Marie Louise McConville: A trip to the opticians puts me into a spin

Marie Louise's trip to the optician left her feeling dazed at the thought of an `age-related' reading prescription
Marie Louise McConville

Well, that's that then.

Just send me directions to the nursing home and tell them to load up on cocoa.

As long as they have one of those mechanical beds that move (what with my joints) and some nice warm blankets (I get cold so easily these days), then I should be sorted.

I'll only need to pack a few things - lots of thermals, night dresses, my rollers and a few cardigans. After all, there is no need to bring the passport (I wouldn't be able to travel at my age) or any revealing clothing (I'm too old) or the music box (my hearing's not what it used to be).

Folks, it seems I have almost reached the top of that famous hill and at the end of the month I'll be over it and then that's that - done and dusted.

With just a fortnight to go now before I turn a certain age (which I am not at all happy about), it seems that everywhere I turn I am reminded that I'm no longer young.

Why does this happen?

I could just sit down and cry you know.

I really don't want to turn (this certain age) and I really have no desire to celebrate it - why on earth would I want to shout it from the rooftops?

Despite friends and family making regular mention of it, I have been dealing with it all the best way I know how - by sticking my head in the sand and pretending it's not happening.

So, I've decided to just get on with daily life and ignore what's happening in the real world.

So, a few days, I ventured to see my optician because I got a letter in the post to say my annual eye check and contact lens check was due.

Now, I should say, I'm not a fan of going to the optician but while they don't fall into the same category as the dentist, I still feel quite anxious when the yearly letter arrives.

I suppose it comes down to the fact that I am a Type 1 diabetic and as this poses a risk to my sight, I am also nervous when I go for my eye test because I worry they might see something of concern.

Anyhow, it had to be done so off I went and this time, after all the initial checks on me and my current glasses, it was time to venture into the little room for my eye test.

I did explain I was feeling very anxious and I have to say the optician was very understanding and took everything at a nice slow pace.

She asked me about how my sight had been and I said it was fine although I had noticed that in recent weeks I had to hold my phone a bit further away from my face when reading the screen.

She then had that all important look in the back of my eyes and gave me the thumbs up, so all good.

Then it was time to read the chart and again all was fine.

At the end of the examination I was told my prescription would be staying as it was as there had been no change and it was the same for my contact lenses.

However, she then referred to what I had said earlier about the phone and having to hold it further away.

"Mrs McConville" - she said - "that's your age".

She continued: "When you reach your mid-forties most people experience that and it's progressive and there's nothing we can do about it. I think when you come back next year, we'll look at a reading prescription also".

What's happening?

What did she say?

Why is the room spinning?

Why is she talking about "mid-forties"?

What's that got to do with me?

I then informed the lady that I was not even in my forties never mind my mid-forties however she just glanced down at the date-of-birth on my form and that was it.

Up I got and off I went - feeling dazed by the announcement of a forthcoming reading prescription.

Why is this happening?

I think I just need to lie down for a while.

If someone could help me with a shawl for my shoulders and set my teeth on the bedside cabinet, I'll be fine.

Oh dear. Suddenly I'm not feeling very well.



With Christmas just weeks away, how do you taking a break from the festivities with a fantastic thriller, written by an author who has been described as "the queen of Scandinavian writers”

In Dust and Ashes by Anne Holt – Norway's bestselling female crime writer - has been described as “lively, unusual and persuasive”.

In 2001, three-year-old Dina is killed in a tragic car accident.

Not long thereafter, Dina's mother dies under mysterious circumstances, and Dina's father is convicted of her murder.

In 2016, the cold case ends up on the desk of Detective Henrik Holme, who tries to convince his mentor, Hanne Willhelmsen, that the father might have been wrongly convicted.

Holme and Willhelmsen discover that the case could be connected to the suicide of an eccentric blogger as well as the kidnapping of the grandson of a EuroJackpot millionaire.

I have five copies of In Dust and Ashes by Anne Holt to give away to five lucky readers.

If you fancy winning a copy, simply email your name, address and telephone number – along with the answer to the question below – to

Closing date for entries is Tuesday, December 26, 2017

(Q) Who wrote In Dust and Ashes?

Normal Irish News Rules Apply


What's Hot?

Superheroes - Justice League arrives at cinemas today and we join the gang months after the events of Batman v Superman. Inspired by Superman's sacrifice for humanity, Bruce Wayne enlists the help of Diana Prince to face an even greater enemy.

Reality - Great British Bake-Off winner, Candice Brown, has announced she has signed up for a rebooted Dancing On Ice, which is set to kick off next year. Other names confirmed include Bucks Fizz singer Cheryl Baker and Corrie's Brooke Vincent. Shaping up to be fun.

Music - I am loving the new single from The Corona's. Give Me A Minute is a beautiful song and I find it very uplifting and poignant. I hope radio stations play it a bit more in the coming weeks.

So Not!

Not Fussed - I don't know why some people are getting so emotional about the new John Lewis Christmas ad. Yes, I think `Moz The Monster' is cute but this advert does not pull at my heartstrings at all. #notearshere

Flavour - Pepsi's new salted caramel edition has arrived in stores this week however the experimental flavour has divided the internet. The company has also hinted that more unusual flavours may be on the way. Oh dear. Not for me.

Waste - A Los Angeles artist has created a $100,000 toilet made out of designer handbags. The gold-plated commode is made from 24 leather Louis Vuitton bags. What a waste.



The winners of the Hansel & Gretel at the MAC competition are Patricia Mullan from Dungiven and Geraldine Burns from Banbridge


Easy Peasy Recipe

This week's Easy Peasy Recipe is Cranberry Pistachio Biscotti

You will need:

1/4 cup light olive oil

3/4 cup white sugar

2 tspns vanilla extract

1/2 tspn almond extract

2 eggs

1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour

1/4 tspn salt

1 tspn baking powder

1/2 cup dried cranberries

1.5 cups pistachio nuts

To Make:

Preheat the oven to 150 degrees Celsius.

In a bowl, mix together the oil and sugar before adding in the vanilla and almond extracts, and then the eggs.

Add the flour, baking powder, cranberries and pistachios and form a dough.

Divide the dough into two halves and form two logs.

Lay logs on lined baking trays and bake for 35 minutes in a preheated oven. Logs should be light brown.

Remove and allow to cool for 10 minutes.

Reduce oven heat to 135 degrees Celsius


Cut logs into diagonal thick slices.

Lay on lined baking trays and bake for 10 minutes.

Do you have an Easy Peasy recipe you would like to share?

Are you the queen of quiches, magnificent at muffins or can you turn out some nice scones?

If so, then we want to hear from you.

You can send your name, address, contact number and recipe (plus photo if possible) to:

Easy Peasy Recipes,

Marie Louise McConville,

Irish News

113-117 Donegall Street,




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