I used to have 20/20 vision. For someone who had always seen everything in perfect, precise focus for the first forty-eight years of my life, becoming rather short-sighted is challenging. Last Friday my FAB hubby and I had our eyes tested to see if we can still see stuff. I had realised that my arms were simply not long enough to see the ingredients lists on the food packets when I go shopping and for someone with an allergy to black pepper, it’s kind of important to be able to read those ingredients. I had made do, of course, with asking friendly fellow shoppers to read the lists for me, but frankly felt increasingly foolish, so eventually, about four years ago, I took the plunge and now wear reading glasses whenever I need to see stuff. Which is surprisingly often.
We have a high-street chain of opticians here in the UK, called ‘Specsavers’, who’ve had an amusing advertising campaign running for a number of years, which some of you may be familiar with. The tag line is ‘Should’ve gone to Specsavers’, which is catchy enough, especially when it follows the thirty-second video of the elderly shepherd who accidentally shears his collie, in the mistaken belief that he’s a sheep. Oops! And there’s another one where a man goes into a sauna, dressed in nothing but a skimpy towel; when he sits on the bench, his hand comes across a knobbly, firm carrot, which sets him a’wondering… then the steam clears and he’s in a fully staffed kitchen. Oops! … you get the idea.
I had a little look through some of my old photos and came across a few pictures that I think could also be used in this campaign… each with the tag line above added.
Yep, they could all audition and work well.
I’m mentioning this because this morning my teenage son realised that his parents are not normal. Probably more particularly, his mother is odd. Now, you and I could have told him this already, but being good teachers, we know that children learn best when they find things out for themselves, so let’s pat ourselves on the back fairly heartily today – we’ve achieved something!
How he came to this conclusion this morning is as follows.
Whilst waiting for the porridge to cook on the stove, I decided a momentary sit-down was in order. After all, it was 6.40am and I had been up for all of ten minutes, dragging said son out of his pit and into the shower and then organising pans, oats, milk and heat sources can really take it out of you when you’re an old lady. So, whilst sitting on the sofa in the family room my eye wandered around, as you do.
‘Ooh, I really should get the duster out this morning and clean that TV table!’ was the first thought that popped into my head. It wasn’t quite as cohesive as that, nor as esoteric. In fact I’m not sure that you could actually describe it as a real, whole, proper thought, but let’s pretend for now that I have my wits about me enough to actually think something as lucidly as described.
And ‘My goodness, that’s a load of conkers!’ was my second. Ditto above.
The gathering of the conkers, or horse chestnuts as some may know them, has been going on for a few days now. My FAB hubby disappears for a few minutes and I have to listen carefully in case there’s a distress call from the front garden, indicating that the magnificent horse chestnut tree there has managed to get one on target, dropping its produce squarely upon his bonce. It hasn’t happened yet, but it’s probably just a matter of time. He usually comes bustling in with another bagful of bulging conkers exclaiming ‘These have all dropped in the last thirty minutes! I swear that as I bend down to pick some up off the ground, there’s a ‘thwack’ behind me and when I turn around there’s six more dropped just where I was, only seconds before! I’m dicing with Death here, so I am!’ he declares, just to stress how essential a job it is that he’s doing, collecting these autumnal goodies to bring in for us to use.
We aren’t really sure what to do with them all – at first, the plan was just to use them to make sure the house remained a spider-free zone, as we’d heard that one sure-fire guaranteed way to deter arachnids from roaming around your house willy-nilly is to place a bowl of conkers in the corner of the room. They can’t stand them, apparently. So far, I’d say this is very likely to be true, as for the past two nights we’ve had our TV viewing interrupted as gigantic arthropods have scuttled at warp-speed away from the bowl of conkers placed thoughtfully behind the log basket – clearly that’s been their residence of choice hitherto and it’s like living next to a toxic chemical factory for them I suppose. Not quite the desired effect as ideally, I’d rather them not BE in the house at all – there’s plenty of room for them outside!
And yes, Lisa Dingle, I too had to look up the word ‘arthropod’ which is a generic term:
noun 1. any invertebrate of the phylum Arthropoda, having a segmented body, jointed limbs, and usually a chitinous shell that undergoes moltings, including the insects, spiders and other arachnids, crustaceans, and myriapods
And Lisa, you might also have noticed my use of the word ‘willy-nilly’ above, which I specifically chose because I know it will tickle your fancy. Well, I suppose willy-nilly might tickle a few people’s fancies, but I digress. How very unusual!
Anyway, back to the sofa, where I am ensconced (OK… yes, Lisa, I have my dictionary open and am prepared to use it!) in my early-morning befuddlement, awaiting the appearance of son and the beep of the timer to tell me the porridge is ready. I’m lolling my head around, not really looking for anything to focus on at all, when my eyes come to rest upon an ovoid oddment lying on the floor by the TV. Lying around, untidily I might add.
I should also tell you at this point that the TV is about six feet away from Merlin, the door that opens out onto the patio (you may recall that all my outside doors have names).
Like I said… you’d have thought my son would have realised his mother is cracked in the head a long time ago, wouldn’t you?
Earlier this year, back when the strange yellow orb in the sky would shine forth with all its might – we called it ‘Summer’ – we had a small problem with butterflies and other outdoor creatures thinking that indoors might be a nice place to explore. We’d found a number of silvery trails upon the mat, indicating that several snails (or worse… Brian’s, which is what we call slugs around here) (don’t go there…) had also been exploring in our family room. Heck, they may have even thought ‘This is a nice family room! We could raise a lovely little family of snails here!’ But, again, I digress.
The mat then, that lies directly in front of Merlin, is but a few feet away from the spot where I now spied this strange, ovoid oddment.
Plus, it was a bit dark here, under the radiator.
Of course then, given my state of tiredness, the darkened location and my generally failing, ancient eyes, my assumption that this was a snail was perfectly valid.
Utterly and completely within reason.
Not crazy-cat lady-like AT ALL.
Toby didn’t see it like that. That’s because HIS eyes are sixteen years old and were made by me, who as you also know, is a perfectionist. So of course he has great eyesight.
‘It’s not a snail, you numpty!’ My FAB hubby declared as he bent down to pick it up, ready to throw it out onto the lawn.
‘It’s a conker shell’.
Well, yes, ahem.
It’s an easy mistake to make.