The signs of getting old

The signs of getting old

Well, it’s finally happening, one of the critical signs of getting old.  I can ignore all the grey hair.  The expanding waistline is apparently too much food and not enough exercise.  The creaking joints can even be explained away by being overweight, or too much standing on my feet at work.  However, what couldn’t be ignored was my left eye struggling to focus on books when they’re close to my face.

Of course, the Kindle has managed to hide this for a while.  Most of my leisure reading is on the Kindle or in magazines.  My reading for work is usually relatively large print or sizeable handwriting.  With the Kindle, just making the text a little bigger and the problem goes away.  However, the tiny print in Harry Turtledove’s ‘Bomb’s Away’ really made it clear that I needed to get an eye test done.

Off for the inevitable eye test

To be fair, I’d been considering an eye test this summer holiday.  I’ve been aware that getting old, specifically anyone over 40, can lead to presbyopia.  It’s been a while since I had an eye test and I’ve been putting it off for a while.  I’ve always been proud of my 20/20 vision, happy to tease the nearsighted by standing on the beach and spotting the ships travelling the English Channel on, and slightly beyond, the horizon.  So I steeled myself for a visit to Specsavers, ready for evidence (more) that I’m getting old.

Fortunately, the consultant was much subtle than ‘you’re old now’.  I pretty much said, going in, that I’d be needing reading glasses and that’s exactly what was prescribed.  Nothing too strong, but enough to make the difference.  However, this led to the new dilemma of working out what frames to order.  Nearly an hour later, I’d settled on a couple of pairs having tried everything from bright ‘extraverted’ glasses to ones that made me look like I was in the Stazi in a dodgy 1970s spy movie.

Making a difference

A week later and I’d picked up the new glasses.  What a difference.  My eyes are now getting quicker at combining the two images – one eye is weaker than the other, but both have got old.  The constant fingerprints are getting tedious though.

So, yes, I’m getting old.  It’s official.  I’m at the age when our eyes begin to fail us.  I’m not actually writing this with glasses on right now as I’m touch typing while watching the Channel 4 news.  I’ll be wearing them when I proof-read this blog.  Perhaps I’ll spot, and correct, a few more mistakes than I’d usually pick up?  I won’t be checking them until after I’ve planned some vegetables in my garden while wearing my comfy slippers, smoking an old pipe.  Ah, I feel the need for a mug of Horlicks and an early night.

Horlicks to that!  It’s just middle age.  Getting old doesn’t happen until your 80’s these days.

Time Machine – flash fiction

I’m not the best person at maintaining routine, especially for writing blogs. Probably the biggest reason for this is that there are so many demands upon my time. Not only do I try to spend my spare time writing, but I also have a job that can easily become all-consuming. This is, of course, forgetting all the demands of everyday life. Unfortunately, I do not have a time machine.  So to help me come up with some ideas for blogs, I recently came across an excellent little book in Waterstones. “642 tiny things to write about” is an excellent little book full of writing ideas and prompts for writing and flash fiction. So for this blog post I’m going to choose one of them and write about it.


Task: “the passenger safety instructions card for a time travel machine”

Welcome to your Acme Time travel machine.

Important operating instructions

Failure to follow the instructions results in no liability for the manufacturer or inventor of this Time Machine. Please read the following instructions carefully and follow them to the letter.

1. Ensure that heads or limbs are entirely in the time machine before operating.

2. Ensure that all important documents, such as sports almanacs, have been left outside of the time machine and do not travel back in time.

3. Do not claim any titles or heraldry that you are not entitled to.

4. Under no circumstances should you interfere with your conception. See Futurama or Red Dwarf for further details.

5. Jean-Claude Van Damme will not come to the rescue if you mess up the timeline.

6. People in the past, or the future, may have trouble understanding your language, habits, mode of dress, or even your intentions. Investigate thoroughly before travelling.

7. Customisation of time machines to look like DeLorean’s or police boxes will void warranty.

8. Do not waste your time trying to assassinate Hitler. All the assassinations failed. Do you really want to put someone more competent in charge?

9. Avoid key historical events. It may get a little crowded with other time travellers.  The people of the time may notice your time machine, or your fellow travellers.

10. All time travel to late-20th century Wales, especially Cardiff, is off-limits.  No, you may not kidnap Captain Harkness.

11. The transportation of animals, plants, and food, is prohibited. Dinosaurs are not appropriate pets for your nephew’s children.

13. Do not upset the apes.

14. A paradox cannot be created, because that would be a paradox. Stop trying to change things.

15. Do not step on any butterflies.

16. The Federation will never exist.

17. “A long time ago, in a galaxy far far away.” The clue is in “far far away”.

17. Please do not tell anybody “I’ll be back.” It is mildly irritating, intimidating, and cliched.

19. Joyriding with H.G.Wells or George Orwell, is strictly prohibited.

20. Get a life and stop interfering in the past, or the future. Live in the now.