What colour do you see?

When I first moved to London from Bristol, I was a bit slow off the  mark registering with the obvious services. A doctor followed an injury to an ankle. My first London dentist, a charlatan from some east European enclave who had a penchant for unnecessary fillings came as a result of nagging by my first boss. But it was about five years before I made it to an optician to check my eyesight.

By this time I had developed a penchant for kicker boots and their bright colours.


The joy of red


Red I had but I hankered after green. To my chagrin, they stopped making green. I waited patiently, sure they would restock with my then fav colour but to no avail. In the end I went off and bought a pair of lime green deck shoes which I wore with a certain pride.

The time came when I was sure I needed to upgrade my eye wear so off I trotted to a small optician offering, unusual in those days, a free eye test on a Saturday. I duly queued before being ushered into the gloomy inner sanctum where I was met by an Irish woman of roughly my age with a starry grin and one of those voices that snuggled you into her confidence. You immediately felt she was trustworthy – a friend.

She asked me some routine questions and then had me look at the chart of letters. It was all very efficient. Eventually she sat back, flicked on the main lights, making me blink like that muskrat in Deputy Dawg and said, ‘Well, you do need some new glasses, Mr Le Pard.’

I nodded.

‘And – one question – do you think you are colour blind?’

Now I wasn’t experienced at eye tests but I was pretty sure we hadn’t done anything that might hint at any trouble distinguishing between the ends of the light spectrum. ‘No. Why do you ask?’

She kept her head down. ‘Oh…’ {snort} ‘It’s just..’ {snigger} ‘I wondered why you’re wearing those socks with those shoes?’

Up to that point I considered myself to be smart of dress – the right side of dapper – but in one thoughtless giggle my confidence was crushed. I trusted that voice, those opinions.

More to the point, I wondered at the Textiliste. She had seen me dress that morning; she has class and style. She let me out without comment, braving what I thought would be an adoring public and yet, apparently  I sported a clashing footwear/sock combo. How often had I been laughed at? Suspicion is a creeping insidious disease.

Now I’m into safe muted tones. I’s a harsh, cruel world and I’m keeping my head down.

However, before you become too sorry for me, I have gotten my own back on an all knowing world by indulging my passion for a certain je ne sais quoi in the chapeau department. As these photos evidence…


Ireland circa 1977


My Chinese phase – the Archaeologist’s wedding 1985 – dad doesn’t care


Park bench, late 1980s – my flirtation with hobo-dom


Ten years on and the plastic bowl is now, a la mode. What on earth am I reading?


Me and my patka, skiing, 2007

So if the word is not really harsh for me, what about poor Mary? Charli Mills, she of the Carrot Ranch, has prompted us thus this week…

March 4, 2015 prompt: In 99 words (no more, no less) color your story turquoise. Color evokes emotion; turquoise blue evokes trust and strength. How can you play with that idea? How can color define a character or add to a plot? Saturate your story or add a drop. Follow the vein of turquoise to see where it leads your imagination.

Mary is in a tizz. A decapitated body of a child has been found in her parent’s garden. Whatever next?

Colouring the memory


‘I thought you’d thrown that dress away?’

‘I just wanted something bright.’ Mary flattened a rough crease with nervy fingers.

‘Will you be alright on your own?’

Mary didn’t answer. Logic said yes; she knew nothing of the dead child. But her stomach churned. What did the police think about her father’s role?

Paul smiled. ‘The blue suits you. Matches…’

‘It’s green.’

Paul nodded. ‘Ok, let’s say turquoise.’

Mary started to smile then burst into tears. Paul stroked his wife’s hair. ‘Shh.’

Gulping air she said, ‘Mum’s favourite broach was studded with turquoise stones. I miss her so badly.’


If you want to follow the story of Mary’s trials and tribulations so far, please click here.

About TanGental

My name is Geoff Le Pard. Once I was a lawyer; now I am a writer. I've published four books - Dead Flies and Sherry Trifle, My Father and Other Liars, Salisbury Square and Buster & Moo. In addition I have published two anthologies of short stories, Life, in a Grain of Sand and Life in a Flash. More will appear soon, including a memoir of my mother's last years. I will try and continue to blog regularly at geofflepard.com about whatever takes my fancy. I hope it does yours too. These are my thoughts and no one else is to blame. If you want to nab anything I post, please acknowledge where it came from.
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24 Responses to What colour do you see?

  1. Ula says:

    Lovely flash.

    I’m quite curious what color your socks were that day at the optician’s.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. lucciagray says:

    Poor Mary 😦 Will there be no happy moments?!

    Liked by 2 people

  3. Great flash. Though, like Luccia, I don’t see many happy times for the poor lady.

    As to your clothing choices… Hmm. Maybe the boots are a tad bright. ? Here’s the thing. If you like them (and/or the hats) who cares? The other thing I just can’t let go of here is the eye doctor. What the hell was she doing? That is ridiculously unprofessional, to say the least. Happy to hear you’re back to wearing what you want. 😉

    Liked by 1 person

  4. willowdot21 says:

    I can’t take anymore drama ! Which is worse I hear you ask, is it the un-ironed state of Mary’s dress ( or even her mind) or worse is it your head gear……… or God forbid the socks?????????

    Liked by 2 people

  5. Charli Mills says:

    Finding accessories in great colors was one way I brightened a black clothes career. Now I get to wear all brights…fun times! Maybe your Irish optometrist was color blind. 🙂 Ah, Mary…what can I say. She’s made of sturdy stuff, all that her creator throws at her. I like the connection between the dress and her mother’s broach; almost as if she were craving the comfort of her mum by selecting a dress of that color.


  6. You know I sometimes think that shirt in that colour is not going to go with those trousers in that colour, with those socks in that…you get drift. But, to my surprise, when I put them altogether they seem to work perfectly, and by standing out, I feel top dog, so to speak, and get noticed and winked at and…

    I’m enjoying the flashbacks of your past very much. I just feel a tad sorry for that dog which seems to be attached to your jumper. I’m wondering what has made the beast look as if it is feeling a bit faint.

    I can feel a nasty twist to this story, coming on.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Autism Mom says:

    I love the red boots – with a comfy pair of jeans, completely perfect regardless of the sock color. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Pingback: Tales of Turquoise « Carrot Ranch Communications

  9. Annecdotist says:

    Sounds like you’ve picked the right optician. I once went to work wearing one brown shoe and one blue – they were the same style, two pairs bought because they were so comfortable, and it was kind of dark as I was dressing to leave the house – my colleagues wanted me to wear them triumphantly to disprove the notion that the world ends when you do something daft, but I crept home at lunchtime to change, fortunately it wasn’t so far to go.

    Liked by 1 person

    • TanGental says:

      Yep, done mismatched shoes – one brogue one plain. Mismatched suit jacket and trousers too. I brazened it out both times. And sadly the optician was right about my colour sense!


  10. Sherri says:

    It’s great how you are able to merge Charli’s prompts week after week into Mary’s story like this Geoff, wonderful flash. And another fun post, reminds me of the brown and yellow platform shoes I once wore with red and blue striped knee length socks. Moving swiftly on…turquoise is an evocative colour isn’t it, yet one we only seem to think of when we aren’t quite sure whether it’s green or blue. Love the pics…you remind me of my eldest son who has an odd thing about wearing hats. But only when he’s had a few drinks 🙂 Odd too because he hated them when a baby/boy. I gave up 😉

    Liked by 1 person

  11. lorilschafer says:

    I know how you feel, Geoff – I never can tell what color goes with what. I remember being stunned when I heard you weren’t supposed to wear brown shoes with blue slacks – although maybe that’s not quite as nonconformist as lime with turquoise 😉


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