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Blurred in translation

If anybody should bump into Jane Phillips, outgoing chair of the National Association of School Governors, be sure to compliment her on her stylish new spectacles.

Jane tells us she was visiting her second home in Chinon, France, last week, when she managed to hurl her old pair into a garden bonfire. So started a week-long and somewhat harrowing odyssey through French optical practice.

"It's bad enough trying to decide in English which letters are clearer but trying to remember what they call the letters while concentrating on seeing them is mindboggling!

"You so easily mix your 'igreque' with your 'dooblevay' and confuse your 'jay' as in J (English) with your 'jay' as in G (French) and your 'gee' as in G (English) with your 'gee' as in J (French)." Eventually, after much misunderstanding, the lenses were selected and then came a nice Gallic touch: "Can you imagine a young male optician in England suggesting that you try (dark gold) frames because they tone well with my hair colour? I must say I like the result."

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