When the Planets don’t align

There are days when the world is bright and sparkly and then there is last Saturday. In fact Saturday wasn’t that bad, all things considered. It’s just how it ended.

It started with a mizzle but the sun made a cameo appearance after lunch and we indulged in a  Take Your Parents To Work day, dropping the Vet off at her new practice, the PDSA hospital in Gillingham in North Kent. Given the Vet was in for a voluntary day of free spayings and castrations we left her to it. We thought we might explore the local area, not really knowing much about this part of the world.

Well, search ‘Things to do in Gillingham’ and you’re likely to be offered a couple of churches, an ice rink currently shut to remove asbestos and Lidls two for one on Butternut Squash. I’m making that up but it’s not chock full of your grand and grandiose. It’s a functional place, part marsh on the Medway that has a history in supporting the army (the Royal Engineers have a home hereabouts) and navy. It’s not a looker.

So we meandered off and soon found ourselves in Rochester.

Now this is very different, very self-aware of its historic position as a crossing place for the Romans heading for London and a fortified town with a long history before, during and after the Norman conquests.


The cathedral has roots as far back as 604; the castle keep is one of the tallest in the country and Dickens lived hereabouts both as a child and as an old man and set a significant part of Edwin Drood and other of his stories here.

We needed breakfast and alighted on the Deaf Cat cafe. Perhaps, we thought, the Vet should have joined us but there was no cat in sight and the porridge – ginger and spiced pear – rather excellent so we settled in. In the end all of the above kept us happily occupied for several hours.

The Textiliste found a haberdashers of some size and chock full of yummy materials while I tried the Escape To The Castle cafe to write and sample a rather filling brownie.

Later we followed a Dickens tour, alighting upon Miss Havisham’s house and where Mr Pumblechook lived – Great Expectations, people… We sampled the Kentish cheese board and the Rubbery Rind – no, I made that up too. I think it was just The Cheese Shop but it deserved a better nomenclature.

And then we collected the Vet and headed home.

You’d think a perfectly satisfactory day and, stopping there, it would have been. But that ignores the prat that lies close to the surface of the older male Le Pard. I have a teeth issue, you see. Once upon a time, when my milk teeth were dropping like flies, one little tooth decided to cling on. And on. And on. It was a brave little tooth, holding its own in a sea of enamel as the adult teeth grew and squeezed and pressed but still it stayed. Eventually it grew tired and old and, after 45 years of over-achievement it wobbled and fell.

My dentist at the time tried to persuade me to a bridge or an implant but I was now in my late 40s, and as this photo shows it’s almost impossible to see my teeth – my family see my lips as some sort of roller blind that has come down over the teeth and refuses to rise – so I passed by the opportunity.

Last year I changed my dentist and the new one hummed and haaaaed.  ‘You should get that gap filled.’


‘Because the missing tooth would have been a canine and it acts as a guide for your bite. Without it the incisors slide across each other and they will wear more quickly,’ he peered and tapped and sucked in air, ‘indeed they are showing some signs of just that.’

‘Why didn’t my old dentist tell me this?’

‘Why didn’t you move to me sooner?’

So I was persuaded to have an implant. But then came the detail. The tooth adjoining the gap has had 15 years to wander around on a frolic of its own and we need to move it back to where it was intended to be. That entails a series of plastic braces, each one designed to torture aid me in that endeavour. My first one went in just over three weeks ago. It would be replaced after 5 weeks.

‘You need to keep it in for at least 20 hours each day,’ I was told. ‘Pop it out for meals. Here’s a pot you can put it in.’

I lost the pot within a week. So, my family have had to put up with my gum-shield being removed during meals and laid carefully to one side. Saturday night was no exception. But after a coffee, when I went to put it back in, it was missing. No one could find it. We looked in the obvious places – the windowsill, the fridge – why is it I put so much random stuff in the fridge? – even Dog’s bed but to no avail.

Sunday morning came and I set about making tea while putting away last night’s washing up. A baking tray was propped by the drainer. As I turned it over, I saw a familiar translucent grin peering up at me. When we had taken the apple crumble from the oven the night before we – I could say ‘I’ but I’m sharing the blame here; that’s what marriage is about after all – had put the tray down on my shield and now it had reappeared in a somewhat different configuration.

And thus I find myself off to the dentist now. The receptionist needed oxygen yesterday when I rang to explain. I’m not sure what Dennis the Dentist will think; he’ll probably suggest I go back to my old one.



About TanGental

My name is Geoff Le Pard. Once I was a lawyer; now I am a writer. I've published four books - Dead Flies and Sherry Trifle, My Father and Other Liars, Salisbury Square and Buster & Moo. In addition I have published three anthologies of short stories and a memoir of my mother. More will appear soon. I will try and continue to blog regularly at geofflepard.com about whatever takes my fancy. I hope it does yours too. These are my thoughts and no one else is to blame. If you want to nab anything I post, please acknowledge where it came from.
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35 Responses to When the Planets don’t align

  1. Norah says:

    Oh my goodness. What a truly delightful story. I’m sure Dennis the Dentist will be only too happy to make you another guard – for a fee, of course. Otherwise sounds like a rather lovely day, even if you did have to make some of it up. Sometimes it’s the embellishing that makes us realise the magnitude of the fun, isn’t it?
    Good luck with the dental work. Sounds like an expensive job to me.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Are you sure your middle name isn’t Trouble? Best of luck with the choppers, there buddy.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. Sorry about the weekend, Geoff. Mine was highlighted by the stomach flu… Here’s to next weekend. Hugs.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. stevetanham says:

    Ouch! I had an extensive brace as a child, after four back teeth were removed to provide more space for the ‘pulled in’ teeth. I remember the agony each time it was re-tightened. I can feel it now!

    Liked by 2 people

  5. Darlene says:

    Oh my! I wasn´t prepared for that. I thought you had left it at the cat cafe!! Good luck with a replacement.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Oh, my, not the best way to end an adventurous weekend ! Best of luck with all that.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Oh no! I hope the dentist wasn’t too annoyed with you!! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  8. janmalique says:

    My sympathies, hope you recover quickly. On a pleasant note, loved the photos.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. tidalscribe says:

    Now we have family on the Isle of Thanet we have been exploring Kent. Last year we spent a day in Rochester and a day at the ‘Historic Dockyards’ at Chatham, both very enjoyable. This year found us back at Chatham Dockyards as the pyrotechnic branch of the family were doing fireworks to celebrate the ‘Battle of The Medway’. From the docks you can also take a little boat cruise down to Rochester; you can stop over at either end and take a later boat, well worth doing.


  10. Ritu says:

    This is so funny His Geoffleship!
    And you were so close to me in Rochester!

    Liked by 1 person

  11. Mary Smith says:

    Rochester sounds like an interesting place to visit. Sorry about the tooth trouble. I’m trying to keep a filling from falling out until I get to the dentist on 10th October. She says it will ‘probably’ stay put until then but I’m not so sure. It’s right at front!

    Liked by 1 person

  12. Helen Jones says:

    Lovely photos, Geoff, and the ending wasn’t anywhere near as bad as I’d feared 🙂 Hope you’ve got your toothy thing sorted now!

    Liked by 1 person

  13. And it was all going so very nicely until the apple crumble! You are never too old to have your teeth fixed, you just have to have the GDP of a small country to hand……..

    Liked by 2 people

  14. Charli Mills says:

    This story disappoints me in the idea that once beyond one’s 40s braces for teeth are yet possible. I’ll continue to enjoy the frolic of mine until my mouth gets captured and imprisoned. Look on the bright side, at least it’s not a metal brace! Lovely look at Rochester, too. Thanks!

    Liked by 1 person

  15. JT Twissel says:

    Great Expectations is one of my favorite books – so sorry tooth problems got in the way. Thanks for the glimpse of Rochester!

    Liked by 1 person

  16. I detest dentists, not the actual person just what they do for a living 🙂 Never quite sure what is more painful their bill or my over-stimulated imagination from childhood memories of the dreaded dental nurse. We are both needing to visit the dentist on a short visit back downunder next month. Thanks for reminding me!


  17. trifflepudling says:

    Top of the klutz class!


  18. Just think – in the early years of the NHS you could have all your teeth out and replaced by dodgy plates and it wouldn’t have cost you a penny

    Liked by 1 person

  19. willowdot21 says:

    No fear he will send you packing Geoff he wants your money!?

    Liked by 1 person

  20. Ali Isaac says:

    Ooops! An easy mistake to make, I think. And probs a rather expensive one. Hope it’s all sorted now. Sounds like prior to that, you had a fantabulous day! Such amazing history!

    Liked by 1 person

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