TC-20150716-0174

Unexpected Beauty

Luton Roundabout

Isn’t this pretty? I was driving along this morning and saw these beautiful meadow flowers and just had to pull over to capture them. Here’s a couple more views…

Luton Roundabout

Luton Roundabout

Luton Roundabout

 

Clearly I was somewhere tranquil and rural, eh? Well, that’s the surprise. Where was I driving? I was driving through Luton. And this was a roundabout on a busy junction. One of many around town planted up like this.

Great job, Luton!

Luton Roundabout

Luton Roundabout

Luton Roundabout

Not about spectacles.

Gee, my last couple of posts on here have been dull have they not? New glasses! Whoop-de-do.

On to bigger things, I feel. And right way way back into where this blog started. God stuff. Rarely gets a mention these days, mainly because it rarely gets much of a thought. But lately it’s been there again. Wondering what I believe, and why.

I bumped into a friend just a couple of days ago, a guy from church who I once met with regularly to pray with and discuss life and spirituality. We’ve not met like that for ages, and a random encounter (thanks, Tesco) led to a coffee. Now, we didn’t chat God stuff at all, or at least not in relation to me, but that encounter somehow got me thinking. What if he had asked? ‘How are things with your faith these days, Trevor?’ What would I have said? How about the real basics? ‘Do you believe in God?’ 

Well, he didn’t ask that. And later I found myself imagining he had. And I’d struggle to say yes. But the thing is, I’d struggle to say no, too. The best I could come up with was in my imagined conversation was, “I’m not sure I understand the question any more.”

Just a couple of months ago I remember saying to someone that I felt “closer to God” than I have for a number of years, but that I simultaneously had no idea what that meant. Well, I’m still there for sure. Except I now have no idea what God means. Very recently I came across an article by David Hayward, a former church pastor whose blog, Naked Pastor, I have followed for quite a while now. (He was still an active pastor when I started reading.)

In “How God let me go,” he describes his changing understanding of God over the years, from the jealous God of one literal scriptural interpretation, though a more open, understanding God, a gracious God, a releasing God, and finally to a God who is not God at all. And it really resonated with me. I’ve not followed the same path, but I felt very at home with his description of where he’s at now

walk-with-god
(© David Hayward 2015)

Here’s a short extract:

When I awoke from this dream I suddenly knew that the All really is All. “God” was gone. There was only Reality. Reality rules because that’s all there is. I saw that we are all one, connected at a deep level, unified and not separate. Separation and division is only an illusion that impresses our eyes and minds. I suddenly realized that the only thing that seems to separate us is language. Thoughts. Words. Ideas. Beliefs. That’s all. We all feel the rain as it falls on us, but we all have different experiences of this rain, thoughts about it, words for it. Same with reality, the universe, the mystery, or God. It’s just words. Believer or atheist or anyone else. We are the same. God as Not-God or as All. It is the same. I saw this as clearly as anything I’ve ever seen, although it is the hardest thing I’ve ever tried to articulate. But this has given me a peace that passes understanding. And it has lasted for years now.
(© David Hayward 2015)

It’s well worth a read to see the steps he describes going through before reaching this point (if nothing else, to read the dream he had that triggered this final realisation. And, if you’re someone who’s ever wondered what’s happening with my faith, I think that David’s article may come closest to explaining where I am. I’m somewhere similar. The full article is here: How God Let Me Go.

One of my brothers would probably dismiss this as simply being half a step away from atheism. Atheist, but not daring to name it because of all my church background. We’ve had a similar discussion once before. He may be right. In fact, if you look at the “religious views” section on my Facebook profile, you’ll see it’s said this for years:

Religious Views Edit Some days Christian. Some days Atheist. Most days somewhere in between.

So, yes. I embrace the title atheist. Sometimes. A Christian Atheist. Not sure that’s possible, but it’ll do for now.

Funny thing is, having just been thinking about this over the last week or so, I was at a school PTA function on Friday, helping out behind the bar (yes, we have a bar at school functions) and another school dad asked me, pretty much out of nowhere, “are you religious”. (Well, it is a C of E school.)

I had to think about that. Couldn’t really give straight answer, so told him my whole story.

Poor chap.

Varifocal acclimatisation. Advice please!

I picked up my new glasses on Monday. These ones.

TC-20150106-1125(Image from Specsavers’ website. Copyright acknowledged.) 

As you may remember, these are my first pair with varifocal lenses. Which means I am officially old. But that’s not the point of this post. We know I’m old already. I knew there would be a bit of ‘getting used to’ involved. And I’m planning to pop back into the optician to ‘review’ my first week. But before I do, it would really help to get some feedback from others to see if my experience is just normal…

Initial impressions were great. But after relaxing into them I began to notice a few things. First up, in some circumstances, looking left and right makes the edges of my vision go up and down. Tricky to explain, but I guess that’s what I recall my dad describing as things ‘swimming around a bit’ when he first got his, so I’m guessing it’s normal. And it’s a little disorienting, but not really a problem. Any other varifocal wearers recognise what I’m talking about?

Next up – and this is probably the prescription needing tweaking – but whilst distant vision is good, when I’m reading it seems to vary a lot. In good light, and when I’m alert, everything seems fine, but at other times I still find that I get a bit of double vision and am tempted to take them off or close one eye, with of which I’d been hoping to avoid. And it’s tricky to be certain, but it seems to me that my best position for reading (when I am still using both eyes!) isn’t quite straight ahead, but slightly to one side. Again – probably something needing tweaking. I’m also noticing a lot more spots of light; I keep thinking the lenses are dusty but they’re not, so I’m guessing the light bounces around inside the lenses more due to the complexity of the varifocal. In about thirty years of wearing glasses I’ve never bothered with anti-glare coatings and never felt I’ve needed to. Are varifocals more of a problem, or is it just the shape of these ones?

But here’s the main thing which I’m struggling with… Once I’ve been wearing them for a while, my eyes actually feel dry. It’s just like when I was wearing contact lenses – I keep thinking I’m looking forward to taking them out. And then I remember I’m not wearing any. Did this happen to you? And did you get used to it?

Choosing glasses. Not my favourite task.

I like glasses, but hate choosing them. Had my current pair five years and only getting new ones because my prescription’s changed. There’s just so many to choose from, and it just feels like a lot of money to get wrong. (Especially as these will be my first varifocals so markedly more expensive than single vision lenses.)

Whatever I choose, I’ll probably be stuck with them for a few years. Been into the opticians a couple of times, once on my own, and once with my wife to narrow down a shortlist.

These are currently the top two…

TC-20150106-1125 30268784-angled-2000x1125

I’ll be ordering them early next week.

I may choose something entirely different.

And I hope I don’t get it wrong.

Old Eyes

I think my eyes are getting old. I’ve worn glasses for distance since my late teens, and had a long spell of wearing contact lenses. But for a while I’ve suspected my next pair of glasses will need to be bifocal or varifocal. I mentioned this last time I had them tested, about three years ago, and at the time the optician didn’t recommend it.

Glasses
Photo ©2013 Trevor Coultart

But it’s now reached the frustrating stage were I’m constantly putting my glasses on or off depending what I’m doing. When using my camera, I keep them on to set up the shot and for looking through the viewfinder, but need them off to check camera settings or review shots on screen. Reading I can manage if I hold the book far enough away, but for a more comfortable position (or if the print’s too small) I tend to slip my glasses off.

And that would be fine, except I need a prism correction, as my eyes see slightly different heights, so without that corrected I end up closing one eye and reading with just one. Which can’t be good.

Going for a sight test this afternoon. Wonder what they’ll recommend…?


Update, 3pm:

Yes. I need varifocals. I think that makes me officially old. 

And that’s why they hire me.

This week I photographed a nice little mews house in the centre of Hertford for a client. I’ve just spotted it’s also on the market with a different agent. Lets compare photographs, shall we?

Exterior1a7be977b0d98a648a92b48c7d21dd7cac4109c2

6 Bailey Hall Mews (13 of 14)

Sitting Room06d30764216b75f64d89cb7e910b38599e7e22af6 Bailey Hall Mews (2 of 14)

Kitchend3822c0612d6879d744237322d70682307f85ec66 Bailey Hall Mews (5 of 14)

Bedroom One
de8c7105d610183c1d0f46038b80ea3f122da044
6 Bailey Hall Mews (9 of 14)

Bedroom Two721d7f7585fa375cd4c3671fefbd556c11f97ef06 Bailey Hall Mews (8 of 14)

Bathroom1a1633c2fb0ee9128b2184c9063b62bfec1600ea6 Bailey Hall Mews (11 of 14)

And that’s why they hire me.

Oh, and I also supplied some alternative views of the main rooms…

6 Bailey Hall Mews (12 of 14) 6 Bailey Hall Mews (14 of 14)
6 Bailey Hall Mews (7 of 14)  6 Bailey Hall Mews (6 of 14) 6 Bailey Hall Mews (4 of 14)    6 Bailey Hall Mews (3 of 14) 6 Bailey Hall Mews (1 of 14)    6 Bailey Hall Mews (10 of 14)


Update: I guess I might as well mention that if you want to rent this property, here is where you can find it.