Teeth… And Terror


Regular readers will know that like a fair proportion of the population , I am afraid of the dentist. Not my actual dentist per se, as she is super-model beautiful, softly spoken and blessed with a silken touch on her instruments.

I had a tooth out yesterday… no Tooth Fairy for me; mind you, I don’t really think she would have wanted this tooth, although I did not lose it through lack of care. I am extremely conscientious when it comes to looking after my teeth, precisely because I am so afraid of the dentist.

For years, though, this particular tooth has bothered me. I’ve tried all the sensitive toothpastes on the market, it’s had various fillings – even a root canal or something – I didn’t listen too much to the gory details about that…

My previous dentist dismissed my complaints of it not feeling right, too hot, as being perfectly normal, as it was a gold filling which does obviously retain heat. He reprimanded me for not flossing the area: “But it HURTS!” He replied: “No pain, no gain.” Yeah right.

Then, last year, I changed dentists. As a matter of course, on my first routine check up there, x-rays were taken, and when I went back to receive the results, I was horrified to find that the previous dentist had slapped a filling and root canal on top of an underlying abscess that was already present. The actual bone in my jaw was losing density… as my current dentist pointed out to me, showing me a cloudy grey blotch in a whole sea of blotches, that I eventually made out was my head. Eugh.

The tooth was granted a period of grace to see if it would somehow magically right itself. It didn’t. It throbbed and buzzed like a wasp in a bottle… it was the sort of thing that you would scratch until it bled if you could. So, yeserday, the tooth’s time was up.

Palms sweating, nervously clutching clear Fluorite (good for teeth) and Amber (natural analgesic) I lay back in the dentist’s chair as she tenderly rubbed the special numbing cream into my gum before injecting the anaesthetic. Lots of it. I am hyper-sensitive to pain, an actual recognised medical condition – I’m not just being a big wuss – and moments later, the tooth popped out as easily as an apple falling off a tree.

It’s all over,” my lovely dentist soothed in dulcet tones , “just rinse and then you can go…”

I leapt to my feet and shot out, pausing only to mutter “’ank ‘oo!” and glance back disbelievingly at the sweaty outline I left behind on her pristine dentist’s chair. I suppose that’s one less tooth to worry about in the future, and to be honest, I’m glad it’s gone, rather like when the annoying neighbour whose car alarm goes off all the time at 4.00 a.m. moves away…

And I leave you with this cautionary tale from the poet Pam Ayres that my father found amusing… and I, quite frankly, find terrifying…

18362027_123540948201113_1080506221_oFluorite and Amber… very useful for dentist trips…

Puppies and Pain


It’s been a long time since we’ve had a little boy in the house at my mother’s… of either the canine or human persuasion. Rocky is obviously the most recent addition and like most babies, loves to play. He has a number of special games that I am invited to play, like tug-of-war with the rope toy. This has a certain risk element to it, as he doesn’t really play fair… moving his jaws up the rope till his teeth are perilously close to my fingers and I have about two centimetres of rope left to pull on.


There are various other games – hide and seek is quite funny, biscuit in three cups, piggy-in-the-middle… This time last week I never thought I would be finishing the week in quite so much pain or with quite so much personal damage… Rocky is, indirectly, the cause of this…

Firstly, we were playing catch with my son in the front room at my mother’s… the puppy was wall-of-deathing between the two sofas while I was sitting on one of the arms. Next thing I know, I’m seeing stars and I feel like I’ve been punched in the face. Which I have. So I know exactly how it feels…

Stunned, I fell completely onto the sofa, tears of pain spurting from my eyes and my agonised intakes of breath filling the now-silent front room. My son leapt forwards:

Oh my God, are you all right??” he gasped.

What happened??Did you hit me?” I asked…

No, it was the dog,” he replied.

Apparently, what had happened was that the puppy had bounded across me, smashing me in the face with his muscular back…

ICE! You need ICE!”

My son rushed to the kitchen and thoughtfully returned with an ice pack to press tenderly against my cheekbone… (“Are you and your partner not getting on, Samantha?” “No, no… we’re fine… I was hit in the face with a dog… “)

Realising that my shrieks of pain were not part of the game, Rocky came to see what the mater was, and empathising with my pain – I like to think so, anyway – buried his head in my son’s jumper and scream-whined his sadness at my injury.


This of course made me laugh…

What’s the matter with you, Samantha? What have you done to the dog?”

Nothing – I think he may have fractured my cheekbone… can you -” fully expecting my mother to offer sympathetic concern and advice as a retired nurse.

Don’t be stupid, Samantha, what can they do? Put your face in plaster?”

I recovered.

Then, the day before yesterday, we were playing piggy-in-the-middle. I was sinning round and round after the dog trying to get the ball off him. I f’*£#ng  fell over, didn’t I…

My son reported faithfully that the dog was nowhere near me and that I appeared to just… randomly fall over… in my defence, I must say I was dizzy… or I tripped over a fairy. Whatever.

Fact of the matter was, I ended up face down in my mother’s climbing rose, which she had carefully pruned and staked last Autumn… And I smacked my head off the fence post. It must have been a spectacular fall as Erin got up from her seat in the kitchen doorway and came trotting over to check on me, tenderly licking my grazed hands as I heaved myself over onto my backside…

My son thought I’d skewered myself on the stakes and rushed over, ashen-faced. The pup came over and stuck his nose down my cleavage with a friendly snort:

What you doing down there, then?”

I had half the rose tree rammed up my thumbnail – the same thumb that I cut on the so-called safety razor a few weeks ago, and a crescent shaped piece of nail dangled forlornly from my bruised digit. My mother:

Get off my bloody rose Samantha! It’s a Heritage fragranced rose!”


With my son’s assistance and Erin standing so I could grip her fur, I pulled myself painfully to my feet and went home to take stock of my injuries collected so far this week in private.

I am now sporting a rakish L-shaped bruise on my left cheekbone. A bruise on my forehead where I headbutted the fence post. My hands have gravel rash and my knees look like two bowls of purple porridge… apart from that, I’m fine!

18090505_1824224537897715_714320937_oEvery household should have a well stocked First Aid Cat…

“You Need Hands…”

2017-03-31 (2)

These lyrics fit quite nicely with the theme of this post, and although they were originally Eydie Gorme’s, I remember the Max Bygraves version very clearly… thanks Grandad…

Obviously in addition to hands, we have opposable thumbs, which are generally quite useful, although I still can’t open child-proof caps, and recently, while I was trying to take the cap off an ironically named safety razor, I sliced a perfect semicircle of flesh out of the tip of my thumb. Nothing happened for a moment, but then the blood began to flow and it REALLY hurt… it was on my right hand and it made life awkward for a couple of days as I couldn’t even hold a pen without crying… I’m not very good at pain!

HANDS 1 (2)My hands… clutching Charlie, enjoying a sneaky squish of soft fur before she woke up…

It’s only until you can’t use your hands that you appreciate just how much you really do need them. Animals like cats and dogs can be quite dextrous, using their front paws to grip and manipulate. I adore Charlie’s delicate little paws with her two distinctive ginger toes and pink paw pads – her others are brown. She can use her paws like hands to good effect and I remember being highly amused to see her box my son’s ears…


I love the varying styles of hands that children draw – apparently hands are, in fact, one of the hardest things to draw – but children tend to draw giant appendages, attached directly to the body, or round circles, with five lines sticking out of them…

The prominence we give to hands in drawings and life even as children suggests they play a dominant role in how we perceive the world and people around us. Hands are one of the first things I look at… I appreciate well-kept hands. I used to bite my nails when I was younger, which made them look horrible; but then when I was thirteen, I started smoking… and stopped biting my nails. (Simple. Exchanging one bad habit for another can stop the previous – NO! Don’t do it!) However, my hands healed, and even though I haven’t smoked for seven months, I haven’t gone back to biting my nails…

As I said, hands are one of the first things I look at on a person – you can tell a lot about the person from how their hands look, and hands are one of the first things we present when meeting someone new… I can admire dainty hands and manicures on a woman, with wonderful shades of nail polish – I don’t myself, as having worked in the food industry, we were discouraged in case of “flaking”… – and I like well-kept hands on a man.


There’s nothing “girly” about manicures, gentlemen, trust me! My personal preference is “artistic” type hands, long, elegant fingers and oval palms that hint at strength, yet sensitivity… I mentioned this personal preference to a friend and her response was interesting…

Ugh! Spidery hands! I like a man whose hands show they’ve done an honest day’s work!”

My younger son’s hands are a happy blend of mine and his father’s… his father’s rounded fingertips but the length of digit he inherited from me. He told me the other day that hands shaped like ours with a curved line between the bases of the fimgers and the top of the palm and ring and first fingers the same length are “psychic” hands… to which I replied

Ooh! Didn’t see that coming…!”




Labradorite and… oh yes all right then, Labradors


I was initially attracted to this wonderful stone by its colour. I came across it at my son’s lovely crystal lady’s stall, where her partner gave me a large freeform to hold. The iridescence of it is like capturing a rainbow in your hands, the vibe from it is something else altogether. Holding it was a bit like a scene from a sci-fi film… a low powerful throb and a picture in my mind’s eye of the deep, cold depths of the Universe, relieved by the flashes of colour, heavenly blues and golds, the warmth of pinks and purples… it’s quite a stone.


It is also known as the ‘Actor’s Stone’, possibly why my son is drawn to it, but I must confess I find it a little overwhelming. Maybe I’m just shallow… but I find that I am rather more drawn to its gentler cousin, Moonstone. Both are types of Feldspar and its layered formation is what gives these crystals their iridescence.


Labradorite is, then, a very mystical stone that connects with the Light but also offers protection of the highest order, by creating a barrier to deflect negative energy whilst sealing positivity in.


Labradorite manages to be both grounding and uplifting … it can raise consciousness to increase awareness of spiritual purposes and simultaneously harness this energy within you, within the physical body. It can be a comforting stone for as it opens the door to unfamiliar territory, such as the awakening of psychic gifts, it will also banish your own fears and insecurities. It can calm and order a busy mind and infuse you with purpose to carry through changes in lifestyle and circumstances – a comfort blanket for the consciousness, if you will …


This crystal was originally found in Labrador, in Canada, hence its name. Like the dog. Not one of my favourite breeds, although I find something to like in most dogs, I’m pretty impartial.

My mother had a memorable encounter with a Labrador… to be fair, the following incident was more the fault of the owner, than the actual dog. During the course of her dog walking adventures, my mother has met a wide range of dogs and owners. There is one particular example she now tries to avoid … Labradors and older men.

Erin is impeccably behaved, when out with my mother. She is obviously aware that my mother is older and smaller and more fragile than me… we seem to run a lot… but with my mother she does perfect recalls, will only go a limited distance from her and generally acts as though she is in the Champions ring at Crufts.


This owner seems to have absolutely no idea of how to be with a dog, how to make it respond to him or even simply to do as he asks it. It’s not a vicious dog, although it is unsafe. Unsafe by the fact it runs in front of the maintenance tractors, unsafe in the way it approaches other dogs when their owners are clearly uncomfortable. Basically, his dog is a nuisance. Some of the other walkers and owners have pointed this out to him, but he has done little, and I can see it ending badly…

However. On this present morning the Labrador took advantage of its owner’s inattention to run over to my mother and fling itself against her legs. Hard. Now, my mother is an older lady, she’s only small, this dog is quite large and heavy. It BROKE her leg. My mother didn’t know this – she’s very stubborn, and returned home limping and cursing, a worried Erin by her side.


She told me all this when I saw her later that day.

Mum, you should really go to the doctor at least, and have it checked out.”

Don’t be stupid, Samantha, I’ll be fine, I’ll just put a tubigrip on it.”

Here, I would like to say that my mother used to be a nurse… It took three weeks for me to persuade her to have her leg looked at. Her painkiller consumption was worryingly high, and after one morning where she looked particularly small and angry with pain, I said:

No. I can’t bear it. We’re going to the hospital. I’m ringing for a taxi…”

No! I’m not paying taxi fare, it’s horrendously expensive! We’ll get the bus…”

The conclusion to this story is … yes. My mother’s shin bone was fractured. I couldn’t believe it and actually took a picture of the x-ray. On the plus side, it had nearly healed. She was extremely lucky, the doctor pointed out, that she was so fit for her age – there could have been all sorts of horrible complications. She left with an air cast and crutches:


I’m taking this bloody cyborg boot off as soon as we get back. I can’t walk in this, it’s far too heavy!”

But Mum, you heard what the doctor said –”

Don’t be stupid, Samantha, it’s practically healed! I’ll just put a bandage on it, I have to go shopping tomorrow…”

She’s fully recovered now. Erin hates that Labrador though. Mum must have smelled ‘hurt’ after coming into contact with it and Erin is aware that the Labrador was the cause of that hurt. It stays away from them, now. Erin doesn’t growl or bark at it, she’s not that sort of dog. She just… looks. I’ve seen her do it.


Animals are definitely capable of sending and interpreting subtle communications… Now, when my mother takes Erin out for her walks, she always takes her mobile phone, just in case. She has firmly dismissed my efforts to make her carry a piece of Labradorite with her… (“Don’t be stupid, Samantha!”)


Dentists and Dilemmas

_mg_8904Clear Fluorite – good for enhancing other crystals’ abilities during healing and actually quite comforting when you’re at the dentist 

I hate the dentist. Not my personal dentist. She’s wonderful. A petite, dark-haired girl with dainty hands and a touch on the drill as soft as thistledown.

I hate the concept of “dentists”. And unfortunately both my parents are dentist-phobic, despite the fact that one of my father’s oldest drinking buddies was the family dentist…

Let me take you back a few years, to when, say, I was about four years old. My parents were still married, and it was decided-as responsible parents-that we should have a family outing to the dentist.

What fun. Personally, I would have preferred the cinema, but going “en famille” was supposed to encourage unity within our family and support for my father’s drinking pal dentist.

We sat, as a family, in his waiting room. The dentist’s door opened and a young man reeled out, clutching a bloodied wad of tissues to his jaw. A sickly sweet aroma of something wafted out..

Mr. Butcher will see you now!” the perky receptionist announced perkily.

My father went in first and came out slightly paler..

Oh, I didn’t need anything… I promised Bill a pint, I’m fine…”

Of course, now I know my father was blatantly bribing Bill Butcher… not his real name but you see where I’m going here.

My mother was next, smiling and flirtily nervous, exiting shortly afterwards with a relieved smile and casual wave.

I’m just popping outside for a cigarette…”

My sister and I were next. She was fine. I was obviously overlooked by the Tooth Fairy. I entered apprehensively, and sat in the chair, legs quivering, and looked up, expecting to see friendly old Bill Butcher, who usually smelt of pipe tobacco and whiskey.

Instead, I saw an ominous masked stranger, beady eyes glaring… a booming voice bellowed something unintelligible. A finger the size of a sausage prodded at my mouth. Reluctantly, I opened it. A hand the size of a shovel swooped towards my mouth… I bit it.

img_8919Aquamarine – both rough and polished examples, a stone of courage and calm with a general beneficial affect for eyes, jaws and teeth…

I will spare you the details, but in brief, I had to have four teeth out, they were duly removed using nitrous oxide – laughing gas, and I remember to this day the ultimate confusion of screaming in pain and laughing uncontrollably.

Now, given my own childhood experiences with dentists, as soon as I had my own children I decided that I would be Tooth Fairy Extraordinaire. From four months old, my sons visited the dentist, he would prod their gums and check their progress and pronounce it satisfactory.

My dentist at the time was a perfectly nice man, with small, elegant hands, yet all the times I attended with my sons, I shuddered and shook and inwardly wept. One time, my older son was unfortunate enough to need an abscessed tooth removed. He was brave. I was not. The dental nurse thrust the removed abscessed tooth under my nose:


I went white and sweaty but managed to squeak: “Yes.” without vomiting copiously all over her lovely clean uniform.

So my dilemma with dentists then… I’m sure they’re really very nice people. I have conscientiously taken my sons for their check-ups and attended my own. I have rigorously brushed and flossed and mouthwashed and yet my teeth betray me, leading to my continued association with those who practise the profession of dentistry…

Nowadays, they are kind and sympathetic, and receive specific training on how to deal with nervous patients. And yet, and yet, I fear them… my son watched disbelievingly as I hid behind a display of jumpers when our old dentist entered the same clothes shop we were in…

IMG_8929.JPGBlack Onyx – strengh giving and supportive and useful for teeth and bones 

All photos were taken by my son!