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At some point in the chaos that was my house renovation, the builder asked me what I wanted to do about lighting in the kitchen. I was adamant that I didn't want spot lights anywhere. The builder seemed shocked, as if I was suggesting illuminating the room with candles. What did I want instead? I said, "You can put a massive fluorescent strip light in for all I care, I just don't want spots!"

Anyway, there are eleven spots in my kitchen. There are three more in the adjacent play room, which is open plan. Numbed as I was by months of builder talk, I can't really remember the process by which my builder persuaded me that this was a good idea, but I do distinctly remember him objecting to my assertion that I'd be forever changing bulbs. "These new bulbs can last for ten years!" he said, confidently.

In the five years since then, I have replaced every single spotlight at least once, and quite a few of them several times. We reached the point recently wh…

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