I could never go on Come Dine With Me. For some reason – perhaps to do with how it’s filmed – the dining rooms are always so unnecessarily bright, with the overhead light switched on. The overhead light was called the ‘big light’ in my family when I was growing up, and I consider it a sort of emergency light source, when there’s a broken glass or something that needs clearing up, and not at all appropriate for everyday – or everynight – lighting.
When I wander down my street in the evening, I’m alarmed by the number of front rooms I see lit up like office corridors. How unwelcoming and uncomfortable it looks in there, I think. Such harsh lighting ruins the mood, shows up too much detail. The big light is one of those great dividers of people. It’s candles and low lamps all the way for my guests and me. Would you have the overhead light on if I came to dinner at yours?