The main error I made, this morning, was in the car park. We pulled up and parked, and I went to pay for the ticket. Carole wanted a bit of a meander round the sprawling metropolis and it’d take about half an hour to have my eyes checked. Both of these things could be over and done in about the same amount of time so why did I feel it necessary to pay for four hours of Halifax fun time?
We didn’t need four hours, you’ll be surprised to hear. As I was sitting in the waiting room of the opticians, surveying their woeful array of magazines and children’s books about small dolphins, Carole was getting all the major sights of Halifax out of the way – by which I mean she went to the Piece Hall and then browsed the array of pound shops.
Meanwhile, I’m having my eye test. I love having my eyes tested because I love the way the opticians are with you.
“Are the spots darker on the red or the green?”
“Ok, and with this lens?”
“Ok, we’ll just have a look at the first lens again, are the spots darker on the red or the green?”
“Erm, the same?”
“Excellent, we shall move on.”
There much be a special class in Optometry school that teaches opticians to ask their questions in such a way that you, the testee, immediately thinks “oo, was that the wrong answer?” I’ve been going for an eye test regularly for the last 25 years or so and I’ve always felt a little bit unsure that the answers I’m giving are the answers I’m supposed to give. I’m worried that there are people out there who don’t stick to their guns and bow to this line of subtle questioning, answering in a way that will make the optician happy or, at the very least, less dubious as to the validity of your responses. I can only assume that if such people exist they can, currently, see cock-all.
I passed my test with flying colours. For the umpteenth time in a row there is no appreciable change in my eyesight and, as I told the optician, if I start walking into things I’d probably give him a call – I’d omitted to tell him that I already walk into things and that any change in my condition would be hard to spot due to this.
Having done that I set out to meet Carole in the streets of my hometown. What I’d never realised about Halifax while I lived there was the fact that if there’s anywhere where everyone appears to love a pint at half past ten on a Saturday morning it’s Halifax. We debated going to Wetherspoons for brunch, only to find it crammed to the gunnels with shorts-wearing bald men. We didn’t fare any better anywhere else, either.
We were, however, treated to the Parisienne feel of the place as we walked along the precinct past Cut Price Charlies and the pet shop that sells a large array of plants because, as a variety of beige clad elderly people say at the tables outside Caffe Nero supping their venti cups of “can I just have a tea, dear?” a busker was situated outside the door of Greggs playing an accordion. As the sun glinted off his squeezing bellows and we walked on towards the £1 bakery (I kid you not) it was hard not to be caught up in the glory of the town.
Unfortunately, we’d left by then.