Welcome to Peter Caton books
No one likes visiting the dentist. I’m fortunate that Mr Anand is a very nice chap with good sense of humour, and an excellent dentist. Even so I’d have preferred not to have made six visits in the last five weeks.
I suspect it goes back to the standard of dentistry and dental education in my 1960s childhood and that teeth filled then have always been vulnerable. My parents took me to their dentist, Mr Blaney, widely known locally as Butcher Blaney. His stark surgery, grinding drill and gruff chairside manner were understandably scary to a young child. Like too many dentists he seemed to delight in waving the syringe in front of the patient, so they could see exactly how long that needle is. I wasn’t an easy patient. On one occasion I threatened to get him with my chemistry set. After that he refused to treat me.
At school we had a yearly visit from a dentist and following one of these my parents received a letter saying that treatment was required. An appointment was made at the local clinic with Mr Wight the school dentist. What a nice chap he was. For several years he kept my teeth in order but then he left. His successor was a small but formidable lady, who scared the children. She soon left and rumour had it that the dental nurse, a lovely lady who knew everyone, had a part in it. Mr Wright came back but on leaving school I was no longer eligible to attend his surgery.
After trying a couple of dentists near to my work, neither of whom inspired confidence, I signed up with Mr Hall in Romford. What a lovely chap he was too. He kept everything pretty much in order, other than a failed attempt at root canal treatment when the tooth had to go. When the adjacent tooth needed the same treatment he suggested a specialist, his referral letter describing the ‘spectacular failure’ of treatment in its neighbour.
Then one day Mr Hall told me the news I’d been dreading. He was to retire. He was the only dentist I really trusted and was gentle (well as gentle as one can be when armed with needles, drills and pliers). He had told me there was no excuse for dentists not to be. I wonder if he ever met Mr Blaney? He had great confidence in Mr Anand, his successor and assured me that I’d be in good hands.
Fortunately Mr Hall was right and Mr Anand has now cared for my teeth for more than ten years. I visit every 6 months or so, occasionally he finds a hole or a filling to replace, but we’ve had no major dramas. He always tell me that my teeth are very clean so I feel like I’ve been a good boy. My check up in February was fine and it was the usual ‘see you in 6 months’. Then it all started to go wrong.
A year or so ago Mr Anand did an x-ray and said that the tooth that the specialist had dealt with was resting in very little bone and would soon fall out. Apparently root canal doesn’t last for ever. At the check up I proudly showed him it was still there but was told its days were numbered.
They were indeed. The next week it started to hurt. I went back for antibiotics but before they took effect the tooth started to wobble. A strange feeling that I hadn’t had since baby teeth many years ago. So back to Mr Anand. It would have to come out. Out came the pliers and with a quick pull so did the tooth. But that wasn’t all. This was only the tooth. The root was still to come. More injections, much tugging and twisting with the pliers, quite a lot of pain and eventually it was all out. See you in six months.
Alas it was not to be. A few days later I was eating a Kit Kat and became aware of something hard in my mouth. A tooth had broken. Back to Mr Anand. Apparently Kit Kats from the fridge are quite hard so it wasn’t a surprise. The tooth was heavily filled and the filling would have to come out to be replaced. Those dreaded words ‘book a 45 minute appointment’. A temporary filling in place I did as asked and booked to return in two weeks.
Two weeks though was a long time to wait to see my mate Mr Anand but not to worry, another problem arose. A sharp piece of bone had appeared in my gum where the extraction had been. Mr Anand had looked at it the week before, said it was not unusual. He could numb it up and remove it but it would sort itself out in time. With a choice of needle or nothing, I obviously decided to wait. But now it was rubbing on my tongue and hurting. Back to Mr Anand. This was an appointment I wasn’t looking forward to. I feared it would give him an opportunity to use some of those strange but sharp looking tools that sit around the surgery waiting for unusual cases. I sat in the chair with trepidation. A minute later it was done. Simply pulled out with tweezers and no pain. Phew. But I’d be back next week.
Today was the 45 minute appointment. We greeted like friends. I told Mr Anand about Butcher Blaney and the chemistry set. I didn’t let on that I now have three whole labs of equipment that might be turned on any medical professional who pained me. I’d once asked Mr Anand why anyone would want to be a dentist. He replied that he sometimes wondered that too! Today though he told me how much he enjoyed the job and how rewarding it was. He would get the chance to use a full array of tools today. The 45 minute job was done in 25. See you in 6 months. Three hours later the numbness is subsiding and much as I like to see Mr Anand I hope it will really be six months before we meet again.
Next time I could perhaps do as the lady in a story told by the much missed cricket commentator Brian Johnston. As she sat down in the chair the lady grasped a delicate part of the dentist’s anatomy. ‘Excuse me madam, you’re holding my testicles’ exclaimed the dentist. ‘I know’ replied the lady ‘we’re not going to hurt each other are we?’
Peter Caton 19/3/19
My next book is well underway. I’ve walked on Dartmoor since my father took me at the age of five and it’s one of my most favourite places. Whilst some people have a great knowledge of the moor, many others don’t venture beyond the ‘honeypots’ like Haytor, Postbridge and Dartmeet. There is so much more to see, from natural features, prehistoric remains, industrial archaeology and wonderful views, and the book will aim to show people where they can walk to discover some of Dartmoor’s lesser known spots. Like 50 Walks on the Essex Coast it will be a walking guide, but it will contain much more information and background than conventional walking guides, making it I hope a unique book on Dartmoor.
I’ve started documenting the walks and background but it won’t be until late next year that the book is ready for publication. Meanwhile I shall be enjoying many walks on what many consider to be England’s last wilderness.
Thanks to David Attenborough and Blue Planet we are at last realising the effect on our planet and its wildlife of the huge amount of plastic that we use and often discard in our daily lives.
A friend of mine, Gemma Andrews, has decided to do what she can to stop using plastics and has set up a blog with many ideas to help others to the same.
It’s well worth following: https://alifewithlessplast.wixsite.com/alifewithlessplastic/home/
Suffolk Coast Walk continues to sell steadily and can be found in most Suffolk bookshops – or buy post free from Swan Books through the link on my book page. With just a handful of copies left I’m having it reprinted and 1000 more copies will be with Matador very shortly. I’ve made a few minor corrections, so thanks to readers who’ve contacted me to point them out.
Remote Stations – Available Early August
There has been a slight delay in printing but Remote Stations, which describes my visits to 40 of Britain’s loneliest railway stations, will be available early August. Just £9.99 it includes more than 175 colour and black & white photos, both recent and historical.
Pre order now with free delivery from https://www.swanbooks.co.uk/product-page/remote-stations-peter-caton
Or use link on Remote Stations book page.
Remote Stations, my latest book, will be published in July. It is currently with Matador for proof reading, cover design and drawing of the maps covering the forty lonely railway stations I’ve visited across the UK.
Combining a love of remote places and of travelling on our more interesting trains, Peter Caton visits forty of Britain’s most lonely railway stations.
His travels take him to all four corners of the country; to the top of a snowy mountain, to moors, hills and marshes, and even a mile out to sea, as he rides on some of our most scenic railway lines. Along the way he unearths stories of some remarkable accidents, tales of human interest and railway history. He finds a station that closed before it officially existed, wonders why some survived, laments others that should never have been lost and on finding that one of his forty stations is proposed for closure joins to battle to try to save it.
Peter enjoys walks along deserted coast and countryside and discovers five stations that closed long ago. His choice covers a wide variety of stations including a few on resurrected narrow gauge railways. Some are well known, others obscure. He often writes that the train stopped ‘just for me’ and the station ‘serves nowhere at all’.
Illustrated with more than 180 colour and black & white photos, both recent and historical, Remote Stations is written with a railway theme but will also appeal to those who enjoy an easy reading travel book describing journeys to some of the most remote parts of Britain.
With the knowledge of a lifetime walking on Dartmoor, my father has just published a unique walking guide. The book guides walkers into the heart of the moor following paths and tracks, many of which are ancient and have their own interesting stories. It starts with an introduction to the moor and the many antiquities that can be found here, then each walk descibes not only the route but snippets of information on points of interest along the way. Having checked many of the walks I can thoroughly recommend them!
Using over sixty years of knowledge of Dartmoor, Michael Caton leads you on a series of 28 walks based on paths and trackways over the moor. Some of these walks are based on those led by the author for the Dartmoor Preservation Association. Many of the walks have not been described in previous guidebooks or are not shown on the OS 1:25,000 map. The walks are for those who wish to venture well into the open moor without having to negotiate the rough Dartmoor terrain. A section has been included on the origin and history of the tracks including special comment on the route of the well known Abbot’s Way. There is also a section describing briefly what to see on the walks, including prehistoric monuments, medieval and later remains such as mining and granite crosses, as well as flora and fauna. The walks have been arranged in order around the southern and then the northern moor. Each walk starts at a suitable parking place. The routes are described in detail with appropriate grid references and brief information on the scenery and features to be seen. The start of all the walks is shown on an overview map of Dartmoor. About half of the routes are circular whereas others are more suited to a linear course. The walk descriptions are accompanied by maps in which the route has been sketched out on the appropriate section of the 1:25,000 OS map. A separate section gives advice to walkers and explains how to use this guide. It also draws attention to safety issues of walking on Dartmoor, including the dangers of military firing and adverse weather conditions.
The book can be purchased from the publisher, Matador http://www.troubador.co.uk/book_info.asp?bookid=4768 , other online outlets, or traditional bookshops.
Having been to the wilds of England. Scotland and Wales, a trip to Altnabreac on the Far North Line has completed my travels for Remote Stations.
In all I’ve visited 40 stations, most still with a train service, if not always very regular, and a few long closed. I’ve walked across moors, marshes, fens and enjoyed some of the most remote and wonderful scenery in Britain, sometimes on foot and often through the train window.
Both stations and trains have been of varied types and size and as I’ve researched each station many interesting tales have been unearthed.
Remote Stations will be published by Matador in summer 2018.
Altnabreac – Possibly our most remote station