Fingers And Toes Crossed

I am just back from Fakenham, and have taken the second visual fields test required by the DVLA. According to the technician, I got a ‘perfect score’. She also told me that due to ‘administrative errors’ at the DVLA, I am one of many who have been required to re-take this test.

(Perhaps it was not personal after all.)

Despite the perfect score, it is still up to the DVLA whether or not they issue my renewed licence. And according to the optician, they have a backlog of ‘many months’ still outstanding.

So it is ‘wait and see time’. (No pun intended.)

Guaranteed To Spoil Your Mood

So I wake up after a decent sleep. It’s a sunny day, and not too hot. I am in a pretty good mood, all things considered.

An hour or so later, the post arrives.

A letter from Specsavers telling me that the DVLA have rejected my visual fields eye test. This despite passing it to the required standard, as confirmed by the opthalmologist on the day. And that was on the 17th of June, so they have taken their good time about it.

Now I have to make another appointment, take another trip to Fakenham, and sit the test all over again.

After a fit of rage involving many four-letter words, I telephone the optician in Fakenham. They are too busy to take my call, so I have to leave a message.

Regular readers will know that I first applied to renew my driving licence in February, seven months to the day I have received this letter. Since then, I have had to involve my member of parliament, the police in Norfolk, and have complied with every single thing the DVLA have asked me to do to get my renewed licence, including the June trip to take three separate eye tests they demanded.

And now this.

If I was paranoid, I would believe they are determined not to issue my licence at all, and are just repeating the test hoping to fail me and ensure that I can never drive again.

In that case, I must be paranoid.

Talk about ruin your day…

My Driving Licence Saga: The Eye Test

As regular readers will know, I had to have an eye test yesterday. It was a special one, organised by the driver’s licencing agency. I had to pass it, or never be allowed to drive again. As the application to renew my licence has dragged on since the first week of February, my stress levels were reaching an all-time high as I got in my car to drive the ten miles to Fakenham, north of Beetley.

On the hottest day of the year so far, with 33C (91.5F) showing as the outside temperature, I arrived almost thirty minutes early, to make certain I didn’t miss it. At least the car park was almost empty in the town, and free for the first two hours.

When I decided to show up ten minutes early at the designated optician’s shop, I could see they were busy. No less than six female staff appeared to be run off their feet with a constant stream of customers. When I showed the official letter, the lady perused it and said, “Sorry, we have no trace of this appointment”.

I actually surprised myself by keeping my temper as I carefully explained that one of their members of staff had telephoned me over ten days ago to tell me that was the only appointment they had available in June, and I had accepted it. I added that I thought it was her, as I recognised her voice. She went off to check on her computer, and sat shaking her head.

“Sorry, it quite obviously was not entered onto the appointment calendar”.
(Translated by my brain as ‘Computer says no!’)

At this point, it was fortunate that the shop had air conditioning, otherwise my brain was liable to overheat and run out of my ears.

As I sat holding my head, incredulous at the complete and utter incompetence I was faced with, the nice lady saved the day.
“Let me ring head office. I need a log-on to use the machine, and that is usually the appointment number. They might be able to give me an emergency code”.

She rang them, and they gave her the code. Fifteen minutes later, thirty-five minutes after my scheduled appointment time, I was taken into a cubilcle smaller that the smallest toilet stall on earth, and sat in front of the ‘Visual Fields Analyser’. This invloves staring at a red (or orange) dot inside a screen, as various small white lights flash on and off randomly, anywhere in your field of view. Each time you see a light, you have to ‘click’ a button you are given to hold in your hand.

Before starting the sequence, the lady warned me. “Be careful, the button is very sensitive”. Then we ran through the long sequence of the moving red light and small white lights. When that was over, she shook her head. “You failed by a factor of nine. I think you held the button too long and registered some clicks twice. Shall we try again?”

The second try was better. I was aware of the sensitivity of the button, and I stroked it tenderly, as if caressing the lips of a lover, digitally.
She beamed at my success. “Yes, you are within the allowed parameters!”

But there was more.

“Now you have to see the specialist Optometrist, upstairs, I will show you up.”

I had been there almost an hour now. Upstairs, I was away from the airconditioning in the shop below, waiting on an uncomfortable chair while said Optometrist dealt with a schoolgirl who had an eye infection caused by contact lens fluid.

(I could hear every word of the private consultation though the door of his room.)

After asking the teenage girl far too many unnecessary additional questions, then having a protracted and rather pointless chat with her dad about nothing relevant, the Optometrist called me into his small room, and was full of smiles as he apologised for the delay.

The test that followed was a classic and basic ‘Eye Test’.

I had to look at 6 rows of increasingly small letters of the alphabet on a screen behind his head.
Once with one eye covered, no glasses on.
Once with the other eye covered, no glasses on.
Once with both eyes uncovered, no glasses on.
Then repeat, whilst wearing my glasses.
I had to achieve a perfect score of 6 on each line, each time.

Fortunately, he was writing my score down where I could see it, and I saw a complete row of 6/6.
The test was finally over. I had passed! I asked the cheerful man if that meant I would now get my licence renewed. He smiled again.

“Well I am afraid that is up to the DVLA. We send them the test results, but the final decision is up to them. You can go now”.

Sunny Sunday Musings

We finally got some of the Summer I was waiting for. On one day this week, I was actually uncomfortably hot! (Only becuase I was overdressed for the unexpected weather)
Not so great for Ollie of course, who spends most of his walk in and out of the river, cooling off. Also not wonderful for Hay Fever, which hit me hard on Friday. But I will take the tablets, and enjoy the sunshine.

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As most of you already know, I have the DVLA ‘Pass or fail’ eye test next Friday. If I fail, that’s it. No more driving, ever. Meanwhile, I have been driving at every opportunity, in case I have to try to remember the feeling of just driving down the road with the window open on a lovely day after next weekend.

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We went to a family celebration in Suffolk last night. It was a delight for Julie to meet relatives she had not seen (for various reasons) for seven years. We enjoyed a delicious meal in beautiful surroundings, and there was much laughter and catching up. This is where it was held. https://www.worlingtonhall.com/

As a result, we got home quite late, and stayed up to amuse Ollie who had been left all evening. That meant I didn’t wake up until 9am this morning.

Here we are at the dinner table.

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I have decided not to mention British politics or the war in Ukraine today. I am trying to keep a good mood going until next Friday.

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I hope you all have a wonderful Sunday, a relaxing and peaceful one.

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My Driving Licence Nightmare: Catch 22

So this week, I have been trying to make the appointment for the eye test that will decide whether or not my licence is renewed. I read and re-read the letter carefully.

I have to contact the actual Specsavers shop in Fakenham directly.
I cannot book online as it is a ‘special’ test.
I cannot visit the shop to make the appointment, as I will not be admitted without an appointment. (Due to Covid-19 safety measures.)

First phone call. I get a recorded message telling me that the staff are too busy to take my call. It says I should book online, but their letter tells me not to do that.
Second phone call. Same message.
Third phone call. Same message.
Fourth phone call. Same message.

This morning, I rang the company’s head office. I tell a very helpful lady that I am unable to contact their Fakenham shop. She says she will ring them on her contact number and put me through immediately.

I wait on hold, listening to that international ‘On hold’ music that seems to have been composed solely for that purpose.

The nice lady comes back on the phone. She tells me that she also got a message saying they are too busy to take her call.

So now she has sent them an internal email message telling them to telephone me. I have to be by my phone after 3pm today.

Trusting that they are not too busy to make that call.