Tales from a Tooth Fairy

From this morning’s BBC web page:

Moroccan Stone Age hunters’ rotten teeth
By Jonathan Amos Science correspondent, BBC News

Stone Age Teeth

Scientists have found some of the earliest evidence for widespread tooth decay in humans. It comes from the skeletal remains of Stone-Age hunter-gatherers who lived in what is now Morocco more than 13,700 years ago.

The researchers tell the PNAS journal that the individuals were eating a lot of high-carbohydrate nutty foods.

The poor condition of their teeth suggests they were often in agony.

“At a certain point, the tooth nerve dies but up until that moment, the pain is very bad and if you get an abscess the pain is excruciating because of the pressure on the jaw,” explained Dr Louise Humphrey, from London’s Natural History Museum.

Well that would explain a lot. I must have been eating too many high-carbohydrate nutty foods as, yet again my choppers are giving me serious aggro, and I have been in agony now for, on and off, a month. It will come as no surprise to my regular reader in Penge that I have teeth issues again. My molars have had the doctors baffled for years and their range of colours and hues have kept my friends and colleagues amused for just as long.

I wonder if when these Stone-Age hunter-gatherers popped round to see what their local NHS dentist (you remember the NHS, don’t you ?) could do for them, they were given an ‘estimate’ for the work of 700 quid ?

Cos that’s how much I was quoted.


A Stone-Age hunter-gather and his dentist

Now £700 is not something to be sniffed at. In the present climate of poor trade and nervous consumers (whatever your mate Gideon will have you believe) I’d have to sell quite a lot of T-shirts to clear £700.  About 700, since you ask. And this was only an estimated figure. After antibiotics, cleaning & polishing (once an optional extra, now compulsory) and trips to the hygienist it’ll run into a good deal more.

When I was growing up (yes, I do have a good memory) estimates were given for carpet-laying, wall-rendering or engine-overhauling.  It was rather worrying to think that my dentist, evil-looking man with a drill and pliers in his hand, considered the work I needed in my mouth to be so extensive and major enough to give me a rough guess of how much it might cost. This treatment didn’t tally with his usual price list.

“Give or take a couple of hundred pounds” he added.

(He didn’t say that, but that’s what he meant.)

So, before the festive season began I underwent two, count ’em, TWO root canal procedures, one in my Upper Right Second Molar, the other in my Lower Right Oh Fuck Me That Hurts Premolar. The second of these treatments seem to involve the Doc taking a threaded needle, screwing it down deep into the tooth then pulling it out quickly so that, not only the root, but my right big toenail were wrenched from their housings.

I squealed like Ned Beatty.

So, several hundred pounds lighter (in cash, not in weight) I returned home to enjoy Christmas with The Incumbent, a bottle of malt whisky and a demijohn of antibiotics, content in the knowlege that although expensive, my Xmas would at least be toothache-free.


That was December 20th 2013.

On December 22nd 2013 I woke to feel a slight nagging pain in my tooth. This time the ache was from my Lower Left First Molar (do keep up).

“That’s a bugger,” I thought to myself, “I’ll have to go back and see the dentist in the New Year. More Money !  Oh well, at least the pain is not too bad”.

On the 24th the nagging pain had turned into the sort of pain usually associated with a Mossad interrogation, or listening to Robbie Williams ‘crooning’. I was in pain, a lot of pain and my dentist wasn’t open until January 6th. I decided to tough it out. I upped the doses of antibiotics and Lagavulin  and vowed to Ho Ho Hic my way through it.

On the 30th of December, having had a rather sweaty few of days of grimacing and eating only one one side, thoughts of the pain in my Lower Left were completely overshadowed by excruciating burning pain I now received from my Upper Right (one of the original offenders). I was in serious discomfort now, yet I was still a week away from my dentist opening up again for business.

“Why didn’t you just find an emergency 24hr Dentist to treat you?” I hear you ask.

When you are cursed with a fear of dentists as I am and millions like me are, it really is a case of “Better the Devil you Know”. Strange dental surgeons scare me, (see below pic).


Dear, dear Larry (now sadly gonnie) in a scene from Snickers Man

A week on a cocktail of Ibuprofen, Paracetemol, Orajel, Amoxicillin, (other suicide kits are available), Clove Oil, Glenfidich, Glenmorangie, Glencampbell, Glenclose, Glenanythingaslongasthissoddingtoothstopshurting drags by until the 5th (Sunday) when I feel with my tongue an odd lump on a porcelain crown I had fitted a few years ago. With the walk of a condemned man heading to the gallows, or to a Harry Potter movie, I trudge up to the bathroom and to the mirror therein.

There, as clear as day, is the unmistakeable sight of a crack running the whole length of my crown. It’s has decided this would be a good time to split in half (well! I was going to the dentist anyway, wasn’t I ?).

Yesterday I left the dental surgery clutching another in a long line of prescriptions for antibiotics, and a card with the times of four more appointments to see the surgeon. Two for the THIRD in a series of root canal treatments (Lower Left First Molar) and two to have my freshly-split crown replaced.

KPMG have been assigned the case and I expect to receive their final estimated figures of the cost within weeks.

Oh yes, Happy New Year, by the way.


A Last Minute Christmas Gift

All Clear

Finally got the results of the last scan from the man doing the Chief Consultant impressions up at the Hospital and it all seems to be ok at last. He has taken off the rat poison (Warfarin) and put me onto the aspirin – tho keeping me on statins and heart tablets. So hopefully my blood will start thickening up , I’ll cease bleeding like a Romanov and I can at last get bleedin’ warm this winter.

Says if I do have another stroke, it will be unrelated to me previous ones. I have no idea if that is a good or a bad thing.

 He had no answer about my obese state, however. Fortunately, I have a good track record of losing weight over the last ten days of December.

So, if you were thinking of giving a loved one a shed load of Warfarin for Christmas, I know where you can get some at a very competitive rate.

Fruits de Mer and Eat It


Doctors in the UK are warning that a bad or enormous diet, a dependency on alcohol and a lack of exercise could be as bad for you as smoking.

Research carried out at the University of Thamesmead has shown that a lack of enthusiasm towards useful activity or employment can lead to persons becoming lethargic and anally retentive which can often develop into obsessions, especially with food and eating.

Dr R.Sleeka of the Tervis Project, a government-backed think-tank primarily concerned with the effects of a huge diet on the human body says “These food obsessions can become all-encompassing, with the victim unable to perform simple daily tasks or duties without either cooking, eating or, usually, both.

This obviously has a detrimental effect on a person’s body, weight and, ultimately, their health.

The UK is cooperating with several EU countries in the search for a cure for this syndrome, known as Robertsia a most crippling, if amusing of conditions.”

In France, for example, some sufferers are encouraged to build a barn or destroy an outbuilding every time they feel like a snack.

As an additional weight-loss initiative they are encouraged to swim, often for metres at a time, spending minutes immersed until they are judged to be a danger to shipping.

We're Gonna Need a Bigger Boat

We’re Gonna Need a Bigger Boat

If you have been effected by the issues in this blog, please call 0800 400700 and ask for a Grand Mac et Frites. Oh and get one for Trev, would you ?


Team Single

If there was a more pathetic site this weekend than the 5 inches of rain falling all over England during this Greatest of all Great British Summers, then it must have been the sight of the Australian Cricket Team’s bowling attack, one-by-one limping off the field having strained themselves while being on the wrong end of a stuffing by the English. One of the more poignant moments was watching one of them – Wayne Shane I think he was called – hobbling off towards the pavilion while 11 pissed young men in the crowd, who’d decided to come dressed as a flock of sheep, serenaded him with (to the tune of Knees Up Mother Brown) “You’re Not Very Good, You’re Not Very Good”. They were ably conducted by a bloke dressed as Bo Peep. Don Bradman must be twitching in his box. The Australian Cricket Team has come a long way since the days of Warne, McGrath and the Waugh brothers. A long way in a downwards direction.

Actually, that’s rubbish. Forget you ever read that because I’ve made a few glaring errors (even more than usual). This is how that should have read.

If there was a more pathetic site this weekend than the 5 inches of rain falling all over England during this Greatest of all Great British Summers, then it must have been the sight of the Team Australia bowling attack, one-by-one limping off the field having strained themselves while being on the wrong end of a stuffing by Team England. One of the more poignant moments was watching one of them – Wayne Shane I think he was called – hobbling off towards the pavilion while 11 pissed young men in the crowd, who’d decided to come dressed as a flock of sheep, serenaded him with (to the tune of Knees Up Mother Brown) “You’re Not Very Good, You’re Not Very Good”. They were ably conducted by a bloke dressed as Bo Peep. Don Bradman must be twitching in his box. Cricket Australia has come a long way since the days of Warne, McGrath and the Waugh brothers. A long way in a downwards direction.

I suppose, as usual, it’s only me that gets infuriated by this modern trend of naming organisations in such a way. Cricket Australia, Team GB, Team Sky (that’s a bunch of cyclists, by the way, not pilots), the list is endless. Now I can’t be exactly sure where and how this all started, but you can bet the favourite of your testicles that it originated over the other side of the pond. Who can ever forget the wonderful Corinthian ethos and warmth of the “dream team” of Team USA – that bunch of multi-millionaire professional basketball players who represented Team Coca-Cola (the new name for all USA – not just sports clubs, the whole country) at the Barcelona/McDonald Olympics in 1992. Do you get the feeling that there are PR/Ad men dotted throughout the kingdom who, upon seeing the success of Team USA, have convinced every sporting body that if they change the name of their club from “West Bromley Bowls, Croquet and Social Club” to Team Penge, that not only will they save on ink on headed paper, but that greatness on and off the field of play is but a flick of the wrist away ?

The fact that there was any cricket played at all up there at Chester-le-Street, Durham ( or Emirates Durham International Cricket Ground as it’s now called. Full of Emirs, Durham is, you know) is some sort of miracle brought about by a combination of an act of God and the Durham ground staff (Team Lawnmower). Over at TV Salford (the BBC to you and me), they were constantly showing pictures of the deluge ruining sporting events throughout the UK. The F1 at Silverstone looks like the first to be held underwater since the ill-advised Atlantis Grand Prix of 1911, (where Team Venice were the only ones to finish). Even my Cricket side’s (Team Philosan) tour to Royal Leamington Spa had to be cancelled altogether. Thankfully there’s a roof over centre court at Wimbledon, so Jock McSour and the Williams Brothers (Team Grim) can play their games of wiff waff, or whatever they do, tomorrow.

The weather hasn’t affected me as I turned my ankle over whilst on one of my enforced marches last week, reducing me to invalidity today. The Doc’s plan to shed some weight from me has come at a high price. I’m laid up in the couch with a throbbing achilles tendon, having re-employed my walking stick (which Team NHS gave me last year) for those vital regular journeys upstairs.
July 15th sees the first anniversary of me falling over in the kitchen while my head exploded and, frankly, recovery continues to by slow and intermittent. I’ve been referred to another in a long line of specialists up at Health Kent since a lot of numbness in my face and dizzy spells have returned. Cider does help but I can’t get it on prescription.

My bald shins (it’s an old man thing) and feet have become bloated and covered in what looks like a million blood-spots. From a distance it looks like I have a sun tan on my lower regions only. Up close, they remind me of my nan’s shins (I looked at them a lot.) The Doc told me he thought it might be a reaction to warfarin. I asked for a second opinion, so he told me I was ugly as well.

So I wait for the next in a series of docs appointment. Shuffling around, to-and-from trap one, watching the rain outside and sad Australian cricketers. As I struggle to climb the stairs, Incumbent Dartford breaks into a verse of “You’re Not Very Good”. And, to be honest, this time I can’t argue with her.

How to Complain. #97: Writing to the Council

An elderly reader hopes that by sharing his experience of the newly-named “Royal” Borough of Greenwich, others will be wary of promises made by their local council and spared from similar misery.
Mr. D Rapley
11 ********** Road
New Eltham
SE9 ***
 I write in frustration regarding my ambitious request for a mattress collection. A request was successfully made to your office by my wife and collection duly arranged for last Thursday 7th June.
 We were instructed to leave the mattress out for collection before 6am on the 7th. Wow,we thought,these mattress men are really early worms. Mattress in position and collection naively anticipated.
 Guess what – we still await collection,despite several phone call attempts to advise you of the situation of our deteriorating bedware.These attempts unsurprisingly only resulted in a loop tape of recorded messages reassuring me of all the wonderful services the now Royal Borough boasts.
On one lottery-odded occasion an actual  human eventually decided to pick up the receiver.
 Luckily my wife still managed to remember why she had phoned (she put the phone on speaker during the recorded options, managed to prepare a 5 course meal,wash up and finish knitting a balaclava), and was then given vague assurances from the inexplicably named customer services department that we were “on the computer” and the arrival of the men in the yellow lorry was imminent.
 Well,it still hasn’t happened. Not a reversing beep. Not a welcoming woosh of an airbrake.Nothing.
 Oh yes,all this in despite of the fact that the monstrous £21 charge you demanded was trousered on the spot. Council procedures dictate that the request couldn’t even be registered unless payment was made. I was 20 guineas lighter before the receiver had been slammed back into it’s now cold cradle.
 So,I must dutifully inform you that unless this now sodden,hopefully vermin invested health hazard is not collected as you promised (as is your duty),it will give it a new home in the road.
 I shall then take a picture or two of the festering,soon to be vandalised item and send them,along with a brief invective, to the appropriate consumer interest editor at the local News Shopper. Most probably the same hack who reviews the local pubs with such damning vitriol.
 I live in hope and remind you of the borough’s – sorry,Royal Borough’s – crest that proudly proclaims “WE GOVERN BY SERVING”. Can I have a bit of that please?
Dave Rapley
Your loyal rate payer of forty plus years standing..and waiting.

Socrates Brasileiro Sampaio de Sousa Vieira de Oliveira

Not only a brilliant footballer, but a lot of points in Scrabble, Socrates Brasileiro Sampaio de Sousa Vieira de Oliveira, or just Socrates to you and me, has died. Having survived a long career of being forced to wear some of the smallest shorts in sporting history, his hobbies of smoking, drinking and fathering kids (see And Where were the Germans? previous post) finally caught up with him.

Said The Daily Telegraph:

“Socrates – who also played at the 1986 World Cup finals – was a flamboyant footballer who boasted a myriad of contradictions.

He was a qualified doctor who never gave up his enjoyment of a smoke and a drink; he was an outspoken political activist, regularly protesting against the Brazilian military junta of the 1970s and 1980s.

He once listed his heroes as Fidel Castro, Che Guevara and John Lennon, fathered six children and spent his retirement penning passionate articles on politics and economics as well as sport.

Socrates won 60 caps for Brazil, scored 22 goals and was a contemporary of the great Zico.

After officially ending his playing career in 1989, he bizarrely reappeared 15 years later, at the age of 50, with Garforth Town, an amateur side in the backwoods of northern England where he featured for just 10 minutes of action.”

A bit of a bolshy bastard, who loved a gasper (this is me talking now, not The Telegraph), Dr Socrates is remembered as much as a champion of the little man and a fierce campaigner against tyranny and dictatorship as he was for his swift, elegant play, his back-heels and his marvellous goal celebrations.There’s a video on Youtube of his appearance at Garforth Town, but this is how you really wanna remember him.

In a world when all we’re left with is the dignity and charm of John Terry, the wit and wisdom of Joey Barton and the grace and sportsmanship of Robbie Savage, it’s nice to remember a time when soccer was populated with gentleman and scholars, in every sense of the word.
And shorts that cut you in half.

That’ll Bring Water to Your Eyes