Quite a spectacle.

The other day, I bought four new pairs of reading glasses. I have to buy them in quantity; spectacles are the Scarlet Pimpernels of the wardrobe — you seek them here, you seek them there — and yet they have a greater knack for vanishing than the Cheshire Cat. When younger, I had perfect eyesight, so the dependency on readers is a humiliation of age and one that I’m particularly ill-equipped to bear. Things go missing enough without adding spectacles to the list. Already, one of the four pairs has dematerialised. It got caught up with some jasmine I’d been pruning and I must have simply thrown it away, when taking the debris to the bin. It was the first time I’d worn it, too.

During a lecture I gave on Saturday, the search for the glasses, now needed to see anything I wish to read out or even to operate the remote control, became something of an unintended comedy routine. At home, there’s only one thing to do: possess oneself of so many pairs that one is bound, theoretically, to be at hand. This worked well enough until my prescription changed. My wife doesn’t bother with prescriptions, she borrows mine, which doesn’t increase the chances of my finding any. What’s the solution?

A quizzing glass with a ribbon would have served in the Regency. I’m not sure the children would approve.