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The Dentist



Wednesday 18 November 2020


A fear of dentists that goes all the way back to my school days.


I had a happy childhood at The Villa in Great Habton. I knew nothing other than the countryside and in the autumn I would vanish for hours harvesting the seasonal bounties. The hedgerows were laden with crab-apples and I'd collect them by the sackful. Of course I had little use for them myself but I could sell them at the local markets.

On a Saturday morning I'd load the bags onto a pony and trap and take them Pickering market.

It was about six miles, I could do it in five with the odd short cut or two across the fields.

The sacks of crabapples would sell for 1/6d a stone.

Once they were all sold I'd go and buy a big bar of Mackintosh's toffee from the sweet stall and enjoy the ride home, contented in the clear autumn air, with money in my pocket to go and buy something else to sell.

It might be the weakness for toffee that helped put paid to my teeth.

I recall around that same time an altercation with the school dentist. I have always had a terrible fear of dentists and when I was in the dreaded dentists’ chair I would have to be held down.

It was during one of these infrequent visits to the school dentist that I once caught sight of a huge pair of pincers. They were big ones, far too big for the job in hand.

Immediately it crossed my mind that today would be the day that he planned to get his revenge for the years of battles that we'd had in that chair.

I didn't like the look of these pincers so I ducked under his arm, wriggled my way out of the dentist’s chair and I ran home.

I wasn't going to take any chances this time so I scaled the big tree at the end of the garden, right to the top. I could climb quickly in them days. If you lived in the countryside then you knew how to climb a tree.

I must have looked like a crow's nest, dangling on the end of one of the flimsiest branches but I knew nobody could get me.

I stayed up the tree until it was dark and when it was supper time I came back down, grabbed hold of some bread and dripping and ran to my bedroom and locked the door.

I've never got along with dentists. Nowadays I don't have much need for them as you can count my remaining teeth on one finger.











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