Peter's Blog

Lost and Found

Written by Peter Johnston on .

Glasses on chain

Well, today is a day of which I am only too glad to see the back end. It has been a bit of a disaster and excruciatingly embarrassing. All started fine and I began the layout and editing of the next issue of Spill the Beans. I was even ahead of myself for a funeral in the afternoon which I had prepared last night (good thinking it turns out).

At 11:47 a.m. I went into the bedroom to get changed into my clerical clobber for the funeral at 2 p.m. I know the exact time because I got a phone call just as I started to get changed. With a shirt half off, trying to grab my phone somehow my glasses got caught and fell to the ground. I heard them hit the ground. Just one of those stupid things. But from there they disappeared into a different space-time dimension…

I immediately sank to my knees to find them, still chatting on the phone to a sales person for a photocopier company. But… I could not find them. I had completely expected them to be just sitting on the floor in front of me. No sign.

Now, the problem with this scenario is that I have a very high level of short-sightedness (-13 dioptres in my left eye and -15 dioptres in the right) which means that without my glasses I am basically blind. I can focus about two inches in front of my eyeball, that is it.

So, picture me on all fours feeling around on the floor of the bedroom… then I had the bright idea to use my phone on camera mode, holding the screen just in front of my face I could see via the camera in focus. It would look ridiculous to any onlooker, and it brought me no further luck.

I started to move furniture, gingerly, in case I heard a crunch, but still not a sign. I spent about fifteen or twenty minutes systematically searching when I started to get worried. I could not find an old pair of glasses anywhere either, they probably did not make it up to Aberdeen in the move as we cleared out.

I tried calling Carolyn at work as it was now into the school lunch hour, but no luck, and no luck in the office. When I did get a call back and by now I had been looking for about 45 minutes, it was at the end of the lunch break, but Carolyn was able to get away to come to my rescue…

Both Carolyn and I expected her to come in and immediately spot the glasses, but they were nowhere obvious for her either.

In the meantime, realising that this was now very serious, I had to make emergency phone calls to find someone else to take the funeral service. Step in brave Sir George of South Holburn who came to my rescue, picking up my funeral while I called a speechless family and undertaker to explain why I would not make it to the crematorium. The undertaker said, without missing a beat, "Well, that is a new one." Not just for him. I felt terrible for letting the family down.

After about an hour, Carolyn had to admit defeat and returned to work. I was left at home trying to do a bit of work by answering emails on my phone – not so easy when you are holding it so close you can only focus with one eye!

Having posted an exasperated update to facebook, I had phone calls from friends (calling for a sympathetic chuckle, I suspect), and a number of fascinating suggestions from check trouser turn-ups (I had) to the light fittings on the ceiling or curtain mechanisms! I was pretty sure the specs had just dropped to the ground, but by now I was willling to try anything, so I dutifully looked, phone camera as my visual aid to check. Nowt. 

I called the primary school so that the two young kids knew just to walk home, and when they got back I told them it was £10 to whoever found the glasses. After about ten minutes of hunting, with boxes and stored clothes pulled out from under the bed, Andrew finally found them tucked into the slide-on cover over a travel cot that is stored under the bed. Both Carolyn and I had thought we had checked it, but not well enough.

So, finally, nearly four hours after they slipped off, I could see again.

This is the kind of situation ministers have nightmares about. Sometimes those nightmares become real.