IT is often said that becoming absent minded is one of the prices we pay for advancing years, but it is a curse I have have had to put up with throughout my life.

I was still in my 20s when I started a new job, and Mrs Hextol rang me from home on my first day.

“What are you wearing on your feet,” she giggled coyly , and I was quick to reply: “My black slip on shoes.”

“You’re not you know,” she replied. “I have just found one of your black shoes here under the bed.”

I withdrew my feet from beneath the desk to reveal I was wearing one black shoe and one brown one, and spent the day unsuccessfully trying to hide them under my fashionable flares.

Then there was the time we had called at a fast food emporium, and I was entrusted with throwing the empty bags, cartons and glutinous gherkins into the bin once we got home.

I had the car keys in one hand, and the accumulated detritus in the other – and still managed to throw the keys into the bin and carry the smelly containers into the house!

Finding the keys in the dark under a week’s worth of decaying rubbish was not an experience I would wish to try again,

The latest episode in my long list of mental short circuits came last week, and yet again involved my troublesome hearing aid.

As you may recall, I lost a hearing aid several weeks ago, and was obliged to invest £50 in the purchase of a new one.

The loss took place at the centre for distressed horses where I spend many of my waking hours, and Mrs Hextol was of the opinion that I should not wear my new aid when at the stables.

She opined: “If you don’t lose the new one, you’ll lose the other, so they are safer at home. You don’t want to hear horses neighing and breaking wind anyway.”

I pointed out that I would be missing out on much staff banter and shafts of Scottish wisdom if I had to dispense with my artificial aids, so for once I overruled her, and wore my new aid to the stables.

It was fine for the first couple of days, but one fatal morning, I was negotiating a tricky gate with heavily laden wheelbarrow and long fork when I contrived to whack myself around the right ear with the shaft of the fork.

My head rang like the Top Rank gong for long moments, but when I got round to rubbing my throbbing ear, I found to my horror that the brand new hearing aid was not plugged in.

I cast my eyes down, expecting to see the device lying on the stallion shed floor at my feet, but it was nowhere to be seen. So I fell to my hands and knees, and spent 20 minutes crawling around in the odiferous muck, half-chewed hay and straw, conducting the squelchiest fingertip search in the history of the Rede Valley.

It was gloomy, but I decided against sparking up my lighter as there was nothing more certain than that I would set fire to the straw and burn the stable down.

So I went in for breakfast, and was obliged to confess that I had lost my second hearing aid of the month, and was about to set up a £50 standing order with the Newcastle upon Tyne Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust for a new hearing aid every month.

I got no sympathy round the breakfast table, with the gaffer chortling: “You dare not go home – your wife will kill you very slowly.”

It was at this point that I made a belated search behind my left ear – and found that there was no hearing aid there either.

“I must have hit myself harder than I thought,” I declared. “I’ve lost the other hearing aid too!”

“That’s £100 you’ll have to pay, “ said the gaffer with a malicious grin, but he did volunteer to find a powerful torch and conduct an inch by inch floodlit search of the stable floor.

It then struck me that the odds of losing both hearing aids at the same time were rather high, and I got my niece to text Mrs Hextol – who confirmed that both hearing aids were still on the dressing table, where I had left them the night before.

“I told you you didn’t need them for work,” she said.