- Call me ungrateful but I was a bit miffed by Redheads matches' tendence to start fires. View large

Dear Sir,

I was going to write to you. Then I wasn't. Now I am.

Not unsurprisingly, what was behind all this indecision was your matches.

Recently I have been finding that when I strike a match, moving the head away from me in the time honoured safe manner, a bit of the match, aflame, heads off in the other direction. Now it does not require a bevy of bright eyed, knobbly-kneed scouts with compasses and maps to figure out that the opposite direction to 'away from me' is towards me.

This was giving me the irrits. I decided to write to you.

I mulled on the letter for a few days and the matches were so-so during this time. Sometimes they attacked, others they were docilely compliant. Lethargy being what it is, my interest in writing subsided. Oh, why bother? I thought.

Yesterday, when lighting the gas to make some of my legendary salmon cakes for dinner the match let rip with a flaming meteor of biblical proportions. This would have been bad enough but the little incendiary landed in my beard.

I guess I should be glad that the smell was worse than the damage. But the smell was bad. Happily back burning was not required and after a brief water-bombing sortie in the form of the kitchen sink tap, order was restored. But the determination to write has become irresistible.

Your outer wrapper says "Redheads - when safety and quality count".

So when does safety and quality count? And why not now?

Yours aflame,

J. Cosmo Newbery.

REPLY: This was one of those occasions when you strike a live one. Only fitting for a match company. The reply came from Gab Aghion, Redheads Brand Manager and included a variety of Redhead match types to try:

I took the liberty of forwarding your letter to out crack psychoanalysis match striking department, and I include their reply below:

J Cosmo Newbery can be classified in the atypical subgroup of bearded, salmon cake baking males who exhibit literary prowess combined with a sense of humour. Another commonly observed characteristic of these individuals is passion. Passion for food, hair and flamboyant customer complaints. In addition, we have identified a possible correlation between passion and the application to life (including application of matches to matchbox striking surfaces). Passionate, hairy, salmon cake baking literary humorists might have an underlying repressed anxiety which leads to applying additional pressure on match striking pads, causing flying heads to be projected in the opposite direction. it is best remedied with a thicker, more durable match splint.

'Redheads - when safety and quality count'. They always have and will count. And to this end, part of my daily tasks includes placing the Redheads lady in front of morning ABC television to ensure that Sesame Street corrects her innumerate ways. It appears that additional viewing is required.

A thank you was most definitely called for:

Thank you for the reply to my letter; it was truly matchless.

No mean feat when accompanied by various sized matches.

I must report that the salmon cakes were indeed well received, as was only their due, but the beard is no more.

This is not a result of injudicious back-burning but just the normal state of affairs as the summer slack season ends and the normal, though deceptive, air of respectability returns to the Newbery head.

Thank you for the various matches. I shall research their efficacy but, at the current price of salmon, I shall substitute my now famous zucchini pancakes.