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(7) The world cup cometh

It was 1977 and despite all the odds it looked like Scotland were going to put one over the auld enemy and actually qualify for a trip to Argentina.

Depending on your point of view they either clogged their way past Czechoslovakia and Wales (hardly the toughest of opposition but it still gave the locals much to crow about whenever they “bumped” into the only resident Welshman)

Or as the whole nation seemed to believe they were the best footba’ team in the whole wide wurld and “Ally’s army” were definitely going tae win the Wurld Cup.

They even wrote a bloody song about it We’re on the road with Ally’s army..” which you couldn't escape any time you went near a radio or a (blessedly rare) TV set.

The fact that practically none of the locals had the slightest clue where Argentina actually was deterred no one.

World cup fever gripped the nation

The Scottish Daily Record in conjunction with Talbot the national car makers ran a competition first prize being two tickets to the whole shebang.

The task was to estimate how far the newly released Talbot Horizon would run on a gallon of petrol.

Anyone who’s actually driven a Talbot Horizon will know it was a bit of a lottery depending on which Talbot Horizon you pulled off the production line to do the testing.

I well remember Katie agonising over her answer before coming to a very precise 41miles 267 yds 2ft 9 inches

Quite where she got this figure from I’m no wiser to this day but she was quite adamant that it was correct.

All the locals enthusiastically sent off their best guess to the PO box provided.

These where the days when the all powerful unions held sway and quality control was something only Johnny Foreigner bothered with.

Japanese cars had recently started arriving on our shores to be greeted with derision by the very same captains of industry who probably saw the writing on the wall for motor cars UK long before the rest of us.

German cars like BMW and AUDI were unheard of, these were the days when you flew the flag and bought British no matter how crap the home grown products actually were.

I must have assimilated a bit of “Scottishness” in my time there as I worked out the astronomical odds against winning and decided to save the cost of a stamp.

Add the fact that wherever I went I was greeted with (admittedly good natured) comments along the line’s of ..

“So what are you Welshy’s planning to do next summer then whilst we’re playing footba’?

Normally it would have been folly of Darwinian magnitude inviting an early and painful demise to react but in this case the fact they’d beaten the Welsh and England hadn’t even qualified was more then enough to keep the locals happy.

When the draw was finally announced they found themselves grouped with Chile, Iran and Holland

None of the locals had heard of the likes of Cruyff and Neeskens and this new-fangled concept of total football which was yet to take the football world by storm.

And with the likes of Argentina and Brazil waiting in the wings (at the risk of alienating all 3 of my readers) I’d have rated the Scots chances of winning about the same as England ever beating Wales at rugby…..



Continuing my occasional look at some of the more common eye conditions this issue I’ll look at Glaucoma.

Glaucoma can be likened to a football or car tyre that is over inflated, the eye needs a certain amount of internal pressure otherwise it would collapse like a flat tyre. Intra ocular pressure or IOP is measured in mmHg the same as air pressure and a normal range is roughly 10—20 mmHg

There as three types of Glaucoma:

Shallow angle glaucoma This is extremely rare condition which presents with quite obvious symptoms normally halo’s around lights when out at night. During daytime the symptoms disappear as it’s associated with the pupil opening under low light conditions.

The halo’s are produced by the suddenly increased pressure distorting the structure of the cornea and is reasonably easy to reproduce if we suspect it’s happening.

We were told in college that we’d probably encounter two cases in our practicing lives, we’d probably miss the first and likely miss the second as well. I’ve had three in the last 32 years so am not holding my breath on seeing any more.

Secondary glaucoma

Is caused by other things that affect the eyes such as certain eye conditions or diseases and some drugs.

Chronic simple glaucoma

Sometimes referred to as ocular hypertension this is by far the most common type of glaucoma and the one we are normally checking for during a sight test. Risk factors: Family history, mother father brother sister with glaucoma Afro Carribean origin Age 40 and over

We use three methods of measuring ocular hypertension:

Intra Ocular Pressure (IOP) Which is currently measured with the “puffer” (everyone’s favourite, not) whilst this reading is useful and gives us a figure to work with it’s not the be all and end all. Figures vary through the day so we are looking for an increase over time rather than a gentle fluctuation up and down.

Optic disk appearance If the pressure increases the only place it can go is to push the optic nerve head back, this give a characteristic “cupped” appearance which we look for on the photo’s

Visual field analysis

This can be considered the gold standard for glaucoma as it’s the only test that measures the actual effect of high intraocular pressure.

Pressure in itself isn’t the problem, it’s the effect it has on the optic nerve fibres that is important.

Imagine what happens if you sit on the loo too long, after a bit your leg goes dead, the pressure on the back of the leg cuts off the circulation behind your knee. In the same way the pressure bears on the nerve fibres where they pass over the optic nerve rim and patches of peripheral vision get knocked out leading to eventual tunnel vision.


Granny Mak goes “Diedre”

Granny Mak was a matriarch of the Makinnons, she needed some new specs and had decided to treat herself.

“Granny” was a relative term as most females up there of 35 and over qualified.

She must have seen a picture of Diedre Barlow at some point as she set her heart on choosing the largest frame in the shop.

This was hardly difficult as Roger wasn’t exactly a great follower of ladies fashions and always subscribed to the mindset that specs should be functional .. full stop.

After umpteen visits I agreed to order her some larger sizes in the model she had chosen.

The chosen frames came in small, medium and large and after a lot of arguing

(Roger thought it was all “stuff and nonsense, tell the woman to choose something sensible”)

And some thinly veiled threats “I’ll bring my boy’s in to help me choose

We sent off to the only suppliers in Glasgow and said frames duly arrived.

She dived on the Large ones which even to my untutored eye looked pretty bloody stupid and booked herself in for a test.

We quickly established she needed bifocals and she decided to go the whole hog and get the new “D” type rather than the older round type that practically everyone had in those days.

Varifocals had just been invented and were far from mainstream.

I well remember my mum having one of the first pairs I ever prescribed and regaling all her friends how she could read her notes AND see what little Johnny was up to at the back of the class (She was a primary school teacher in those days)

Anyway I digress

At this point I started doing the relevant measurements ( I had been paying some attention in college) and soon realised there was no way I was going to get the bifocal anywhere near the correct position in the frame.

Boring technical bit coming up Getting the centre of the lens in front of the centre of the pupil is essential for maintaining maximum comfort for prolonged reading etc. Even a few mm out can cause headaches, eyestrain and all sorts of discomfort.

In her chosen frame the centres of the bifocals would have been so far out she’d have seen double when reading.

These were the days when lenses were much more limited in what sizes were available to us. I tried to explain this as simply as I could to Granny my carefully chosen words falling on deaf ears.

She wanted THAT frame with THOSE lenses and would brook no argument.

In desperation I started ringing round every prescription house in the country, one offered to do the job but the lenses would have to “Come from America, would take 6 months and cost far more than we had quoted”

Roger was unsympathetic to say the least and ordered the lenses into the middle sized frame which seemed the best compromise all round.

The specs finally arrived and Granny M appeared to try them on. Ah’ve lived oon porridge foor weeks to buy these” she muttered to herself.

Standing with fingers crossed behind your back that she wouldn’t notice is a bit like believing that hazard lights on a double yellow line makes your car invisible to traffic wardens.

A look of deep suspicion crossed her face and she immediately turned her attention to the shelves and the remaining two frames. Oooh, look at that!” shouted Katy pointing out the window at the sky (I noticed her other hand moving quickly behind her back)

Three heads turned but remarkably we could see nothing.

Granny found the two frames and started comparing them with those supplied, one was smaller and the other …. also proved to be smaller.

Unbeknown to either of us Katy, who of course had borne the brunt of the many original visits had taken the trouble to order 4 frames and had created a small diversion and swapped the large frame for another smaller sized frame whilst we were distracted looking at a clear sky.

Of course these days I wouldn’t condone such skulduggery

But telling her to bugger off elsewhere (there was no elsewhere) would have been inviting a “Darwin” courtesy of a wee visit from Her boy’s


Choosing specs (part 1)

As you might know I’ve been trying different spec lenses for computer use and the like, the latest pair had arrived.

OK time to let you in on a little secret, I hate choosing specs.

There I’ve said it.

Whenever I decide to try some new prescription or new type of lens the first thing the girls say is Just choose a frame Now maybe it’s just me but being confronted with walls of similar looking frames I get a bit clueless.

A bit like Julie Roberts in Pretty Woman I kind of expect a whole bunch of knowledgeable assistants to leap into action and choose something for me.

Or at least a selection to narrow down my choices to manageable proportions.

A tray with 6 — 9 frames tops is a good starting point, narrow that down to 1 or 2 and then let the girls repeat the process with frames similar to those maybe encompassing an acceptable price range.

So what type of chooser are you?

Do you prefer to be left to your own devices with the girls offering suggestions if needed?

Or are you like me, you want to be presented with a narrow choice of hand picked frames chosen by people with years of experience?

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