Wednesday, 1 April 2009

Blast from the Past no 3 (see blog dated 1st March)

Reasons for Choice

I notice Gordon Brown recently lost a contact lense down the plughole. Like me he has one good eye. Like my wife he wears a contact lense. Unlike either of us, when he loses a contact lense someone else searches for it. Oh to be powerful and important. But let me show you the fun he misses!

'Eye, eye' dated Wednesday 18th June 2008. Yet another blog that elicited no respnse!

I had an uncle who had one of the earliest cataract operations in the country, not many years after the war. I only remember him having one contact lens. It was the size of a ten pence piece with one part raised and always reminded me of a sea shell. But best remembered was the fact that he used to clean it with Brasso, unbelievable but true. It must have surely affected the capability of the lens and how his eye never became infected is beyond comprehension. Though I do remember his eye was often bloodshot in the extreme.
I have one good eye, the left has very limited vision and has evidently been so probably since birth. Only I never realised until undergoing an army medical in the late fifties. (The proper army, honest, not the Salvation.) But it would explain why, having no three dimensional vision I was such a lousy batsman at cricket. The ball was often past me before I picked up its flight. (Plus being hit round the ribs frequently does little for your confidence; neither does a low pain threshold help.)
I was fitted, after tests involving space age equipment with a single (left eye)) contact lens by a knowledgeable optician. Eyes at the ready I thanked him profusely and marched out confidently, promptly colliding with the door frame, suffering mild concussion and one hell of an headache.
I persevered for many a month but eventually admitted defeat, having, I fear nearly put several cyclists on the nearside of my car into the nearest available ditches. What happened eventually to the lens I have no idea, it will probably turn up as the loft contents diminish.
Neither is my wife immune from eye problems. She was a young and attractive young lady when we first met, the owner of large round spectacles so befitting of the era. (In case she reads this, you are still attractive, my dear in spite of the passing years.) Self conscious, fashion conscious too, Paulette was talked into being fitted with contact lenses. Then the fun really started.
I often got the impression my wife peered into the distance rather than merely looked, like ordinary mortals. They, the lenses had to be found and inserted before any excursion, however small and even then you were never sure if they were in or out, so to speak. And if they ever did 'pop out' what followed could be stressful, pandemic and sometimes even entertaining.
The earliest search I remember was going on honeymoon. The car full of confetti, thousands of coloured pieces of paper versus one dropped lens. Result, confetti, five thousand; lens nil. One one eyed bride; one one eyed bridegroom.
One once went missing on a sand slide from the sand hills next to the beach near Cromer. "Stop, stand still" once again came the plaintive cry, "I've lost a lens." Again ten minutes of entertainment for all, including the children, bystanders and the dog. The latter incidentally particularly enjoyed the digging, spraying sand in all directions. I reckon he thought we were hiding it, not burying it. Result, ten million, million, million particles of sand, lens nil.
I did once recover a lens after yet another of my wife's mishaps. She lost it, in of all places the shower. At least we knew where it had gone, obviously down the plughole. From the drain outside I collected in the region of a dozen jam jars full of foul smelling, black, oozing, putrefying semi liquid filth. I patiently filtered the oozing substance. Every handful contained at least one beetle carcass that felt to the touch unbelievably like a contact lens. And, after an hours patient searching I got the little blighter. Triumphantly I returned my prize to my wife. Only she wouldn't reinsert it in her eye, not now, not ever. Rather a waste of my efforts, I thought, but in retrospect who could blame her after where it had been, though not in the same league as Brasso.
Contact lenses, at least the early ones often had the knack of adhering to clothes after they had fallen out. Walk around and you could redistribute them anywhere. The trick was to strip off completely, the wearer not the searcher and place your clothes in a neat pile. Then you could search diligently, the pile of clothes first and then the rest of the room. For under thirties it became a very interesting few minutes that could be stretched somewhat if you spotted the elusive lens but didn't let on, so to speak. If you happened to be in Woolworth's shopping definitely a good time was had by all.
We are older now and neither my wife nor I wear contact lenses. I normally make do, for reading at least, with pairs from Lidl, Aldi or Home Bargains, priced from ninety nine pence per pair. Prescription number 2.5 0r 3.0. You need to know this, Lidl's glasses are sealed and woe betide you if you open a packet to try them on. The Croation employee patrolling the isles of our nearest store has had lessons and can hear the rustle of a packet being opened from all of a hundred feet. I own never less than seven pairs at any one time and can nearly always find a pair when I need them. Strangely enough they are seldom less fragile than the ultra expensive pairs of driving glasses I buy from the opticians. For the arms fall off them all, they don't like you sitting on them and I seldom have both bridge pieces after a week or so.
So life goes on and we go along with it. But just occasionally I miss those searches for the elusive lens! There again we were young and foolish. Perhaps we had better stay with spectacles. What do you think.


Marian Dean said...

Missed this first time round then.
I have yet to sample the joys of a contact lens... I have enough trouble with glasses. I must say though I am all for cataract ops, I had two last year and I can drive without glasses now!!! I felt undressed for ages without them, but have got used now.
Love the blog. very funny images come to mind.
Love Granny

BeckyG said...

Excellent post, Ken!

I have to say that I've never stripped off in the middle of Woolworths in search of a missing contact lens ... and now I'll never have the opportunity. Oh dear, what a shame ;oP I wear glasses, but also have one coloured contact lens for my left eye that has some nerve damage so the lens doesn't contract. Apparently it's all very interesting to opthalmologists. Whoop-de-doo. It doesn't excite me quite so much.

I don't think I'll ever try cleaning my lense with Brasso. Doesn't sound like a good idea to me.


Annette said...

I wear glasses and I have to have a pair for reading now, Damn.
What a pain, keep taking one pair off and replacing them with another.At work, I keep the customers waiting not because of their query but because I keep having to swop bloody glasses.
It's no good keeping my reading glasses on because when I'm not reading I bump into everything, 'cause everything is a funny shape.
Just don't fancy contacts tho, to much bother!

Linda said...

My hubby misses being able to wear contact lens because his sight has worsened due to glaucoma caused by diabetes. He can't go diving when on hol as the poor thing can't see well enough to do so without his bins.

cheshire wife said...

Stick with the spectacles Ken. The right frames on older individuals make them look more distinguished.

Nota Bene said...

I used to wear glasses, then contact lenses...and now nothing as my eyes got better! In fact last time I went to the optician, they explained they didn't like customers like me as my eyes have stayed exactly the same for the last four years! So enough about's a shame they shut Woolworths so you couldn't do the stripping thing anymore

Grumpy Old Ken said...

Hi I will finish up with a cataract op but hopefully not yet.

Grumpy Old Ken said...

Hi Contact lenses have really come on since the old days.

Hi I always have around seven pairs (cheepos) and often cant find any unbroken pairs!


I too have diabetes. Look after him as I am sure you do.

Grumpy Old Ken said...

cheshire wife
Hi Don't think distinguished is my look but thanks all the same!

Nota Bene
Hi Unusual but great. Hope your luck continues. And oh to be young again if only for the searches. If we did it now the lens would get lost in the folds.