Dr OddGlove – or how I came to hate my dentist

Yes, I know, I know, we’re on a “break”.  But I just have to interrupt our brief holiday to up-date you on my harrowing experience with the Demon Dentist of Harley Street.  I wrote the post below, along with a follow-up, about a year ago, detailing all the ways I’d like to torture my (former) dentist as much as she tortured me.  Well, it seems she’s had the last laugh, because a) my complaint about her wasn’t followed through, as it was deemed more of a “personality clash” than outright incompetence; and b) the crown that took her 6 months to finally put in broke after less than a year.  Broke.  Porcelain, which I understand is stronger than my mother-in-law’s personality, broke.

So, here I am, about to move to a new country, packing up all my belongings and trying to say an organised farewell to London…instead of enjoying my final days here, I’m going to spend the next two weeks in a dental surgery, saying “aaaaaah” way too many times for my own comfort.

Grrrrr.  Have I mentioned how much I detest my ex?  No?  Pardon me while I step to one side, to engage in some hysterical laughter, followed by intense sobbing and gnashing of teeth.


Dear Karen,

Hate’s such a strong word, but there’s no denying it – I hate my dentist. What should have been, at best, a one-month procedure, turned into 6 months of more dramatic twists and turns than a cheesy Friday night soap opera.

We started on friendly footing.

I was new in town, in need of a dentist, and was beguiled by her friendly attitude, credentials and office address: Harley Street, famed for being the location of medical surgeons and specialists since the 19th century. Kate Middleton has a doctor nearby, for god’s sake. What more did I need to hear?

I duly booked an appointment. I should have sensed something was wrong straight away, as there was no receptionist to speak with; I had to give my contact details to a machine instead. A week later, having given up on her ever returning my call, suddenly there she was on my phone, asking me if next Wednesday would be suitable for me?

Now that I think of it, I’ve never had a doctor or dentist actually ring me to confirm an appointment. That’s what  receptionists are for.

Anyway, I’m new in town and put this down to a cultural difference, which makes no sense because this woman is American, not English.

On the day of reckoning, I slid into the comfy dentist chair, opened my mouth in anticipation, and discovered that I needed 3 crowns replaced straight away, plus a cleaning and some x-rays. It took us 2 hours to get through that appointment; 30 minutes of waiting for her to show up after lunch, 15 minutes to see the client who’d been waiting an hour before me, and 1 and a 1/4 hours for me to be told something I kind of knew already.

I was the perfect patsy.


No, not this one.
(photocredit: fashionbombdaily.com)

Curiosities that I accepted with blissful ignorance:

  • she had no assistants helping her
  • her office changed address with each appointment
  • and she spent a lot of time talking about how both her ex- and current partner disappoint her, her difficult teenage daughter, her daughter’s outrageous school fees, and how stressful it is to find a good nanny in this town.

All this passed from her to me while I lay there, helpless, mouth open wide, eyes bulging and fingers drumming on the chair beneath me.  I just wanted her to shut up, get on with the work and let me escape.  Was that too much to ask?

She would stop mid-stream each time her phone rang, as it might be her daughter, the nanny, her current partner or her ex-husband. I got to listen to fascinating one-sided discussions when the nanny and current guy would call:

“I can’t pick up Beelzebub after school, ask your nanny to do it.”  This required an immediate call to the nanny, but first she patted my shoulder reassuringly, “Don’t worry Wendy, the freezing won’t wear off just yet, so hang in there!”

Frenzied stabbing of numbers on her mobile phone:

Hello, Flora, it’s me, can you pick up little Beelzebub?  He’s out of kindergarten now and that rat  boyfriend of mine can’t pick him up…you want to charge me for it because it’s considered over-time?…(sigh)…okay, that’s fine.  Call my friend, do you have her number? Now, take my daughter and Beelzebub to my friend’s and I’m sure her nanny will take care of them until I get home…it’s annoying I agree, but this patient here is taking a lot of time, so…(sigh)…I guess it just can’t be helped…

In between each phone call, she’d be muttering to herself while I sat there feeling uncomfortably like it was my fault she was so bad at managing her time, listening to the drama unfolding but unable to escape.

The day she fitted me for my crowns, she took 5 hours. 5 fah-reakin’ hours. Between the fitting and the phoning and the fretting, I was a basket case by the time I left. One point in the afternoon, I had to pee, rather urgently. I was sent to the bathroom with dental cement stuck in my mouth, with the admonishment, “whatever you do, don’t unclench!” ringing in my ears as I closed the door. Try peeing and telling yourself at the same time to not to unclench – see how successful you are.

I realized, as I lurched homeward bound that evening, that it was too late for me to turn back. She and I were in this for the long haul, and it was my job to make sure it was as swift as possible.

How was I to know that things were about to get worse? Like, zombie-movie, boiling bunnies and ice-picks in the heart worse.  But they were.

I’ll have a strong martini now to settle my nerves, and will finish this saga of disastrous dentistry in my next letter,



Time for some time off

Dear Readers,

As you know, Wendy is currently in Toronto with her grandson Scott, and I’m back home, but in that stage between selling a house and buying another, and getting all the furniture from the old place to the new. And of course, when Wendy gets home, she’ll be moving from London to Toronto…let’s just say it’s going to be a more-than-usually busy time for both of us.

So we had a talk the other night and decided that this would probably be an excellent time for us to take a brief hiatus from this blog. Not too long—we don’t want you to forget us!—but we figure a couple of weeks worth of time off should give us the breathing room we both need.


“Time off,” get it?    geralt / Pixabay

We’ll be back in two weeks’ time, with more great stories, travelogues, videos, opinions, and ideas. So until then, keep your powder dry and your stick on the ice…and we’ll see you soon!


Karen and Wendy


Grandmother in a strange land

Dear Karen,

Here I am in Toronto, babysitting my little grandson while his parents go to their friend’s wedding in China.

As you do.

Today is my first day flying solo, and I’m not afraid to say it: I’m a little apprehensive. We don’t see each other often; he’s more used to seeing me on FaceTime than in real life, to be honest. That can be the cost of living abroad: losing out on more moments like this. Continue reading

Awesome Advice Central: A grave error

Dear Awesome Advice Central,

Darling Uncle Jimmy died last week. He’s my cousin’s step-father, whom I’ve known since I was a wee laddie of 5. I’d lost my own father, due to an unfortunate and totally unforeseen shaving accident, when I was 4, and Uncle Jimmy bravely stepped in to help out Mam and the other kiddies in our little family.

Uncle Jimmy even helped Mam to the hospital when she had a baby after Da died. Looking back, I can see how much Mam and Da loved each other, as that baby arrived 9 months to the day after Da popped his clogs. Continue reading

What’s the hype around Mad Max Fury Road?

Dear Wendy,

First up, I have to tell you that I’m not a fan of dystopian road-warrior films.

The thought of spending two hours watching beefy, sweaty unshaven guys who are mortal enemies duking it out while speeding across a ravaged landscape on steampunk/post-apocalyptic vehicles really doesn’t do it for me.

So when my family prevailed upon me to come with them to watch Mad Max Fury Road on the weekend, I admit I wasn’t filled with enthusiasm. Continue reading

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