Saturday, 26 November 2011

The Eye Fix–Doing the Star Chart Drill

After the first run of exercises, I tried to get around with just wearing either my really weak contact lenses I had from before (they were daily ones which were around –4.50) but it wasn’t working too good.  But it was a whole site better than trying to walk around with the –4.00 or –2.75 glasses which John had provided me.  I lasted a whole of one work day and a weekend before I reverted to wearing my normal contact lenses.  These normal contact lenses had already been backed off by me so hopefully didn’t impede my progress too much.

To give you some idea of the progress, whilst wearing the –2.75 lenses I had to bring my laptop very close to be able to do any work.  Right now I’m typing away at my laptop in a normal position and I’m doing fine!!

So today was a cloudy with periods of sunshine type day.  I was able to do some drills including the first time with the Star Chart.  So I first did my distance drills and saw a bit of improvement.  And then I did my Star Chart drill and was very excited about the improvement. John did indicate that I would be OK with the –4.00 and driving and at the time I was very concerned about the state of blur but after the star chart drill I think it will be fine. 

So here are the results:


I was standing in the same position as before so the improvement from the start to today is 4 lines!  When using the –4.00 lenses I was only able to get to line 9 with both eyes, now it’s line 13 using the same lenses!  (The exclamations marks are due to my level of excitement).

So anyone who is “only” –2.00 ish in short sightedness I urge you to contact John and give it a go rather than do the laser surgery. 

I will continue and see how much progress I can now make but I suspect the ‘bulk’ of the improvement has been already made.  But I can be convinced otherwise… I didn’t think I would be able to drive with those –4.00 lenses and that one set of exercises has disproved that assumption.


I’ve subscribed to Sustainable World Radio as a podcast feed and came across an episode about building and building in cob.  So of course now I want to build one in Howes Valley.  I want to start small (more likely to be achievable!!) and will learn from building a “pizza” oven (earthern oven) first.  I’ve been using Spool to download a number of YouTube and Vimeo videos to see how others have been building them.

At this stage the pizza oven has to come first.  The base is the interesting component and I’m wondering if I should use the legs of a table I don’t like… and just build more stone around it and mortar it in with a cob/cement mix mortar.  And I want to expand on it by building some benches or sitting area for the BBQ/Pizza oven.  So I’m picturing a layout something like this:


The middle will be workable height (using my table legs possibly?  or some sort of block work to build a BBQ and Pizza oven area) and then on either side facing both the house and the view – this may change and maybe I will do two inward facing horse shoes instead like the below or some combination or one big conversation pit facing the pizza oven and view... The oven first!! But it’s good to have an idea of what to do next Smile  The benches I’m thinking will be built using straw bales to form the bulk of it and then covered with cob and plastered.  So the seat will be one strawbale high and the ‘back rest’ another strawbale high.  Based on that I’m thinking each side bench would be 12 strawbales plus cob.

BlogCobConversation pit

The conversation pits seem quite cool too.  We’ll have to see when we have the oven in place what feels better.  I’ll probably still build it out of strawbales and cob as it should be faster than cob alone. 

Now I want to get some cob books from Amazon and it is Black Friday… oooh so tempting!  But I should also check out to see where I can get the books cheaper…

And a couple of pics of cob ovens I like:

Thursday, 17 November 2011

Improving my Eyesight–first time drill

I received the lenses a little while ago but couldn’t do any of the exercises until I received the glasses.  John (John William Yee) sent me two pairs of glasses as one was weaker (-4.00) and one stronger (-2.75).  I would have called it the other way around but that is how he refers to them so to be consistent, so shall I.  I need the glasses as my contact lenses and other glasses would be obsolete as my eyesight improved (what an exciting prospect even if dislike the wastage of it.  Does anyone need any toric lenses in around the –4.75 mark?  Open-mouthed smile)

I’ve been excited once I received the lenses and glasses but really needed to wait for some daylight to do the first test as the exercises required me to look into the distance. A bit hard if there is not enough light to see very far!

So this morning I woke at my normal time and convinced Sprocket he didn’t need to go for a walk and remembered to not put in my normal contact lenses.

I prepared by pulling up the instructions from John on how to use the lenses and also what to do for the first set of exercise/s – he calls it the Distance Drill. It was a cloudy morning so I turned on both the kitchen and dining room lights and decided where I would do all my testing.  The line behind the kitchen bench with the Snellen eye chart on the wall would do.  I suppose it’s about a 1.5 – 2m distance.

I started by testing with no glasses/lenses to get some sort of benchmark.  Great I could only barely make out the top letter!  Hmm… and then proceeded to test with both eyes using the weaker glasses and then each eye.  It was then a trial with the left lens and a Distance Drill.  And more testing.  And then the right lens.  And more testing. 

It took a lot longer than I expected as I had to constantly go back to read instructions on how to do things and what the next test would be and to record the results.  Especially when I was trying to remember the sequence of letters I was able to read and then try and write it down whilst popping my head back up to hold down the left or right eye and read the chart!  Anyway I think I will be much better placed as I have now put the results in a spreadsheet format so each time I do it now I just have to follow the spreadsheet and fill it in.  I have also numbered the Snellen chart with numbers so I know which line I can read. 

It’s always a hard call as they are always still a bit blurry and I wonder how blurry it can be before I say I can read it.  On top of that there is always the blink blink blink and the ability to read a bit better/worse!

Anyway the proof is in the pudding or in the spreadsheet in this case!


After the drills I improved up to three lines!  One or two of the individual eyes tests weren’t as good (as you can see where the number decreased… ) but I think overall the results are good.  It could also be the blink blink blink issue so I’m not too concerned.

This morning I have packed my stronger glasses (the –2.75 ones) and am wearing the weaker ones (-4.00) to work as I don’t want to reverse what good I may have done this morning!

Let’s hope the next set of instructions from John gives us similar type of results.  I also need to find out how often I can do the drills.

If you want more information on what I’m doing have a look at the site: