There is a barbers shop in London’s Fenchurch Street that combines old-fashioned gentlemen hair dressing and modern metro man grooming.

Recently, I was passing by with an hour to spare before my next meeting and seeing the shop was not busy, I stepped in and asked for a quick haircut. Not being endowed with a lot of hair, the barber could see I was not going to represent him with a technical challenge so he was happy to oblige. After snipping and trimming for a few minutes, he felt duty bound to go the extra mile and groom me further to make it worth my while spending my money on his services. He applied lotions and potions, trimmed the odd stray hair and even gave me a quick head massage; all very nice and pleasant. Then came his “piece de resistance”.

He took out a pair of surgical scissors, wrapped a generous amount of cotton wool round the tip, sprayed the cotton wool with some alcohol and set fire to it. As the blue flames wooshed up, he swooped the flames round my left ear, thus setting fire to those pesky hairs that suddenly show up on men’s ears when we reach a certain age.

To say I was shocked and scared is to put it mildly. My ear caught fire momentarily and then every thing went quiet. As I examined my ear for blisters or evidence of melting, he repeated the procedure on the other ear. I was too shocked and startled to react in anyway other than to sit there and watch my ears set on fire for half a second at a time. He then brought a nice warm towel and cleaned my ears and pronounced me fit to leave his emporium.

Crazy as it may seem, one day I will go again and ask to have my ears set on fire but not before taking out personal injury insurance first.