IT has not been a good few weeks on the artificial aids front at Hextol Towers.

You may recall that a couple of weeks ago, I lost one of my hearing aids in a barrowload of dung, due to the unwelcome attentions of a frisky horse.

I have yet to get round to ordering a new one, so have been operating on half power, which makes me as aurally receptive as a lamppost.

The aid I lost is for my Very Bad Ear, rather than just my bad one, so I did try to put the remaining device in the opposite ear, but it gave me a headache.

The instrument kept falling out at inopportune moments, so the experiment was abandoned.

However, my plight got even worse the other day, when I was soaking away the aches and pains of a hard day with the horses in a steamy hot bath.

I much prefer a bath to a shower, as it is one of the few places you can relax without being disturbed by requests for cups of tea, the removal of bin bags, taking the dog for a walk or to catch a bird which has blundered into the conservatory.

Mrs Hextol is the usual culprit, but the other day, it was my two-year-old great niece Emma who came braying on the door just as I was lowering myself gingerly into the near scalding water, complete with lavish garlands of Radox bubbles.

“Wot you doing in there Auntie Brian?” she piped, as she firmly believes that all adults in her world should be called Auntie, regardless of gender.

“I am having a bath, because I’m dirty and smelly from mucking out all the horses,” I explained.

“I want you to play crocodiles with me, so you’ll have to come out,” she declared, but much as I love playing with her, I simply sank lower into the water.

She kicked at the door a few times, and swung on the handle, but eventually lost interest, and disappeared downstairs in search of further mayhem.

I always take a book into the bathroom while I bathe - usually something by Leslie Thomas or Bill Bryson - and usually drop off to sleep, immersing the volume in the suds, which explains the warped and twisted condition of many of the books in my bookcase.

I keep the hot water topped up with a deft twist of my big toe, and don’t actually get round to washing my considerable person until Mrs Hextol forcefully inquires as to whether I have completed my last will and testament.

It then takes less than five minutes to soap on and soap off before leaping out of the bath and getting dried, whilst trilling to my beloved, “I’ll be down in a second.”

Alas, the routine went badly wrong on this occasion, for as I sprang from the bath, I felt a crunch beneath my right foot.

I knew what it was straight away - I had left my glasses on the floor after re-reading a few chapters of The Life and Times of the Thunderbolt Kid and while my specs are the bendy type, they failed the ultimate consumer test catastrophically.

One of the arms was hanging off, little nuts and screws rolled under the sink, and the nosepiece was crushed.

It was the second time I have demolished my glasses while exiting the bath, but the first occasion was much more traumatic.

It happened about 11.30pm on the day before we were going on holiday, aboard a flight leaving at 7.30am the next day.

I am Mr Magoo personified without specs, and there was no chance of getting repairs carried out before departure.

The only spare pair I had were my particularly dark prescription sunglasses, so I had to wear them for the full fortnight, which was fine during the day, but a little embarrassing at night, when many people not unreasonably assumed I was blind.

This time though, I knew I had a spare pair, as I had taken advantage of a special offer at the opticians to buy two pairs of glasses for the price of three just a few months ago.

The trouble was, I couldn’t remember where I had put them “for safe keeping” and couldn’t see well enough to conduct a search of the various possible locations.

I eventually blundered across a nest of about eight spectacle cases, seven containing a pair of specs of considerable vintage.

Luckily, the last case was the right one.