Got to admit it’s getting better

Tuesday February 15, 2005

We both had a rest-up day today, me from my long sleep and Graham, rather more justifiably, from his long journey. It’s a sad fact of our long railway heritage that it still takes six hours to travel from South Wales to Lincolnshire while the train journey from London to Paris is done in less than two. I suppose that, if I were an assiduous researcher I’d find out the distances before making the comparison but I’m not. Not an assiduous researcher, I mean. All I have to go by is the strictly subjective measure by which I walk so that’s the only one that really matters to me, the one I’ll stick with. And by that measure, if Paris isn’t further from London than South Wales is from Lincolnshire, it jolly well ought to be.

I pottered out into the garden, camera in hand, seeking something of natural interest. Not a lot, one infant crocus, bright yellow but deep inside a thicket of dead stalks, and a tiny cluster of snowdrops, needing several years of undisturbed growth before they can rightly claim the dignity of a clump. Not being terribly bendy today I had to resort to stooping and holding the camera at arm’s length, pointing hopefully at the little blooms, relying on instinct to acheive an adequate framing. Failed on the crocus, but managed to secure a perfecly acceptable snowdrop shot.

For a week or two I’ve been bothered by a haziness in my right eye. Just what you want when you’re turning a large chunk of your creative interest over to the visual arts. Dark panic seized me, I confess it. I was resigned to the need to go for a consultation if it didn’t improve but needed some time yet before I could build up my determination to the point where I was able to contemplate making an appointment.

Today, peering in the mirror and failing once more to see anything wrong, I had an untypical flash of inspiration and turned to my shaving mirror, flipped it over to the magnifying side I use for stubborn whiskers, and regarded the offending orb. Darn it. Nothing wrong with the orb. It’s my eyelashes. All my life I’ve been blessed with stubbly, almost invisible eyelashes, discrete, modest, and no trouble at all. Now, all of a sudden, the perishin’ things have taken a mind to grow, and to grow in a completely unhelpful direction, right down across my eye.

“What do you do with over-grown eyelashes?” I asked, as if Graham should know about these things anymore than I do.

“Brush ’em out of the way.”

“What, you mean with a mascara-type brush?” I asked, slightly horror-struck at the prospect.

“Nah, you silly old sausage. Just lick your finger and brush ’em up.”

“Oh,” I said. “I’ll go and try that.”

Do you know, it worked. It worked a treat. My eye returned to its somewhat less than crystal clarity, the kind of clarity that’s all you can expect after sixty-five-and-a-half years of hard usage. My fears disappeared in a flash. “Well, I’ll be b*-ed,” I muttered, thinking there was no-one there to hear me curse.

“Told you so,” Graham said from the bathroom doorway where he’d been standing watching me with great amusement. “I’d have thought anyone would have known that trick.”

“Only those with eyelashes,” I protested. “I’ve never had them before.”

“All part of life’s rich pageant.”

“That’s probably the silliest thing you’ve said since you came home.”

“I’ll have to try to do better.”

“Can’t wait.”


Stickford, Feb 15,'05
Snowdrops in my garden



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