Wisdom tooth extraction

Wisdom tooth and ruler
Proof positive that I’m not getting that long in the tooth

On Monday morning I walked down to our local dentists’ surgery here in Anstruther, looking out over the harbour, and to the noise of what sounded like my jaw being cracked open I had my lower-left wisdom tooth removed.

It had been rather naughty for quite a few years and so had to come out. It had never really come in properly, was crowding the back of my mouth quite uncomfortably at times (mostly when my mouth had visitors) and to top it all the dentist suggested that it may also have had a low-grade infection simmering there for quite a while, years perhaps.

Everything must go

Following a sudden bout of toothache about a month ago, numerous emergency visits to the dentist and two courses of antibiotics the decision was made: it had to go.  The appointment was booked, the date arrived, I was psyched up and conveniently was sitting in a dentist’s chair with a needle in my mouth receiving the first of three injections to numb my tooth. (And jaw. And tongue.)

I don’t know if you’ve ever had a tooth removed. For all the advances in medical science tooth extraction really does still come down to poking it with a pointy metal stick to get it loose and then pulling it out with a pair of pliers.

The dentist

The dentist that was treating me, Dr John O’Neill was brilliant. He is, by far, the best dentist I’ve ever seen. I’ve learned more about how to look after my teeth properly in about four visits to him than in years of visiting a dentist.

What struck me most was the time he took to speak to me and listen to me before he even went near my mouth. He put me at ease, explained clearly what he was doing, why he was doing it and answered any questions that I had.

Brilliant! If only all dentists were like that.

What happened

The scariest part of the whole procedure for me was when he had what looked to me like a big metal screwdriver in my mouth, pushing against my tooth.  He was really giving it some force, and my fear was that it would slip and I’d suddenly have a pointy piece of metal skewering my cheek.

“I have done this before,” he assured me.

Yeah, but I hadn’t.

It didn’t last long. Job done: the large pointy piece of metal had successfully dislodged my tooth. I had a wobble in my tooth that any nine year old would be proud of.

Then the pliers were unsheathed.

It’s quite an unusual experience to have a grown man removing one of your teeth with pliers; it’s a very physical act. I feel quite protective about my teeth at the best of times — I use them on an almost daily basis — so to allow someone to remove one really does take courage and will-power.


“Oh, yeah,” the dentist said. “I forgot to mention the sound.”

It sounded like my jaw had been broken.

And then the dentist stood back, pliers in hand, a bloody tooth clamped securely in the jaws of the pliers (rather than clamped securely in the jaws of my … erm, jaws).


The pain once the anaesthetic wore off wasn’t too bad. It did hurt. And it did throb. But it wasn’t as bad as I had feared.

Until Wednesday, when the pain was excruciating. I phoned the dentist from my office in St Andrews at 11:20 and was sitting in the dentist’s chair at 12:10.  I had a dry socket which the dentist washed out and then partially filled with Alvogyl which the dentist told me is an antiviral, antifungal, antiseptic, antibomb, antijean, antieverthing dressing material comprised of tiny brown fibres soaked in, what can only be described as, the taste of Hell!

Still, the pain went. For the best part of the day.

It’s back again. I may be visiting my local, friendly dentist again soon.

Boats and tractors

RNLI Lifeboat launching at Anstruther
RNLI Lifeboat (“Kingdom of Fife”) launching at Anstruther

This weekend is the Lifeboat Gala Weekend organised by Anstruther RNLI Lifeboat Station.

We took Reuben and Joshua down to the harbour after their lunchtime sleep today.  I don’t think I’ve heard the words “BOAT!” and “TRACTOR!” used quite so often and with such passion in one afternoon than I did today.

Reuben sitting on a tractor
Reuben sitting on a tractor
Joshua sitting on a tractor
Joshua sitting on a tractor

Daddy’s taking us to the zoo today

Reuben beside the Penguin Cow sculpture at Edinburgh Zoo
Reuben beside the Penguin Cow sculpture at Edinburgh Zoo
Joshua beside the Penguin Cow sculpture at Edinburgh Zoo
Joshua beside the Penguin Cow sculpture at Edinburgh Zoo

I had a day off today so that I could meet up with my old National Youth Choir of Great Britain friend, and former flatmate, Jonny Coore and family in Edinburgh.

Around 10:00 we set off (in the rain) to Edinburgh (in the rain) to visit Edinburgh Zoo (in the rain).  But what a great day (in the rain).

The first time I visited Edinburgh zoo I was in primary 3, so probably about 6 or 7 years old.  The last time I visited was for a funeral tea for a former member of the zoological society.  So this was my third visit.

I already knew quite a bit about zoos because I’ve listened to The Mighty Boosh on the radio.  Unfortunately, Edinburgh zoo is disappointingly not like Bob Fossil’s Funworld, so I did feel a little out of my depth as it turned out.

Animal magic

First up we saw the sea lions (not seals, those are different) which I explained to Reuben and Joshua look a bit like cats (cos they’ve got whiskers) that live in the sea.

Next up: flamingos. I explained to Reuben and Joshua that flamingos are a bit like pink cats, who stand on one leg. After an introductory talk by someone from the zoo’s education centre he invited questions from the public. Jonny had a question: what do they taste like?

Further up the hill we passed what I thought was an emu. I ignored the ’emu’, he used to scare me with his pink windmill nonsense. Emus aren’t like cats.

The next talk we heard was about lemurs which I explained to Reuben and Joshua looked a bit like cats.

Reuben and Joshua don’t have a very wide experience of animals so I was trying to relate these new, exotic animals to something they do know about.

Before heading to the picnic area we saw a Malaysia sun bear.  My Mum used to have a bear in Malaysia.  No word of a lie.  I think she called him Joey.


We then had lunch.

It’s nice that there’s a section of the zoo set aside for people to bring their own picnics.  It reminds me of a restaurant I visited recently that had a section set aside for diners to leave their pets.

The highlight of lunch had to be that Jonny ate a Club biscuit.  The lowlight was discovering that 500 ml bottles of Coca Cola cost £1.30 at the zoo.

Thundercats and a revelation

After lunch we climbed the hill to discover the giant cats: a leopard, a tiger, a jaguar, another one that I can’t remember, and another one that I couldn’t see.

I couldn’t think of an animal that Reuben and Joshua know about to compare the leopard, tiger and jaguar to.

I also learned at that point to run a zoo all you need really is a very large estate and cages with photographs of animals on them.

If the accompanying text also informs visitors that this particular animal is quite shy which explains why you might not catch sight of them then you don’t even have to go to what must be the troubling expense of actually buying the animals.

So Jonny, his son and I started to think about the kind of zoo that we could realistically open.  It contained cages with — amongst other things — plasma TVs, paperclips, a chest of drawers and sticks.

We went to look for lions but found gibbons. The rain started to pour down so the gibbons took refuge in a custom-built cave-like shelter. We took shelter under a custom-built shelter-like shelter. And then for a moment I wondered if it was us who was sheltering so that we could watch the gibbons, or whether the gibbons were sheltering so that they could watch us.

I then remembered that we had chocolate biscuits in my rucksack and forgot all about the gibbons.

Penguins and monkeys

We trotted down the hill again towards the penguins enclosure for the Penguin Parade. The parade didn’t happen, for some reason, but we did watch a few small penguins feeding. They eat fish.

The monkey house provided more shelter from the rain and plenty of entertainment.  Did you know that monkeys … actually, I didn’t learn anything new about monkeys because I spent most of my time in there trying to prevent Reuben from poking a baby in a pram. Or stealing my glasses.

And that was our visit to the zoo today. Tomorrow I go back to work.

Can you run it?

Screenshot of Can You Run It showing that Battlefield 2 passes
Battlefield 2 passes with flying colours on my laptop

Downsizing and upsizing

By the recent photographs of my study in various states of disarray you probably know by now that I’m in the process of reorganising a few rooms in our house.

And by now you probably also know the reason why I’m doing it, judging by the recent scan of a 12 weeks and 3 days old baby currently gestating in my wife’s tummy.

Yes, we need to make room for another minor human some time in late January 2011.  So, I’m downsizing some of my … well, stuff, while Jane’s tummy is … well, I guess upsizing.

(She doesn’t read my blog, so don’t worry about that last sentence.)

Battlefield 2

In my study I have two PCs.  One is on my desk, the other is on Jane’s desk/our-old-dining-room-table.  One gets used almost every day, the other gets used only when Valley Boy Rich comes to visit, to play Battlefield 2 over the network.

But the time has finally arrived for my trusty Nethighstreet PC (MSI K7N2 Delta, 2.8 GHz Athlon CPU, 2GB RAM, Creative X-Fi soundcard) to be retired to the PC graveyard that is either Freecycle or eBay (I haven’t quite decided yet). Which obviously leaves us one PC down for our mildly regular death-matches.

Can you run it?

So there I was thinking, if only there was some way of discovering whether Battlefield 2 will run on my laptop when I discovered Can you run it? from System Requirements Lab.

It requires the Java runtime environment to be installed but it’s pretty simple to use:

  1. Visit Can you run it?
  2. Type in a game, or select one from the drop-down list.
  3. Click on the Can you run it? button.
  4. Can you run it? tells you whether you can run it. Or not. Any why.

Genius!  Within a few seconds I was given the good news that Battlefield 2 will run successfully on my laptop.  And what’s more it will do so at a pretty high spec.

I also discovered that it will not run Call of Duty 4, isn’t entirely sure about Lego Star Wars or Company of Heroes: Opposing Fronts and hasn’t even heard of Heaven & Hell.