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Whitby, Mrs Laidler Week 6: 3 July

I had root canal work on my first premolar bicuspid last week and, you know, it could have been worse. Although this might come as a surprise to people who know me, the hardest part was actually keeping my mouth open that long; in fact, coming in at about 40 minutes, the procedure was both shorter and less painful than my last performance appraisal. I’m not saying it was fun—there are few more disconcerting sights than a dentist fitting the sort of drill bit you’d use to countersink a screw—but nothing lasts for ever. (Besides, with my upper lip completely numb from the anaesthetic I had a golden opportunity to hone my impersonation of Jack Nicholson playing The Joker; always a bonus.)

Hill o’ Many Stanes, nr Mid-Clyth

For many years I was afraid of dentists. This wasn’t an irrational fear: one of my earliest memories is of a school dentist whose drill slipped and ripped into my lower gum. When my father came to pick me up from school I was still visibly upset, but for some reason, humiliated and ashamed, I couldn’t tell him the truth about what had happened. Instead I stupidly made up a story about being bullied, which of course only made things worse: for my father, fiercely protective of us, immediately stormed me back into school to confront this bully and sort it out.

Ruined cottage near Mid-Clyth

I can’t remember now how it all ended, which probably means that nothing really bad happened (I suspect my father soon realised the truth and tactfully let it drop). But I do feel mildly aggrieved that the many happy hours I must have spent as a child have vanished from my memory like breath off a mirror, while stuff like this is always there—most vividly around four in the morning. (Well, that and questions such as what happens to elderly vampires who’ve lost their incisors, and where could they go to get dentures fitted? But mostly the bad memory stuff.)

Anyway, I took a couple of days off work for the procedure, and for some quality gansey time. And lo, great was the knitting thereof: I’ve finished the back and am well embarked on the front. I’m keeping my powder dry for now regarding what shoulder straps I’ll employ, but at the rate I’m going I should get to them next weekend. As I mentioned last week, the pattern is one of the very best. There’s something almost organic about the texture; it strikes me as the kind of thing the creature from Alien would wear, supposing it was short of a few bob and decided to have a try at the herring fishing for a change…

9 comments to Whitby, Mrs Laidler Week 6: 3 July

  • Jane

    Nice, very, very nice, Gordon, just so lovely, so lustrous and with a wonderful 3D quality, if I may say so, a sort of prehistoric monster scaly thing, quite marvellous. It is quite right this one is for yourself.

    Congratulations on getting through so well at the dentist! My dentist, a very nice lady, used to work at the top of an old house with a Velux window in the sloping ceiling, through which I could see the sky! The last few years she has occupied an area of the ground floor, a good room, but I do miss the view of the sky! Take care!

    • Gordon

      Hello Jane, yes it has that sort of organic feel to it I associate with slime dripping from the ceiling while something uncoils itself and drops from the ceiling just on the corner of your line of vision…

      My dentist has a nice map of the north of Scotland on the ceiling above the chair, but then they go and shine that bright light in your eyes and blind you…

  • =Tamar

    Sympathetic ouches. I had dentist issues (read: didn’t go) for decades because of my childhood dentist.

    The gansey is handsome as ever. It’s too hot here to consider serious knitting, though sometimes I wonder why I’m spending so much time huddled over a computer that radiates heat when I could be knitting next to (or leaning on) an air conditioner. That scarf will only take a few more rows to finish.

    I’m intrigued by the wobble in the line of stones; usually long lines of menhirs are straight.

    • Gordon

      Hi Tamar, yes, childhood scars sometimes never heal, alas. On the plus side, even when it’s bright and sunny here it’s still only usually about 17ºc, perfectly bearable.

      The Hill o’ Many Stanes is something of a puzzle. It consists of a hillside with 200 or so stones laid out in not-quite-straight rows, nobody knows why. It’s estimated to be 4,000 years old, or some of it, but again, nobody knows. (This is why I love prehistory: never believe an archaeologist who tells you he or she knows why the ancients did anything! Sometimes people just do stuff, because it feels right—you don’t have to have a reason.)

  • Sharon in Surrey

    I, too, suffered from Dentist issues brought on by the Bully that masqueraded as a Dentist when I was a kid. Parents were NOT allowed in the procedure room & I remember pinches, smacks, bony elbows & PAIN. I was an adult & tired of dental pain before I went to a children’s dentist. My current Asian dentists are gentle & kind & I had a root canal done in a back tooth a few years back. Like you, I felt the worst thing about it was keeping my mouth open!! They had me frozen from eye-brow to nipple!!!
    Chin up Ole Boy, you can DO this!! Nice sweater by the way.

    • Gordon

      Hi Sharon, that sounds like genuine dental abuse; in my case I’m sure it was an accident. I read a Graham Greene novel once featuring a dentist who operated in Africa or Central America, and he used a drill that was powered by a foot treadle. Breaks me out in a cold sweat just thinking about it!

  • Sharon in Surrey

    A foot treadle!! Good Gawd Gordon, drills are now electrified for speed & convenience. And if you’re frozen, why do you even care?????

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