I collected my first pair of varifocal specs yesterday. I was maybe hoping for something like the magic moment when I was nine years old and stepped out of the optician’s wearing my first pair of plastic-framed National Health glasses. Suddenly the world was clear and bright and it was the most amazing experience, one that is still sharp in my mind after more than forty years. 

It’s not quite like that this time. Right now there are patches of different focus swimming around my area of vision and I’m fighting mild motion sickness as I try to use them. It will be interesting to see how quickly my brain gets used to bringing the right area of glass to bear as I try to focus. Maybe I’ll now be able to cut ratty claws without taking my specs of and holding the rats right under my nose?

Of course the one thing they never correct is my dodgy colour vision. It’s a hereditary thing that I get from both my father and my maternal grandfather, although Grandad was never officially diagnosed – Grandma just reckoned that he didn’t know his colours properly. The benefit I take from this is that it meant I paid close attention to the biology lesson at school that looked at inheritance of characteristics and genes, because they used colour blindness as an example of sex linked inheritance. When I came to try and understand inheritance in my rats I already had a basic idea of how it worked.

It may also explain why I seem to be breeding marked rats in shades of grey. At least they’re not complicated by colour, although I do completely miss any ‘rusting’ in my show rats until it’s noted by the judge. 

Anyone who knows me will also know I’m heavily into the colour purple; strange for someone who can’t tell some blues from purples, but somehow the purple is a richer colour for the addition of the red that I don’t really see. No-one said I had to make sense. 

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