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Friday, January 29, 2016

Comic Cuts - 29 January 2016

I had something of a jaw-dropping moment earlier this week when I went for an eye test. I've been struggling with small print for a few months now and decided that I'd need to sort it out after Christmas. So I paid a visit to Boots Opticians on Saturday and booked an appointment for Monday morning. All very efficient and the people doing the eye test were great.

My eyesight has got poorer, although it's in line with what you would expect with age. As a lifetime wearer of glasses I was expecting this and fully expecting to have to buy new glasses.

What caught me off guard was the price: my new glasses - one pair of varifocals - will cost me £360! Oh, and the eye test is £25 so that will be 385 quid, please!

I shit you not. My glasses will be the third most expensive thing in the house that I own behind my computer (bought in 2011 for £985) and my laptop (bought in 2006 for £974). The new washing machine we bought in 2014 cost £250 and the blu-ray player was £219.

A new blu-ray player costs less than two-thirds the price of a pair of glasses! How the hell did that happen? Wasn't opening up the market for opticians meant to bring the costs down? All I can say is that Boots Opticians certainly saw me coming.

And they wanted the money up front, which I didn't have on me. Again, kudos to the staff on duty at the time who allowed me to pay £140 deposit. We'll find out whether I've bought a pig in a poke when I go back on February 5th to pick up the third priciest thing I currently own!

The whole experience was perhaps cursed from the moment I thought of it on Saturday. I was doing my tax returns on Friday and wasn't expecting to be troubling the exchequer to much this year; in fact, I might be due a rebate, which (in part) is was what prompted me to finally get my eyes sorted. I could, I thought, put the rebate towards new glasses. As we were heading out Friday evening, I left the final steps until Sunday to sort out.

Punching in my income and outgoing figures into the online returns website—which at first wouldn't accept my i.d. and password, although I thankfully managed to prove who I was so I could complete the form—I got to the end. Yes, I'm due a rebate, thank you very much, although it turned out to be £15. I can add this to the £11.50 I'm due to receive in PLR in February and pay off the eye test with enough change to buy a... no, wait, probably not enough to buy a coffee!

As for the rest of the week, I was ploughing through mail that had built up last week, catching up on over 200, which I managed to get down to 10 by close of play on Wednesday. I'm writing this Thursday evening having spent much of the day with my Mum, although while I was waiting for her I managed to put a bit more time with the Harry Bensley book, which is now almost finished. I finished designing a second family tree page—compiled as following the intricacies of his family life on the page can be quite confusing without a road map—and have rewritten the ending to take in some new information about his wife.

With luck and a good tail wind, I'll get back to designing the book at the weekend and will keep my promise to have the finished product published next month.

In honour of my expensive glasses, our random scans this week all have the word "glass" in the title. Not very imaginative, I'll grant you, but it makes for an interesting little collection and certainly it lives up to the "random" part of the title I give these columns.

The column header this week is a shot of the Moon, taken on January 19th. It's the first time, thanks to my new camera, that I've been able to take a picture of the Moon that actually shows some detail. We have another "Supermoon" in November, although there are other interesting phases of the moon earlier in the year, including Super New Moons in early April and early May, plus a Blue Moon in late May and a Black Moon in October. (Details can be found here.) With luck I might manage to get some pictures... although I suspect they'll be relatively poor pictures.

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