I have recently acquired a film projector.

It's some time since I last tinkered with such devices - in fact, about 70 years, when I accidentally stumbled on an antique model, covered in cobwebs and dust, in the attic of an old Portsmouth pub.

Known then as a magic lantern, the handsome mahogany box came complete with brass cylinders holding the lens and a huge lightbulb. I managed to get the thing active and was busy watching images of Felix the Cat one evening, when I became distracted by the call for dinner.

Forgetting to turn the lantern off, I came close to successfully burning the property down. This would have saved the Luftwaffe the task a month later, when they torched the whole street with incendiary bombs.

With no cooling fan, it was inevitable that left unattended, the celluloid images jammed in the viewing frames would catch fire.

Fortunately, when the smell of burning paintwork drifted downstairs my mother staved off disaster by smothering the combustion with buckets of wet sand, conveniently placed around our home awaiting the nightly air raid, when incendiary bombs might drop in as unwelcome guests.

Ah! Those were the days, when there was more action-packed excitement in the evening - thanks to Jerry - than merely watching telly.

Running an electronic projector has meant learning new management techniques.

No more amateurishly painted scenes on glass or acetate, requiring delicate handling while tediously loading slides back and forth. Instead, I've had to come to grips with swiftly transferring Jpeg images directly on to the screen via an iPad, using an iPhone as a remote. It's very confusing for the dithery and I can only thank my stars that my caregiver has been at hand to make sure the right plug goes into the correct interface.

Ironically, my new projector's first outing - strutting its stuff - was in one of the ancient Dickensian boardrooms of the Northern Club, an environment into which my original magic lantern would have merged seamlessly.

While setting up the equipment on the clubroom's stately leather-bound Victorian table, I became aware of a warning notice on the plastic casing's lens cover, advising me to be cautious about the possibility of over-heating and exploding projector bulbs.

Suddenly, I thought I heard a ghostly voice cackle in my ear: "Better make sure you've got some buckets of wet sand handy, you dozy boy."