Tuesday 25 January 2011

A night on the tiles

On Saturday night we went out for a celebration meal in the village hall. The occasion that we were celebrating was sixty years of the village hall and at the same time the newly installed kitchen was being christened. The village hall had been smartened up in an attempt to make it look more like a bistro than a sixty year old prefabricated village hall. Eleven six seating tables had been arranged around the hall with the top table on the stage. The meal was cooked by the two sons of one of the committee members and served by young ladies who live in the village. The diners all looked quite smart with some men wearing jackets and ties and many of the ladies wearing dresses or skirts rather than the usual trousers or jeans. Husband and I only knew one of the fellow diners on our table, so during the course of the evening we made three new friends.

The evening was a great success and I think that most people enjoyed themselves, but as it was the first time that a meal had been attempted there were a few hiccups and teething troubles which will need to be ironed out for the future. One major omission was the absence of  pepper and salt pots from the table. The takings from the evening will be brought round here sometime this week for husband, who is the village hall treasurer, to bank or to be more accurate he will do the paperwork and I do the actual banking. The proceeds from the evening will go towards the fund to build a new village hall, which is badly needed.

It was nearly midnight by the time that we arrived home and  the next door neighbour's dog was serenading our little lane with his barking. When I had been getting ready to go out I could not help but hear that the neighbour's dog was barking in a way which indicated that they were away or out and he was obviously outside. Strange that, as when the WAG from next door came round on Christmas Eve she said that the dog had become a  house dog and no longer lived outside in the kennel. Well that didn't last long. Anyway  we were going out for the evening and I hoped that by the time we came home that the dog would have barked himself  to sleep. We went out and forgot all about the barking dog. For once his barking was not going to spoil our evening.

There was no point in trying to go to bed with the dog barking outside our bedroom window or thereabouts so we decided to have a nightcap before retiring. Perhaps we should have offered the dog a drink too. By about 1 am peace and quiet appeared to have been restored to our neighbourhood, so we took ourselves off to bed. Just as we climbed into bed what did we hear but the dog barking. We could not stay up indefinitely. We just had to hope that there would not be anymore episodes of barking. But we were wrong. It was nearly 4 am when the dog finally stopped barking and I managed to fall asleep. On Sunday I felt like something that the cat had brought in, or perhaps that should be the dog. I had a headache all day and my eyes felt as if they were out on stalks. Bedtime could not come soon enough.

We have had this problem of the neighbours going away and leaving the dog on its' own for over two years now. We have complained to the Environmental Health department of the local council but we do not appear to be getting anywhere with them. (That is a post for another day). The police and the RSPCA are not interested as it is not their responsibility. The coalition government are in the process of introducing legislation relating to dogs and antisocial behaviour. The sooner this legislation is introduced the better. The idea of living in a cottage up an idyllic looking country lane may seem like heaven, but right now we have the neighbours from hell!

Friday 14 January 2011

Canals and crowns

Regular readers of my blog will know that this year my life is going to revolve around my dentist. I had hoped that by now the dental extravaganza would have begun, but no. I went to see the dentist again this week in the expectation of agreeing a timetable for the proposed works. He is unable to do some of the procedures himself, that he thinks I require, and has referred me to one of his colleagues. I have an appointment or rather a consultation to see the colleague next week for him to explain what needs to be done, what my options are and most painful of all what it will cost. So for now here is the saga of last year's dental odyssey. I have tried to enlighten this post with a photograph, taken last Autumn, of the Shropshire Union Canal which runs through the south east corner of our village.


For as long as I can remember I have been to a dentist for regular check ups. My earliest memory of a visit to the dentist is as a young child fighting with my brother for who would be first to get into the dentist's chair for as ride up and down. I must have been about four years old when the dentist suggested that I stop sucking my thumb or my front teeth would stick out. Not wanting rabbit/buck teeth I stopped sucking my thumb, but it was already too late the damage had been done. When my second teeth came through they stuck out slightly. Both the dentist and I hoped that they might put themselves right, but they didn't. Shortly after my fourteenth birthday the dentist decided that it was time to tackle the problem. He started by making an impression of my teeth and from it he made a  cast of my teeth. I can still clearly remember my father taking me to the dentist to see the cast and make a decision about orthodontics. No child volunteers to wear a brace, but I took one look at the cast of my teeth and decided that I could not go through life with teeth that looked as mine did and so began around two years of orthodontics which involved frequent and regular visits to the dentist to have my brace adjusted. I lost all fear of the dentist and to this day I would rather go to the dentist than the hairdresser.

In May last year when the date of my six monthly check up came round,  I didn't bat an eyelid. As far as I was aware my teeth were fine. After the usual pleasantries and initial look at my teeth and mouth the dentist started poking around with a variety of different implements. He was  no longer making small talk and the expression on his face was serious. Being slightly cynical I though that he was looking for work as I had not had anything more than a check up for some time. He told me that he needed to take an X-ray. Whilst that was developing he explained that he had found a gum boil which indicated that the root of one of my back molars had died. My options were a root canal filing followed by a crown or if I left the tooth until I had toothache and a full blown abscess his only option would be to extract the tooth. That would leave a gap requiring a denture, bridge or an implant. I was not totally surprised by his finding as I had noticed a small swelling in my mouth the previous week but it was not bothering me and I had been too busy to even look at it to see what it might be. The dentist commented that this must be quite a shock to me as I had no obvious symptoms and suggested that I think about it. The shock was the cost of it all. None of the options was cheap. The decision on the course of action was obvious, regardless of the cost. I had not endured two years of orthodontics as a teenager to end up with dentures!

Four weeks later I presented myself at the dentist's to have the root canal filing done. After an injection which numbed all of he right side of my face, my mouth was clamped open for the duration of the procedure by a plastic guard. The process was slow and fiddly and at one point both the dentist and his nurse tried to put both of their hands plus implements into my mouth, at the same time! Another four weeks on and I was back again. This time for the dentist to check that all was well with the filing before he proceeded to crown the tooth. A few weeks later and it was back to the torture chamber for me. Another numb face, four impressions, an array of drills and eventually my temporary crown was fitted. Another two weeks and the permanent crown had been made and was ready to be fitted. The ease with which the dentist removed the temporary crown was unnerving. One quick flick and it was off. For two weeks I had been happily chomping away on it. Hopefully the permanent crown had been fixed with stronger cement. No more dentist appointments for six months now, or so I hoped.

In between my check up appointment and actually having the root canal filing I read this article in The Times about root canal filings. They are a very skilled procedure. Some dentists no longer do them preferring to refer patients to a dentist who does. Others continue to offer the procedure but it would be better if they did not. I was lucky in that the problem was picked up at a routine check up. I had no toothache and consequently no need for painkillers or antibiotics. However, I have not been so lucky with my current problem.