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Friday, 4 December 2009


There are two things I consider a public nuisance and dentit's ( I rather like this spelling mistake....I will keep it ) are one of them, the other being planes, not stationary ones but ones in the air and which I am not flying. In fact airports could be added to my two main bete noires and possibly dying too. There must be some connection as all result in a fear of. The dentist phobia is unsurprising and I can not be held accountable. Thanks to a certain Dr Gold who told me to shut up while I was being drilled into as a child was bad enough but when he stopped, leaned back, tools in hands and added 'for God's sake how do you think Denis Nilsen got his kicks?' I knew then that singing 'Genetic Engineering ' by X-Ray Spex in my head while under said drill would never save me. As I left my new, female dentist's the other day, storm tossed, on my last legs and waiting for the lift I heard her say 'Dios Mio' and breath a huge sigh of relief from behind the closed door to her assistant who I accused of hurting me with one of the numerous bits of metal she had in my mouth.

Today I found myself in the doctor's waiting room sandwiched between two old women both with that anarchistic spirit that often prevails in older people. There was a man much younger than all who kept asking if he could see the doc before us as he was 'in a hurry'. Nothing gets my hackles and shackles rising and breaking free as a Spaniard who is 'in a hurry'. There is always some chancer who wants to 'go first' as he or she, unlike us, has a life to lead or has the car parked somewhere. It seems I am not alone and I always thought it was the Irish you shouldn't give cause for revenge but these two old ladies stood their ground and gave him a mouthful everytime he got up and approached poor Doctor de Juan who by now was exasperated by this fool asking him if he could be next in line. It went on for an hour and I made sure I chipped in and waved my finger and ground my heels in which led another old woman to believe I was local and then she proceeded to tell me everything about herself including how bored she is with the town and how it is full of old people and how she likes to go down to Zaragoza to get away from all this boredom just to look at the shops and have a change of air otherwise what else is she to do all day apart from read the paper and pop out to the shops? When she went in she took ages and I heard another old woman remark to her husband 'what the hell is she doing in there? Telling him her life story?' The whole experience started to take on a Jewish angle and I felt as I often do here like I was in a Marx Brother's movie. My story took five minutes and I am sure Dr de Juan muttered 'sorry' as I went in and proceeded to talk to me about the bloke pushing in and added 'anyway, does he look ill to you?'

I have realised that the two bugbears above are my main worry but there are loads of niggly ones that I am rehearsing as I get older. The latest involves a chef whose name escapes me but he is French. Raymond Blanc perhaps? Anyway, I am shocked at how the people who appear on his 'show' and who want to be in his life are prepared to be spoken to in that way. 'What way?' you may ask and I find myself in a new position, one that I feel didn't exist years ago and my answer is that it is bad enough being spoken to as a grown up by another adult in a condescending way but it somehow opens an enmity gene when spoken to in this way by a Frenchman, one that I felt I had specially reserved for another of our European cousins and I don't mean The Spanish, who drive me mad but who I will always have more than a soft spot for.

I have to thank Michael Palin for this blog as he remarked the other day not to me but to thousands or perhaps millions of other viewers who found themselves with the unenviable task of sitting through a chat with Alan Titmarsh that he is glad he has kept a diary as he can have a laugh at how he used to be and how he has changed and also reading stuff you wrote years ago
is often precious as so much is forgotten with the advancing years.

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