Category Archives: Life goes on

Rats and opera glasses

It was on a sunny Sunday afternoon a couple of weeks ago that I spotted the little blighter myself.  His huge hairy brown backside swayed gently from side to side as he sauntered brazenly down my garden path in the broad daylight; his tail trailing casually along behind him.  He didn’t even bother to take cover in the shrubbery.  “Great”, I muttered to myself as I sighed in resignation and proceeded to fire up the laptop and google ‘pest control, Canterbury City Council’.  My irritation increased as the web page informed me that the council no longer offered a pest control service, and advised me to search under several accredited bodies for a reputable private service instead.

I should probably explain at this point that rats have been recurrent unwelcome visitors to my garden throughout the ten years that I’ve lived in my little house.  When I say ‘recurrent’, it could be worse – the last time my neighbours and I had to call out pest control was about 2012.  However, about a year before that we had a most unpleasant episode when they burrowed down (the rats that is, not pest control) and got into my neighbour’s cavity walls and up into his loft.  That frantic sound of scrabbling in the walls is not one which is easily forgotten, and my skin still crawls at the memory.  So clearly we don’t want that to happen again.

After spotting The Intruder (it seems appropriate to use capitalisation here), I became ever so slightly obsessed with staring out of the window whilst clutching a hefty baseball bat, ready to rush out and whack it over the head the second it had the audacity to appear.  Okay, so maybe the bit about the baseball bat isn’t strictly true, but the first part certainly is.  I’d already undertaken a meticulous examination of my garden and spotted the exact place where I suspected it was making its unwelcome and illegal entrance.  (Maybe I should build a wall there, and get the other rats to pay for it…)  In the absence of Rat Cam, I had to rely on my own dodgy vision to track the blighter’s movements.

A couple of days later, early in the morning, I spotted a suspicious looking brown shape loitering in the middle of my lawn.  As it was so early, I wasn’t wearing my specs.  I therefore grabbed the closest instrument of magnification I could lay my hands on, which just happened to be a pair of antique opera glasses.  I raised them to my eyes with trembling hands and baited breath and spotted… the blurry shape of a blackbird, pecking about in the lawn.  I exhaled, and then set about trying to sharpen up the image seen through the opera glasses.

I figured that the glasses must have been at the optimum setting for my eyes pre-retinal detachment.  I closed my good eye and looked through them using just my bad eye.  The image was very blurry, but surprisingly I managed to improve it by turning the little dial to the right as far as it would go.  Obviously it was still blurred as I was looking through my waffy RD eye which has silicone oil in it; but it was better than I expected and certainly better than when I just have my specs on.  I then closed my bad eye and tried looking through my good eye without adjusting the settings.  It was horrendous!  In order to get it back into focus, I had to turn the dial almost all the way to the left.  I then closed my good eye and opened my bad eye again, but was back to a blurry mess once more.  I tried to adjust the opera glasses so that I could get a decent overall image whilst looking with both eyes, but it was impossible.

At this point, I had to stop as the experiment was beginning to make me feel a little dizzy and queasy.  However, it gave me a greater understanding of why the optometrist had said that my vision in each eye is so unbalanced that it’s impossible to fully correct it with glasses.  It also made me wonder whether this unbalanced vision, coupled with the fact that I’m still apparently right-eye dominant despite the vision in my right eye being extremely poor, is the reason for my frequent headaches, which are sometimes accompanied by a slight feeling of nausea.

Anyway, I’m hoping that Rat Man (aka pest control) will be able to do his stuff and dispatch The Intruder swiftly, in the same manner that Hamlet disposed of Polonius.  At the cost of two full-price return train tickets to Moorfields, the service certainly isn’t cheap, but I guess that’s to be expected when hiring a hit man…

Looking out on the garden through a pair of opera glasses.

Rat-hunting through the opera glasses

Paintings for sale!

“What can I do to help my eyes?”, has been a recurring and increasingly desperate question put to various surgeons during my hospital appointments over the past couple of years.  To my dismay, I’ve always been told that there’s nothing that I can actually do, although there are certain things which are certainly best avoided (have a read of “Don’t get a head trauma”, if you’re wondering what).  However, one positive thing I am able to do is to fundraise for Moorfields Eye Charity, and this is the main reason I’ll be taking part in Eye to Eye again, in March 2017.  Although this isn’t helping my eyes directly, there’s a possibility that the results of research undertaken by Moorfields may benefit me in the future.  And if it doesn’t, at least I know that it will be helping other people suffering with sight-threatening conditions.  With this in mind, it seems like a good idea to have  a bash at selling some of my paintings and donating the proceeds to Moorfields Eye Charity.

Although I’ve sold a reasonable number of paintings in the past, I haven’t ventured down this route for many years.  Two of the little galleries which took my work have now unfortunately closed down, and the third has expanded into an enterprise which no longer has space for the likes of me, exhibiting work for sale at jaw-dropping prices by well established, proper artists who are actually able to make a living out of putting oil on canvas.  Selling work through galleries probably wouldn’t be the best method of raising money for charity anyway, as usually they insist that paintings are framed first (which can be pretty expensive), and they commonly take between 20% and 30% commission.  Having said that, nothing quite beats the confidence-boost of being contacted by a gallery with the news that a complete stranger has parted with their hard-earned cash in return for one of my paintings.

But I digress.  The point is that I now have quite a collection of paintings propped up against the walls of my spare room, which I’d be happy to part with in order to raise money for a cause which is very important to me.  I’m not going to start putting price tags on them as I was always hugely embarrassed at that aspect of selling my work and asked the galleries to price them for me.  A painting is only worth what someone is prepared to pay for it at the end of the day.  They’re all oil on canvas, and  if you hover over each image, you should be able to read the titles and dimensions.  If you’re interested in any of them, please drop me a message or an email, or just comment on this blog post.  Feel free to share, if you think others may be interested.  There are no prizes for correctly guessing which were painted before my retinal detachments and which were painted afterwards… 😉

Note: An explanation of ‘Eye Chart’ can be found in the blog post, Oil on canvas.

 

 

Christmas kindness and a criminal confession

I have a shocking admission to make.  It may be advisable for readers of a more delicate constitution to ensure that smelling salts are on standby, or at least a cup of hot sweet tea.  My confession is this: despite being an ardent admirer of nineteenth century English literature, I’ve never been able to get along with Charles Dickens.  I know… I know… [puts head in hands and sighs in shame].  In fact, my crime is heightened by the fact that I’ve never even been able to make it past the first few chapters of a Dickens novel.  Lord knows, I’ve tried.  I’ve attempted ‘Hard Times’, ‘A Tale of Two Cities’, ‘The Old Curiosity Shop’, and many more besides, but all have been cast aside with a frustrated sigh.

During my student days, studying a module in Victorian literature, the two lectures on Dickens were my only absences during the entire three years of my degree.  When gently asked by my English tutor if all was well, as she’d noticed my unusual absence, it probably wasn’t a great idea to admit that I detested Charles Dickens and that as I had no intention of writing an essay on him for either coursework or examination, I had felt that my time had been better spent in studying other authors.  She stared at me in consternation for a few moments but happily didn’t hold it against me.  I won’t go into the reasons for my dislike of the grandfather of Victorian literature as, after all, this is supposed to be a blog about retinal detachment, not literary criticism (although you might be forgiven for querying this if you read my blog post, ‘More than this…?’).  Bear with me, dear Reader, for I will get to the point eventually.  So said Polonius too, I seem to recall…

A few months ago I stumbled across the quote, “No one is useless in this world who lightens the burdens of another.”  Much to my amazement, it was attributed to none other than a Mr Charles Dickens.  “Oooo”, I thought, “I really like that concept!”  Personally, having been forced to deal with a life-changing eye condition on a daily basis, along with the constant worry of what the future may hold, I’ve found it very easy at times to become frustrated, low, and end up feeling generally useless in the world.  I suspect that this is probably true of many people dealing with a long-term serious health condition, regardless of what it is.  Additionally, as one prone to unwelcome visitations from Mr Pip, this sense of uselessness can, at times, be very much heightened.  Hence, I found Dickens’ quote to be hugely encouraging because basically it points out that there’s pretty much always something which can be done to make life a little brighter for someone else.  Even in the grimness of posturing there are potentially interesting conversations and ‘phone calls to be had, or dogs to encourage upstairs (have a read of Pondering Posturing, if you’re wondering what I’m going on about here).  I decided that I would make a conscious effort to remember this in my moments of gloom and acquired a simple framed print of the quote which now hangs on my wall as a reminder of this resolution.

When I came across a ‘kindness advent calendar’, the purpose of which was to encourage people to carry out a small act of kindness each day during advent, I rather liked the idea, and entered into the challenge with gusto.  Topically, being somewhat Scrooge-like about the whole ridiculous over-commercialised materialistic nonsense of Christmas, I regarded the kindness advent calendar as something of an antidote to these negative aspects of the festive season.  I’ve gone off-piste with the challenges and pretty much done my own thing, although I have used some of the suggested ideas as well.  My alternatives have included: donating books to charity, writing a funny poem to my sister (fortunately, she did laugh), baking shortbread to cheer up a colleague, posting a bottle of lavender pillow mist to a fellow insomniac, and many more besides.  I’ve found it quite satisfying – and occasionally challenging – to think of different things to do, and it has certainly offset the sometimes crippling feelings of uselessness.  Interestingly, the person who came up with the idea suffers from ME / Chronic Fatigue Syndrome.  In her blog, ‘make today happy’, she talks about incorporating acts of kindness into her daily life as a mechanism for aiding her recovery journey.  I think Charles Dickens would have approved.  Incidentally, after a fair amount of hunting around, I discovered that Dickens’ quote appears to come from his last completed novel, ‘Our Mutual Friend’ (someone please correct me if I’m wrong here).  I may need to locate a copy and have a last-ditch attempt at redeeming myself as a true fan of nineteenth century English literature…

More than this..?

Since my eye issues began, I’ve had to restrict a few activities due to visual discomfort of one form or another, or just basically not being able to see well enough.  For example, painting, watching television, driving long distances, driving in the dark, swimming, attending parties where there are likely to be flashing lights (it’s true that every cloud does have a silver lining), and… reading.  I used to read all the time.  I’d read whilst eating my breakfast (a somewhat dangerous occupation when needing to get to work on time), I’d read over a cup of tea upon arriving home from work in the evening, and I’d read in bed before going to sleep at night.  I’d easily make it through at least one novel per week.  This had always been usual practice for me, and I’m probably the only person who’s actually got into trouble at school for reading a book instead of joining in with games.

However, after multiple eye surgeries, reading became something which was no longer a pleasure.  I can no longer read with my right eye and I’m incredibly aware of the numerous floaters in my left eye, which dart mockingly from side to side as I move my eyes across the page.  Add to that the fact that my eyes ache a lot of the time and I have to ‘save them’ for my job, which involves a fair amount of reading and screen work, and it’s probably understandable that I pretty much gave up reading for enjoyment.  Of course, I still do small amounts, mainly in the form of the odd very slim volume, bits of poetry, and articles.  However, there’s only a certain number of articles about Brexit and ophthalmology research papers which can be consumed before intellectual indigestion sets in and a soothing dose of fiction becomes urgently required.

So, when one of my work colleagues suggested setting up a book group, I didn’t think too much about the logistics of it before replying enthusiastically, “I’m in!”.  We each selected a book, put the suggestions in a hat and pulled out one title for each month.  August’s choice was ‘More Than This’ by Patrick Ness.  There wasn’t an audio version, so I ordered a secondhand copy from Amazon.  It arrived a few days later.  It’s just as well I know not to judge a book by its cover, as it was a visual nightmare: black, with lots of white grid lines across it (a little bit like a macular degeneration chart gone horribly wrong), making the words difficult to focus on.  I was discouraged by its thickness and further dismayed by the relatively small font size, realising too late that I should have opted for the kindle version.  Upon reading the synopsis on the back, I was even more disheartened.  It reminded me of ‘The Lovely Bones’, which I read many years ago and detested with a passion.  I flipped the book onto its front to hide the visually disturbing white lines, pushed it into a corner of the kitchen worktop, and ignored it.

It wasn’t until a fortnight later and a particularly bad night of insomnia, that I espied it when I stomped downstairs to make a cuppa.  Sighing resignedly, I decided I may as well give it a go and stomped back up to bed in a disgruntled fashion, cuppa in hand and book tucked under arm.  A couple of hours later, I’d read about half of it.  I use the word ‘read’ loosely, for it wasn’t necessary to  read each sentence with close attention; skim-reading was sufficient.  After several more reading sessions a week or so later, I was done.  My delight at having made it through a reasonably thick novel was only slightly marred by the reading matter itself.

The first part of the book appears to focus on teenage emotional angst, with the narrative flitting between past and present after the main protagonist, Seth Wearing, drowns himself and wakes up, covered in bandages, in a strange new world.  It morphs, jarringly, into a sci-fi dystopian novel for the next part, with undertones of ‘The Matrix’, and from there meanders into a confused maze of repetition, littered with predictable ‘twists’ along the way.  Cue the highly unbelievable Tomasz and his heroic attempts to charge to the rescue of his friends, Seth and Regine again, and again, and again.  Then there was the Driver, an indestructible machine with some level of human consciousness; supposedly a figure of terror but one which caused me to metaphorically roll my eyes due to the predictability of his frequent appearances and repetitive actions.  Each time I read about the van’s engine starting up again (again being the operative word in this book), I almost wanted to top it up with fuel and shout to the Driver, “The accelerator’s the one on the right!”, in the hopes that it would speed the whole thing up.  Sadly, the narration merely stuttered, choked a few times, and then died, leaving me feeling somewhat baffled.  I had persisted reading, despite the overly simplistic language, lack of narrative structure, and unimaginative plot, because I kept telling myself, “Surely there has to be something more than this?!”  There wasn’t.  Upon reading the last few pages, I was reminded of the final lines of TS Eliot’s poem, ‘The Hollow Men’:

“This is the way the world ends

This is the way the world ends
This is the way the world ends
Not with a bang but a whimper.”

Canine eye removal

When my mum’s dog – my faithful posturing companion – started to develop a bit of a waffy eye one Friday in July, it didn’t create too much concern.  Both Gillespie and his brother Dizzy (I know, I know – my sister and I tried to dissuade our mum from making these name choices but she was having none of it) have always been prone to developing eye infections as a result of pollen or grass seeds and usually a course of eye drops clears it up fairly quickly.  So after a ‘phone call to the vet’s, it was established that Gill should simply be given the usual eye drops.  By the Sunday evening, my sister reported to me on the ‘phone that matters had worsened to the extent that his eye seemed to be covered by some kind of film and he clearly wasn’t at all happy.

Gill - posturing buddy

Gill, lying down by the side of the bed as I postured.

First thing on the Monday morning, Gill was taken to the place pet owners refer to in hushed tones, often only by its initial letter.  The vet (shhhhh!) diagnosed him with an ulcer on his cornea, which apparently could have been due to a number of potential causes including age, genetics, trauma, or a combination of all three.  He was also diagnosed with keratitis, an inflammation of the cornea.  This is a condition which can also affect humans.  It’s very painful and as it can progress rapidly and lead to loss of sight, it requires urgent treatment.  Gill was prescribed antibiotic eye drops and the vet instructed that he must be kept quiet indoors and return for a further appointment that evening to see how he was.  A makeshift dog hospital was created at my sister’s flat and all instructions were followed to the letter before she and my mum returned the patient to the vet’s that evening.  The decision was made to see how he did overnight and return first thing the following morning for further assessment.  My sister had already broken the grim news to me that if the drops didn’t work, he would have to have his eye removed – something which I could hardly bear to think about.  However, we took the fact that the vet was happy to see how he did overnight as a positive sign that things were improving.

Unfortunately, this glimmer of hope didn’t last long.  Shortly after their early morning trek to the vet’s the next day, my sister sent me a text to say that they’d had to leave poor Gill there for the operation.  Any surgery under general anaesthetic brings risks, but with a dog of Gill’s age (he’s twelve years old now), these risks are far greater.  So a few stressful hours of attempting to work whilst lacking any concentration whatsoever were spent, as we waited for a call from the vet.  Finally, I received the news that Gill had made it through the operation, which thankfully had all gone well.  He returned to the makeshift dog hospital later that afternoon, where he spent the next week being closely monitored and gently dissuaded each time he attempted to scratch his eye.

I visited that weekend, en-route to my own eye appointment at Moorfields.  My sister had already told me that in the area where his eye once was, it looked as if someone had been practising sewing.  So I approached with trepidation, choking  down the desire to wail.  Gill appeared to have no qualms as to how he’d be received in his newly disfigured state, as he bounded over in a slightly arthritic manner, tail wagging as usual, with just the odd unbalanced wobble, and attempted to climb onto my lap.  I inspected his stitches with dismay, but was heartened by the fact that he seemed almost back to his old self again.

Somewhat unbelievably,  we’d already experienced a case of canine eye removal a couple of years earlier.  My aunt and uncle’s dog, Wallace, had suffered from glaucoma for about six months before it worsened to the extent that he had to have his eye removed.  Although equally upsetting, it was less of a shock as he’d had the issues for a while before it became necessary to remove his eye.  The whole family has become used to ‘one-eyed Wally’, as my cousin affectionately calls him, and fortunately he’s adapted remarkably well.  He only has difficulty catching sticks and spotting people approaching from his blind side.  It should also be noted that ‘Wally’ is a shockingly inaccurate nickname as he’s actually the most intelligent dog I’ve ever met.

Hopefully, Gill will adapt just as well as Wallace.  He certainly seems happy enough, and his behaviour has gone some way to reassure me in the concern I voiced to my sister, “But what if he’s traumatised by having his eye removed and he can’t tell us?”  “I don’t think he is”, she replied, pointing out that he’s enjoying his food and likes being made a fuss of, and gets excited at the prospect of walks, just as he always has done.  When he went to have his stitches taken out a couple of weeks ago, the vet was very pleased with his recovery and said he’d done remarkably well.  The one thing which keeps nagging in the back of my mind is: what did the vet do with his optic nerve when he took the eye out?  When I asked my mum about this, she replied airily, “I expect they just fastened it off.”  “Fastened it off?!  Fastened it off?!”, I screeched in my head… “It’s not as if it’s a piece of electrical wiring – this is the nerve which carries information from the back of the eye into the brain!”  Maybe it’s a question for an ophthalmologist next time I speak to one.  Then again… perhaps it’s just better not to know…

Gill, a few days after the op

Gill, a few days after the op

 

To bed, perchance to sleep..? (Aye, there’s the rub!)

It was 5:32am and I felt exhausted by the doze / weird dream / wake / repeat cycle of the previous few hours.  I sighed the sort of sigh capable of extinguishing all the candles on a centenarian’s birthday cake in one go, before throwing off the covers and stomping downstairs in my pjs to put the kettle on.  Remembering that someone had suggested writing things down when unable to sleep, I headed back to bed with notepad, pen, and comforting mug of tea.  I propped myself up against the pillows and considered what to write.  A blog post about the frustrations of insomnia seemed pretty apt.

My sleeping patterns have always been somewhat erratic, with a few weeks of decent sleep being followed by a period of restlessness.  I went through a long phase of sleepwalking in my younger days  (my sister has several colourful tales to tell, but naturally I can neither confirm nor deny their truth), so disturbed sleep is nothing new to me.  However, sound sleep has been considerably more elusive since my eye issues began.  I think this is partly because of physical discomfort after so much posturing (see Pondering Posturing, if you’re wondering what ‘posturing’ is in relation to retinal detachment), as well as the continuing necessity to sleep only on my side or stomach.  I also wonder how much of it is caused by the odd visual effects which I can still see at night even with my eyes closed – the flickering and the ‘lava lamp effect’ and the line of the oil as I move around.  It seems fairly obvious that the main cause of my insomnia is stress, worry, and fear.  Fear of further sight loss, fear of further surgery and all that it entails, stress and worry of what may happen in the future.  This tends to be worse in the lead-up to appointments, and it just so happens that my next Moorfields appointment is imminent.

I usually manage to nod off initially without too many problems, but am frequently jolted awake by nightmares in the middle of the night.  I know I’m not alone in this, as other eye buddies have mentioned having nightmares of redetachments.  The other day, I awoke to the realisation that part of the vision in my good eye was obscured as I peered blearily across the bedroom in the early morning light.  My heart started to thump in horror before I realised that I was lying on my left hand side with my good eye pushed into the pillow, which was obscuring my view.  I can no longer sleep in the pitch darkness as when I wake in the night, I need to be able to open my eyes and focus on something, just to make sure I can still see.  In the six detachments I’ve had, it’s only been three of them during which, at some point, I had to go to bed either knowing that something was wrong or being afraid that something wasn’t quite right.  So that’s three occasions of going to bed with the very real fear that I might be getting up in the morning (obviously I don’t say ‘waking up’, as that would indicate that I actually managed to sleep) with less sight than I went to bed with.  On each of those three occasions, this was exactly what happened.  That fear has never quite been dispelled, and I’m not sure that it ever will.

I’ve tried all kinds of different methods to find something which eases my disturbed nights and gives me a more restful sleep.  Drinking a mug of hot milk, hot chocolate, or sleep tea; listening to soothing music; a warm bath; burning lavender oil; spraying lavender pillow mist; wearing myself out with long walks; practising mindfulness techniques; eating a banana (apparently it’s supposed to release some kind of sleep-inducing chemicals in the brain)…  I’m not really convinced that any of these techniques has a particularly noticeable effect, although I have reached the firm conclusion after extensive research that Teapigs Redbush and Honeybush Tea is the perfect soothing bedtime drink.

In an effort to help myself, I’ve read a fair amount on the subject of insomnia (it’s only a very foolish man who believes that the opinions of experts aren’t worth considering), and have encountered three broad approaches of how to deal with it:

  1. Go to bed only when tired.
    Whilst this seems pretty logical, I think my boss would have something to say on the matter if I sloped off home at 11:30am-ish saying I was going for a snooze.
  2. If you can’t sleep, get up and do something for a while, then go back to bed and try again.
    I do this occasionally, usually in the ‘later’ early hours when I don’t think there’s much chance that I’ll get any more sleep.  Sometimes – usually at weekends – I do occasionally manage to doze off again upon heading back to bed.
  3. Stay in bed and just rest, or use breathing / relaxation exercises to try and encourage a return to the land of nod.
    This is usually what I try and do once I’ve stopped checking for flashes and floaters and making sure I can still see.  Sometimes it works; sometimes it doesn’t.  Usually it just leads to that somewhat frustrating pattern of dozing, dreaming bizarre dreams, and waking again.

I’m thinking of trying a different technique next, in the form of alcohol.  One night I could try wine, the next night gin, then whiskey, then perhaps vodka…  If I’m still capable of coherent thought by the end of the week then I’ll decide which one works best.

The surprising trickiness of seemingly simple tasks

The cry of, “Oh, it’s easy when you know how!” no longer quite rings true.  Certain simple, everyday tasks now require considerably increased concentration to complete, which can be somewhat frustrating.  This also effectively demonstrates to all those people who blithely comment, “At least you have your other eye!” that there’s a very good reason for the fact that we have two eyes.  Relying on one ‘good’ or ‘better’ eye messes with our depth perception, and having unbalanced vision (for example, visual acuity of 6/5 in the left eye and 6/60 in the right eye in my case) can cause considerable difficulty in focussing on things at times.  If you don’t believe me, try closing one eye whilst performing some of the simple tasks listed below…

  1. Putting a key in a lock, particularly in lower lighting conditions.
  2. Pouring a drink.  Fortunately, I have pretty much got the hang on this now – it’s been a while since I’ve completely missed the edge of the mug and poured boiling water over the work surface.
  3. Walking up or down steps.  The number of times I’ve misjudged the edge or stumbled has made me particularly careful and considerably slower when navigating steps.  Plus, the advice of my second surgeon, “Don’t get a head trauma” still rings in my ears, amidst the fear of tripping and falling.
  4. Pressing the ‘hush’ button on the smoke alarm when it goes off.  This has the additional difficulty of having to look up and focus on the darn thing.
  5. Walking down the corridor at work when the sun is shining through the window right at the end of it.  My colleagues might be forgiven for thinking I’d had a heavy night, as I shield my eyes from the unbearable brightness and lurch towards the left-hand wall.
  6. Navigating through glass doors.  Or worse – revolving glass doors.
  7. Threading a needle.  I recently contemplated taking the needle and thread and banging on one of my neighbours’ doors to ask them to do it for me.  The fact that both neighbours are young guys, whom I strongly suspect may find this task equally difficult due to lack of practice, deterred me.
  8. Wrapping a present.  Although famed in my family for my neat and thorough (i.e. it can take the recipient a while to break into it) gift-wrapping, I now find myself carefully smoothing down the sellotape whilst entirely missing the edge of paper it was supposed to attach.
  9. Pruning plants in the garden.  On a regular basis, I find myself either carefully cutting through a portion of fresh air, or chopping off the wrong piece of branch.  (Shhhh… don’t tell my mum – she’s a keen gardener).
  10. Hunting for geocaches.  Several recent geocaching trips have highlighted the fact that certain caches can be quite difficult to hunt for with waffy eyes.  Generally the sort that involve putting my head in different positions in order to look for them, which tends to make the oil slosh about and floaters appear.

Fortunately, my eyesight issues didn’t cause any problems for me in managing to vote on 23 June, and I happily entered my cross decisively in the correct box.  It saddens me that so many other voters clearly had difficulties in performing this simple task, and I’m considering starting a petition that all those voters who haven’t had an eyesight test within the last two years should do so immediately and then cast their votes again…