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(1) The Isle of Skye

After leaving college in London in the early 70’s I had to do a one year pre-registration training period before I was let loose on the general public, this meant working under an experienced optician and further exams at the end of it

Given the choice of a year in London or on the Isle of Skye and against all the advice of my university professors I naturally chose the latter.

A 24 hour train, boat and bus trip and I arrived at my new home, a small cottage on the shore of Portree, the largest town on the island

With just a heron to keep me company I set about getting used to the relative quiet after living in London for 3 years

My supervisor was a well meaning old chap who’d suffered shell shock in the great war and was more than a little set in his ways.

Fortunately I was quickly accepted by the locals mainly because, in the interests of self preservation I let it be known my nickname in college was “Taffy” and being seen as a fellow Celt did my cause no harm whatsoever

This was in the day’s when the Scotland v England football rivalry was at it’s height and being seen as a Sassenach was not good for ones ongoing life expectancy.

When I first arrived the local economy was mainly fishing but that quickly changed as north sea oil was just taking off and most of the local lads soon went to work on the mainland building oil rigs.

When I started as a nervous graduate this change was still months away and I quickly got to know the locals who were a friendly lot even if the accent was a bit of a challenge.

Evenings were spent fishing on the harbour wall whilst getting eaten alive by midges then it was off to the Saturday night ceilidh which seemed to mainly involve a folk band, energetic dancing and lots of whisky.

TV hadn’t really reached the island and most of the radio stations were still broadcast in Gaelic so entertainment was limited to say the least.

The following year was full of colourful characters and strange adventures on which I’ll expand a little next time.


By Stella

This is Isaac the trainee guide dog who has stolen our hearts

We visited a trade fair in April and met lots of guide dogs and learnt what an amazing difference they make to peoples lives.

We decided there and then to sponsor Isaac. He is a beautiful black Labrador puppy who hopefully will go on to make an excellent guide dog.

He is with a puppy walker called Cynthia at the moment and seems to be doing really well.

We will keep you updated on his progress in future newsletters

To see more of Isaac (and his sister Ivy)

go to


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Trail frame & lenses

Some of you might have wondered why I’ve reverted to mainly using the “old technology” which is a trial frame and lenses?

Whilst a phoropter is quick and convenient I have been finding that apart from some low prescriptions it simply isn’t as accurate as more traditional methods.

Increasingly I found myself rechecking when I felt things didn’t feel just “quite right”

Showing that sometimes maybe the old ways are still the best.


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