There is a great advert on TV at the moment. The “stars” are an elderly couple – a man and a woman – who have thankfully plonked themselves down on a couple of comfy seats, grateful to take the
weight off their poor, aged, legs.
They unpack their picnic and are both tucking into their sandwiches with evident relish when suddenly safety bars descend, pinning
them to their seats, and off they are whizzed on the scariest of roller coaster rides. At the end of the advert, the salutary reminder: “Should have gone to Specsavers”. It may be just our sad sense of humour, but it always makes Mr
B and me laugh.
Mr B knows better than to take me on a roller coaster. Once in our courting days (how quaint is that? Does anyone ever talk about “courting”
any more? If not, why not?) we went on a day trip to Southend, home of the Biggest Roller Coaster in the country. OK, I know it has been overtaken by bigger, scarier, roller coasters in modern times but back in the Early Sixties, believe me, this was The Big
Mr B, at his most charming, persuaded me that I had nothing to fear with him beside me, my White Knight in Shining Armour. Well, OK, in duffle coat and Beatle
haircut. The ride began. All around us, girls squealing in mock terror at every twist, turn and downward plunge. Me? I sat petrified, unable to whisper, let alone scream. My face, apparently, was as white as the proverbial sheet. My gallant boyfriend
thought I was about to have a heart attack.
It was an Object Lesson he has never forgotten. On the occasions we have been to Disneyland, he takes himself off on
the Scary Rides and never, ever seeks to persuade me to tag along with him. That’s fine by me – never let it be said that I would stop him having fun.
While his days on the Scary
Rides are probably numbered, he can boast that he has ridden The Big One at Blackpool. I wasn’t there to witness this Feat of Fearlessness as he was in Blackpool on a golfing holiday at the time. One of his mates, who had been on The Big One before,
persuaded all the chaps to take the plunge. Accordingly they all paid the (exorbitant) price and were strapping themselves in when they noticed that friend Nick was still on the ground. “What are you doing down there?” they called out to him
– to which Nick responded: “Don’t be silly. I’ve been on it once, there’s no way I’m doing it again!”
Anyway, back to
that advert. It happened to coincide with the latest letters arriving for Mr B and for me, advising us that it was now well over two years since we last had our eyes tested. We had had two previous letters, each one couched in slightly more urgent language.
The third letter (marked “Urgent”) plus the advert convinced us to book appointments.
So that is where we were this afternoon, having our eyes tested
and choosing our new specs. Mr B was nowhere to be seen when I was choosing my new frames and, being blind as a bat without my specs, I had to resort to putting my nose right up against the mirror to see what I looked like. Hopefully I will like my new glasses when
they arrive in a fortnight's time and I can see myself properly. I won’t quite know what to do if I don’t. I suppose I shall just have to convince myself that I do like them.
The optician tells me that when going out in the sun I must always, but always wear sun glasses and a sun hat. Moreover I must eat lots more green vegetables like broccoli, rocket, green beans, peppers and curly kale. Honestly, I am
not exaggerating, he waxed lyrical about curly kale. It is the Number One Vegetable on his list of Desirable Vegetables. Not many people have a List of Desirable Vegetables, as far as I know. I regarded him with renewed respect. My obvious admiration
set him off on a further list of instructions. Celery and lettuce are non-starters, apparently, being pale green and anaemic-looking. Dark Green is Best. When I eat cucumber I am not, under any circumstances, to remove the skin because this is the
Best Bit, being Dark Green.
Sun hat and sunglasses, eat up all my greens – he sounds like my mother, I tell him. He takes it as a compliment.