Hypnotism is a very useful skill for any pensioner to acquire and furnishes you with a simple and harmless way to induce bank clerks to give you large sums of money or persuade railway staff that your Kit-Kat wrapper is a valid first-class ticket for the Orient Express.

You should start by practising on naturally suggestive subjects such as art critics, burlesque dancers and fish, slowly swinging a fob watch or sedated reptile in front of their eyes while speaking in a softly mellifluous tone until they become cross-eyed and more or less inert.

After a few weeks, you should be able to induce a trance like state in the majority of people, although practising on teenagers, cats and people who regularly attend cricket matches may make it difficult to discern any change in their normal state of torpor.

It should be born in mind that people cannot be hypnotised into doing something which they would not normally do, so you’re likely to experience considerable disappointment and frustration if you try to persuade holiday-makers not to feed squirrels and seagulls or Tesco butchers to cut a piece of pork fillet in half.

Hypnosis is now a recognised alternative therapy and has proved particularly successful in helping people to give up e-cigarettes and nicotine patches, Gwyneth Paltrow liquid diets and pathological flossing.