Tuesday, 29 March 2011

The eyes have it. (part 1)

(from here)

Or in other words my eyes have had it.

Until recently I had the worst eyesight of anyone I’d ever known. I’m not sure why this seemed to be a sense of achievement but there was always an edge competitiveness when someone would say to me “Oh my eyesight is really bad” – oh you think so do you? Come on then tell me you stats – “-3.25” hahah I laugh at your good eyesight. I have won every single time I’ve played this game to the point where I’ve become a little cocky! Which is why I acted like a total tw*t with the one person who beat me. It isn't an achievement to have bad eyesight and I'm obviously not a nice person.

In my dim and distant past I can vaguely remember the day that changed my eyes and me forever. I was about 8, my family and I were sat in the kitchen having lunch when my Mum got up to get something from another room. As she returned to the kitchen she glanced sharply at me. “Look at me” she said, “I am looking at you” I replied, “look into my eyes”, “I’m looking into your eyes”, “look straight ahead” “ok”, “hmm, think we need to get that looked at”, “get what looked at?”, “its probably nothing”, “WHAT??”.

What my Mum had picked up was a very minor squint in my right eye, following a referral to the hospital I was put through my paces at regular appointments. The culmination of all these tests was an overnight stay in hospital, a general anaesthetic for an operation to tighten the muscle behind my eye. I then had to wear an eye patch (or a big sticking plaster) over my left eye to try to strengthen the right eye and make it work harder.

Some time after the operation I moved seats in the classroom, instead of being right beside the blackboard I was now much further away and things were getting a little fuzzy. In assembly I was responsible for putting the song words on the projector so sat right at the front of the hall. Following a disagreement with the friend who sat on the opposite side of the projector, I gave up my role and went to sit at the back of the class with my other classmates. As we were the oldest class, we were at the back (these were in the days when the whole school came together for assembly every single day). I couldn’t see the words. What with squinting at the blackboard, not being able to see the song words in assembly and the headaches that had started it was back to the optician where I was prescribed my first pair of glasses. Any child who wore glasses in the 80s will know that the choice was hideous, the glasses were huge and you honestly couldn’t get any more colour on to one pair of glasses if there had been an explosion in a paint factory – in fact it looked like there had been a paint explosion in the glasses factory.

I remember the first day in school wearing my new glasses, it happened to be my first day back at school after breaking my wrist. I was sat in the corridor while my Mum spoke to my teacher about how I couldn’t write with my right (broken) arm when a boy from my class came out into the corridor and saw me with new massive glasses and my arm in a sling – his response “what happened to you?!!”. Thankfully I wasn’t the only one in my class with paint explosion wacky glasses there were two other girls, who happened to be my best friends – I don’t think we’d have made it in a bigger school but back in the late 1980s we were there for each other with our hideous glasses.

As I got older and was given a bigger budget and more control over my choice of glasses I came firmly down on the side that my glasses should disappear - that is still my aim when I buy new glasses. Yes ok, they had to be on my face but they had to be as invisible as possible. So I got smaller frames, I got subtle tones that suited me, I eventually after some persuasion graduated onto rimless glasses – which I adored.
My problem is that my eyesight continues to get worse, I fail the test every single time and the number on my prescription keeps getting bigger. This means a lot of different pairs of glasses and a huge amount of money. In the last three years I’ve finally had to come to terms with the fact that I can’t have rimless glasses anymore, they just can’t thin the lenses any further to make them look good in a rimless frame – I cannot afford to pay for them to thin the lenses any further to put them in a rimless frame. I’ve therefore graduated onto a semi-rimless frame. 

I HATE shopping for glasses, I have to try on every single frame in the shop at least twice. I’ve learnt that I have to have teenager glasses or petite frames because the adult frames are just too wide for my face to cope with – this is quite a revelation because I have a very large head and can often not find hats to fit. I’m not sure how I’ve got such a big head and such a small face (I don’t think I look like an alien?!). I can also not take advantage of all these wonderful offers that opticians like to shove down your throat (yes I’m bitter), “oh you’d get a pair free with that”. No I wouldn’t, “oh but you would, we’ve got this fantastic offer on at the moment” no I can’t, I have to pay a LOT of money to get thin enough lenses for one pair of glasses and you think throwing in a free frame is going to make me want to pay that twice? Erm no I’ll not bother with your “free” pair. I don’t wear my glasses as a fashion accessory I wear them to be able to see.

I’ve married a man who is only just behind me in the short-sightedness race – blind leading the blind is perfect for us.

Tuesday, 22 March 2011

Friends and stuff

(from here via here)

This weekend was a rare treat full of friends.
 Friday I took the afternoon off work and dedicated my spare time to cake and chat.
Saturday, O and I walked into town and got some messages then came home and watched the rugby (the fact that I worked at the same time is beside the point).
Sunday we met up with University friends for lunch, it is amazing the bond that is formed through the terror of having just left home for the first time. Some of these friends I haven't seen since graduation 8 years ago.
Times have changed, the 17 year old boy who couldn't make a Pot Noodle now cooks everything from scratch. The shyest boy imaginable came with his wife and baby girl. It was amazing how quickly we settled in to the same old banter.
The strangest thing was revisiting our student haunts which are now different, full of new (very young looking) students and do not look good in the daylight.
Monday (we were supposed to go to O's parents for the weekend but changed our plans so we could make the Sunday meeting), we had a rare week day off together without any plans. The men came and fixed our broken skylight only 6 weeks after a huge gust of wind took it off the roof. We finally got round to booking our hotel in Rome and got lots of household admin sorted. It is rare that we have efficient days.

Hope you all had a good weekend.

Monday, 21 March 2011


(image by one of my family)

I'm not quite sure what I'm doing with the balloon, but given that this picture was taken Christmas day 1993 - anything could be going on.

In this picture I'm growing out my 'boy' haircut - not sure why that hairdresser listened to me when I asked for short hair. I think, I assumed that by making my hair shorter the curls would go away - no matter how short it will still curl! I had the curly mop haircut above in varying lengths for over 15 years until my current hairdresser insisted that I have much shorter layers put in. It was such an eye opener to no longer have triangular hair.

I still own the top I'm wearing in this picture - it is from the Guinness factory

I seem to have quite a few 'started' posts saved as draft but nothing that is fully thought through and ready to post.

I started drafting this post in November!

Wednesday, 9 March 2011

It's a book

I'm a very lucky lady and was given a kindle for Christmas. I love it, I love going away for a week and only having to carry the kindle even though I read three and a half books in that time. I love being able to buy and receive books instantly (I'm an instant gratification type of a girl).

I still love books, our overflowing book shelves are testament to that. I got my love of books from my parents, while staying with them we managed to spend a long time browsing through a book shop. My Dad, a local primary school governor, came across this book and bought it for the school. 

Kind of optimises modern day thinking on books.

I cringed when a colleague suggested buying a kindle for her 10 year old daughter. I just kind of think at that age you should still be enjoying the feel of a book and turning a page.

It's a book by Lane Smith (Amazon)

Monday, 7 March 2011

Salts Mill

Last week I had to attend a work event in Sheffield. Instead of staying the week in a hotel on my own I decided to save my employers some money and stay with my parents who live about an hour from Sheffield in Leeds.

It was lovely to spend some time with my parents, even if I did miss O (it has been a long time since we've been apart for that long). My course ended on Thursday and I decided to spend the day with my parents and travel back north on Friday evening.

We spent Friday at Salts Mill, a place we went to several times some years ago but had fallen off our radar more recently for some reason. 

Yorkshire and the surrounding area is full of huge textile mills but Salts Mill was special. Titus Salt opened Salts Mill in 1853, building a whole village (Saltaire) for his workers.The village included a church, school, park and an adult learning centre. Most mill workers lived in absolute poverty, the mill owners having little thought or concern for the welfare of their workers or the workers' families.

Salts Mill was lucky enough to fall into the hands of another forward thinking, community driven business man. Jonathan Silver, bought the Mill in 1987 and transformed it into a wonderful place of art, good food and shopping! Until he sadly passed away in 1997 Jonathan was an ever present supporter of the mill. I remember sitting in the diner having lunch while Jonathan chatted with his staff or came for a drink. The Silver family continues their support of Salts Mill in Jonathan's memory.

The third man that completes the Salts Mill story is David Hockney, who's art collection along with the works of other talented individuals lines the walls of the Mill. Currently on display on the top floor of the Mill is David Hockney's Fresh Flowers - the latest works of David Hockney created on his iPhone or iPad and emailed to the Mill.
We had a lovely lunch at the Diner, slowly strolled through the art galleries, the shops and spent and really long time in the book shop.

A most enjoyable way to spend a lazy afternoon. I would thoroughly recommend a visit. 

pictures from Saltaire Village