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Maggie Cobbett

I've been on an emotional roller coaster since my last post. Out of the blue came a series of visual disturbances that I convinced myself were TIAs (transient ischaemic attacks or mini strokes)

They took the form of a shimmering effect around anything I happened to be looking at and lasted for several minutes each time. Always a reluctant patient, I put off seeking medical advice until frogmarched down to the practice.

The G.P. took my self diagnosis seriously and gave me emergency treatment until it became apparent that I had no other stroke related symptoms. She then sent me off for an immediate eye test. BINGO! To cut a very long story short - and I've had neurological and ophthalmological tests since to make sure - it appears that my eye muscles were under severe strain from out of date spectacles. That had led to a condition called 'migraine with aura'.

Have you ever heard of that? I hadn't. To me, migraine was just a very bad headache and I had had no pain at all. Much better informed now, I'm anxious to spread the word that migraine can manifest itself in a variety of different ways, many of them alarming.

Born with good vision, I came down with scarlet fever whilst still at primary school and have been shortsighted ever since.

National Health issue spectacles - brown frames for boys and pink for girls - had metal earpieces that dug in all year round and made the backs of my ears particularly sore in winter. Even when my parents paid for more attractive frames, I still hated wearing the things and they spent more time in my pocket than on my nose. Which child - at least until the arrival of Harry Potter - has ever wanted to be a Speccy Four-Eyes?

As a teenager, I worried that 'boys don't make passes at girls who wear glasses' and so was even less likely to be seen out in them. This persisted through university and into my twenties, when I invested in prescription sun glasses and contact lenses. As often as not, though, I wore neither and only clapped my ordinary spectacles onto my nose when I thought no one was looking. I wasn't shortsighted enough to bump into things and just bumbled around seeing everything out of focus.

I'll be truthful. Even now, I'm not happy at the prospect of wearing my new specs more or less full time. However, I've been advised that I should and I'll just have to get used to the idea. After all, it's a small price to pay for being given a new lease of life. Vanity may at last have given way to common sense. At least, I hope so.

EDITOR: Maggie has an excellent website with many other blogs and interesting features.

Meet The Author...
Maggie Cobbett
Who Am I?

Maggie grew up in Leeds, crossed the Pennines to study at the University of Manchester and then spent more years than she cares to remember teaching French, German and EFL in the UK and abroad. Now settled with her family and two old and very happy to be ex-feral cats on the edge of the Yorkshire Dales, Maggie takes inspiration for her writing from her surroundings, travels, family history and her work as a television background artist. She is currently a ‘village regular’ on Emmerdale.

In 2006, Maggie won her way to the Writers’ Summer School in Swanwick, Derbyshire and has attended every year since, generally financing her place by the writing of ‘fillers’ for magazines and newspapers. Since letting this fact slip, she has been invited to run workshops on the subject. Her ‘how to’ handbook Easy Money For Writers & Wannabes came out in 2014 and was an Amazon best seller in its category.

Maggie enjoys writing features and reviews, but fiction is her first love. Until recently, this has mainly meant flash fiction and short stories for magazines. Some of these stories, together with competition winners, also appear in her three published collections, Anyone For Murder?, Had We But World Enough and Swings & Roundabouts. These are available separately or in an omnibus edition.

New for 2015, is Maggie’s first novel, Shadows of the Past, a mystery set over three time periods in a French village. Although inspired by an extraordinary summer she experienced as a teenager in the 1960s, the story has its roots in the darkest days of WW2 and the German occupation of France. All Maggie’s books are available from Amazon as paperbacks or downloads.

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