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November 22nd 2009

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    Some years ago I started to keep my glasses on a cord looped around my neck.  This is not a look a younger man might aspire to.  Nor is it a fashion much seen outside those places where grannies gather.  But I like to think of it as a strategy, rather than a statement because I have found that the worst thing to do is to throw caution to the wild winds by taking the glasses off my neck and putting them somewhere safe.

    There are inevitable problems.  Sometimes while brushing my teeth I'll lean across the sink and I'll spit out peppermint residue directly onto my glasses.  Sometimes I find they have hooked themselves onto something I am carrying and we are all so tangled up with each other I have to use pliers to bend things back into shape.  And sometimes I try to avoid these sorts of problems by carrying my glasses across my back where they often get lost.

   The current pair of glasses are in every respect venerable.  We have been through much together, and they have now begun to politely enquire into the possibility of retirement by falling off my nose whenever I look down.

     

    

    I use the enormous bookshop in the big town an hour or so west of here as my optician.  Near the greeting cards they have a wonderful selection of reading glasses.  And it is always a joy to browse the frames, try them on without the awfulness of professional help.

    There is though a growing and yet classic disparity between my left eye and my right eye.  And presumably one day I will have to go elsewhere for arbitration.  

    But in the meanwhile my current glasses can contemplate retirement amongst the gathering of spares which cluster around the radio near the work table.  There they can gossip like old soldiers.  Discuss scratches and lost parts and perhaps succumb to the delirium of post traumatic stress when I reach too close to any one of them.    

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tim candler

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