As far as I’m concerned, candles are heaven scent

Despite being – in most ways – completely rubbish at being a woman (no interest in handbags, shoes, fashion or Sex and the City) I do like a nice candle.

In my experience, the only time a man burns candles is if there's a black-out and they can't find a torch or if they've invited you to their house for dinner, which is longhand for 'sex'.

Women, on the other hand, love a candle. We can't get enough of the damn things, especially if they come in a nice glass jar thing and with the kind of price tag that makes your eyeballs melt.

I've got shelves full of them. I even have one that has the scent of an open fire, which I keep in its nice glass jar thing above a real open fire which, I have noted, smells less like a real open fire than its candle cousin.

My excuse is that I have an incredibly over-active sense of smell, which has to be compensated for by ensuring that nice smells envelop me whenever possible. At work, I am legendary for regular perfume spraying (imagine my popularity) and for knowing what will be on the menu in the canteen the day beforehand.

Once upon a time, I used oil burners until I realised they were a bit too much like hard work: for a start, they require those silly little tealight candles which everyone buys in bulk from Ikea. Those candles are an offence to proper candles and I shun them.

It appears that I've made the right choice: fire chiefs are investigating a spate of unexplained fires thought to have been caused by essential oils.

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Apparently, towels and linen cupboards have been spontaneously combusting thanks to their owners' obsession with misting them with essential oils. Pine and lavender may be very soothing on your bed linen or towels, but I would think this might be cancelled out if they then cause your house to burn down.

'It's hard to believe that fire can just break out in a pile of fabric, but we have seen a great deal of damage caused by this type of blaze,' said a fire service spokesman.

On the plus side, tackling such fires must be strangely relaxing (and do they smell more, or less, like my 'Real Fire' scented candle? I'm off to set the linen cupboard* on fire to find out, and if it does, I want a refund).

* I do not have a linen cupboard. This isn't the 1940s.