Please read carefully

No 4092 Set by Leonora Casement

Nicholas Lezard wrote in the NS about the instructions that came with his new toaster ("When toasting has finished . . . the toasted bread can now be removed . . ."). We asked you to try your hand at writing something similar for other household items.

Report by Ms de Meaner

Marvellous. A complete tonic. Hon menshes to Shirley Curran for her kettle ("Beware: contents may become hot when heated") and Frederick Robinson for his light switch ("After entering the room, press the light switch. When the light comes on, do not press the switch a second time until you wish to be without light").

£20 to each of the three winners below, with the Tesco vouchers going in addition to Adrian Fry for excellence beyond the call of duty.

Fruit bowl
To utilise this product, remove all packaging. Select a surface upon which your fruit bowl can reside (manufacturer's tip: a flat surface best enhances functionality of this containment system). Place your fruit bowl on your selected surface so as to create a concave structure capable of receiving and holding fruit. Place fruit (not included) in bowl. If the bowl is working correctly, your fruit bowl will provide a safe barrier between your fruit and the surface upon which the bowl is placed, while furnishing you with a continuous view of your fruit. Your bowl has been designed for ease of access; simply use continuous view mode to select your fruit, then remove the chosen item from the bowl with your hand or similar handling tool.
Adrian Fry

Egg slicer
Welcome to your egg slicer - the ideal tool for slicing eggs.
You can also use it to slice potatoes, beetroot and strawberries. Sound odd, when it's called an egg slicer? But it's true.
Please note:
Do not use the egg slicer while the egg is still in its shell;
Do not use the egg slicer on a raw egg.
We also advise against using the slicer on fried or poached eggs.
The slicer may be used to produce circles or ovals. Do not attempt to create a circle with the egg longways-on. Equally, do not try to create an oval with the egg sideways-on.
We do not accept liability for adverse consequences arising from misuse.
Nicholas Hodgson

Egg cup
Please note that this is not a reversible egg cup. It should be used only with the cup element uppermost, the stem vertical beneath it and the base in secure contact with a level surface, such as a plate, table or tray. The stability of the egg cup is not otherwise guaranteed.
You will generally find that the most satisfactory results are obtained by inserting the rounded end of the egg into the hollow of the cup, which has been expressly designed to fit it, with the more pointed end at the top. If not, an imbalance may be created.
Only boiled, shell-on eggs should be used with this egg cup.
It is not suitable for scrambled or fried eggs.
Basil Ransome-Davies

No 4095 On the record
Set by Leonora Casement
Housed at Sussex University, Mass Observation is still recording everyday life in Britain, collecting the thoughts of its writers through open-ended questionnaires ("directives") - and is used by the public, journalists, academics and students for its unique material. We'd like Mass Observation-style entries about an aspect of British life not "observed" before.

Max 125 words by 24 September


This England

Each printed entry will receive a £5 book token. Entries on a POSTCARD, please, to This England, NS, address on page 3

Faint yw hwn?
There's to be a warm welcome in the Island's hillsides for the two Welsh holidaymakers who say they were banned from a Shanklin gift shop for speaking Welsh. The Isle of Wight Council leader David Pugh and authority chief executive Steve Beynon - himself Welsh - intervened to offer Rosemary Dean, 60, and her sister an all-expenses-paid holiday. Cllr Pugh is planning to visit Grange Gifts, in Shanklin High Street, to talk to the owner Sue Pratley, who says she asked the visitors to leave after they discussed her stock in Welsh. “It is in my ward and I will have a chat with Mrs Pratley, although I don't want to get involved in a major diplomatic incident," he said.
Isle of Wight County Press (David Harling)

What a terrible noise
A church is facing a £1,000 fine for holding its services on Sunday afternoons. Council bosses say members of the New Covenant Pentecostal Church in central Manchester can pray until 12.30pm, but have outlawed their 2pm and 5.30pm services because of residents' concerns about noise.
Daily Express (F Harvey)

This article first appeared in the 14 September 2009 issue of the New Statesman, Where next?