Biting Hard


I have never enjoyed going to the dentist (that would be perverse), but equally I’ve never feared the experience either. Generally my twice-yearly visits involve a lot of tense gaping, followed by a gentle telling-off from the dentist about not doing something or other correctly: flossing / brushing / biting / eating / gargling ….. delete as appropriate. Over time I’ve concluded that trying to please my dentist is about as possible as satisfying a personal trainer (if I had one): trying one’s best is never going to be good enough.

During a recent checkup the chastising stepped up a gear. Apparently I have been brushing too hard, not using my interdental bushes frequently enough (actually not at all, but I wasn’t admitting that) and biting my food incorrectly. Who knew there was a correct way to bite food? Both dentist and hygienist managed to shake up a cocktail of despair and condescension, garnished with a brutal assessment of the future prospects for my gnashers. I return tomorrow for two minor fillings at a cost I cannot reconcile with the cursory length of my appointment. But then, who ever met a poor dentist? In an act of dirty protest I went to bed that night without brushing my teeth. I did not feel better for it in the morning.

Truth is, my hectic lifestyle is neither good for my teeth or the rest of my body. I eat and drink erratically and badly. I live out of a suitcase and am too knackered at the end of the day to be pushing miniature pipe cleaners into the gaps between my teeth (although never too tired to tend to my plants). I will regret not doing so one day, just as I will regret drinking too much wine, eating too many ready meals, not saving, not visiting Syria before the war, not learning to play the piano, not cultivating a six pack etc. etc. One can only do so much.

Meanwhile it’s turned cold in the east of England this week. In preparation I retired all my tropicals to the workshop last weekend. Here they will overwinter in frost-free gloom. Gingers and bananas are not actively growing at this time of year, so require very little light to keep them going. I rather enjoy standing alongside my giant green friends as I pot up bulbs, listen to The Archers and make plans for next year. The garden looks vast and empty without them all, but it’s a good opportunity to jet-wash the courtyard and tidy my raised beds. Rummaging among the foliage I discover that narcissi are beginning to stick their little green beaks above the ground, a clear sign that spring is only months away. Will we experience another biting winter, or will the weather be kind to us? Who knows? At least I know how to look after my plants ….. TFG.