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Update ‘Me, Me, Me’: Thank you to all the people who offered kind words regarding the temporary glitch in proceedings yesterday. After a good long lie down during the afternoon, things improved and still more so, after last night’s rest. I’m thinking it was just a warning shot. Well, hoping anyway.

Update Arnie: He has decided it’s actually better to lounge around either in front of the fire or in the sun outside and seems to have curtailed his rousting duties. For the meantime anyway.

Moan alert: Today has brought about its own interesting spoke in the wheel. Another tedious distraction. It’s not particularly pleasant so scroll on by three or four paragraphs if you are of a delicate disposition.

I’ve noticed a good deal of sensitivity in my upper right teeth over the last week or so. This seemed to coincide with the reduction in analgesia, so it may have been there a while but I’ve simply been masking it with painkillers. Sadly, it has this week necessitated a reinstatement of regular paracetamol but not for the back recovery. By gum, they‘ve been athrobbin’!

This morning brought about a megathrob in my upper jaw which culminated in me having a good old dig around with some kind of toothpick/flossing skewer/weapon type thingy.

Whatever it was, pleasingly it went pop, allowing a goodly deal of vile smelling and yucky blood and pus-stuff to flow freely, so reducing the pressure enormously. It looked and smelt revolting but for a couple of hours afterwards, man, it felt good!

While this in itself for the short term is acceptable, I’m not convinced about it in the long term.

Dentists are like hen’s teeth over here in South West France. Same in the UK?

The fact that I have one is a wonder and pretty much a miracle in itself.

He’s a lovely Irish/French guy who does not tolerate fools gladly and is coming to the end of his career, so he tells me. Although he’s still around several years after saying he was going to retire. I simply don’t have a clue what we will do when he finally does.

Thinking positively, I decided to contact his receptionist and see if he has any spaces for an appointment next week, when I hope to get the OK to start driving again. Poor Simon will be let off his chauffeuring duties at long last.

Simon is out helping a friend unloading a large chunk of stone down in the next village, as I make the call to the dentist. Unbelievably, and I had to confirm twice, the receptionist offers me an appointment this very afternoon. This in itself is amazing and there is no way I can turn it down so I hastily agree. As she says ’A bientot,’ (see you later) there is a codicil comment: ’Please don’t be late, the dentist is fitting you in especially.’

A good friend recently spent many pain-filled days trying to track down a dental appointment local to us for a cracked tooth, ended up being seen on her ensuing visit to Poland and will be continuing her treatment in Cuba. That’s probably not the norm but suffice to say, needs must and all that.

I’m not travelling at present so it probably wouldn’t be an ideal option.

Painfully aware that I am extremely lucky indeed having procured that hen’s tooth, I won’t even think about testing the dentist’s wrath by missing or being late for this appointment today.

I duly call Simon. No answer of course, and I end up leaving a message as the mobile reception is terrible where him and H are both working.

Only half an hour later he rolls down the drive.

’Ah, you got my message then,’ I glibly say.

’Nah, haven‘t seen it. I’ve got to go back. H’s van is stuck in the mud. Not only that, the stone he had cut is too big. I’ve got to load the tractor up and go back and pull the truck and the stone out.’

An apology from me for being a blithering burden yet again, and a brief exchange of dental news…

He agrees that no matter what, he will be back in time for me to get to the dentist in good time.

I make provisional plans about driving without insurance in case he doesn’t make it back. He tells me not to be ‘So bloody stupid!’ saying of course he will be here.

Regardless of being so bloody stupid, I still make plan B in my head.

The receptionist’s warning about being late rings in my head like an ear worm.

Simon is not known for his timekeeping.

It’s a fact. An incontrovertible and consistent fact. A reliable source of irritation if we are due to be anywhere at a particular time.

One particularly inauspiciously late occasion springs to mind. He spent ages fannying about with his favourite lilac coloured PVC trousers that one-legged Dennis, the guy that had just died, had requested (pre his death of course) Simon wear at his funeral.

Yes, you read that right. It was a particularly difficult sentence to write correctly, if I’m honest, thus if you’ve read it and understood, so much the better.

We arrived, bottom clenchingly late of course, at Dennis’s funeral at the same time as Dennis and the hearse, both Simon and I done up to the nines. Simon was sporting his famed lilac strides with silver buckles all the way up each side.

Oh come on! It was the late nineties after all. Everyday attire in East Anglia!

Dennis of course, was allowed special dispensation as he was dead. He was duly parked, conveniently for him, inconveniently for us, right outside the entrance as coffins usually are.

Leaving our car a way down the road, we had to leg it at full tilt in our top to toe, full-party-funeral gear.

We only just managed to dive into the chapel in front of the coffin by employing some very nifty and nimble footwork indeed. It was definitely closer than I was comfortable with, almost sending the puffing pall bearers flying.

There’s something about lilac PVC and running that really does induce the most fearful sweats. Too much sweating will trigger an attack of hives too.

Speaking from experience here.

I don’t really need to say much more except we all gave Dennis a bloody good send off, despite the sweat factor.

But Simon still continues to be late.

Not so bad here as there’s a well known local ‘thing‘ called the ‘Gascon quart’ (pronounced ‘car’). In essence, the locals all realise that socially everyone runs late so you are allowed a quarter of an hour wiggle time to be exactly that.

But not for dental and medical appointments where it is insisted you turn up 15-30 minutes early.

Simon’s promising to be back in time so I can only wait with baited and it must be said, septic breath at this time, watching the clock advance closer to the time we need to leave.

Can’t wait until next week when hopefully all this will be behind me and I will be insured to drive again.



Hi, thanks for stopping by!

I’m Jill, a RHS gold medal winning English professional gardener, garden designer and landscaper living in South West France since 2012. This is a personal account of my gardening life, some of the jolly and occasionally not so jolly japes that ensued while working, that probably caused my subsequent back problems.

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