine on the good rug and need to see better for optimal cleaning purposes.

But there's few things worse than The Big Light being on and catching a passing glimpse of yourself in a reflective surface, only to recoil in horror, wondering if you have always looked that hideous.

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My fondness of low lighting is not without its drudgery. There are times I feel it is myself, rather than Florence Nightingale, who should be known as The Lady with the Lamp(s) as I trudge around the house at bedtime switching them all off.

It's a bit like being a Victorian lamplighter – a "leerie" as they were known in the Robert Louis Stevenson poem – caught in a purgatory of my own making. We all have our crosses to bear.

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