Once Works Well was pure technology. Now it seeks merely to divert.
Pansy subjects - Verse! Opera! Domestic trivia! - are now commonplace.
The 300-word limit for posts is retained. The ego is enlarged

Saturday, 4 December 2010

The human equivalent of a farrier

ICY ENDURANCE EXPERIMENT (qv) This is now at an end. Mrs BB said she would refuse to speak to me if I continued.

SNIP, SCRAPE Chatting with dentists and doctors presents problems. But with chiropodists you’re paying, the prognosis is rarely fatal, and, hey, they’re down there and you’re up here. They’ve got to talk. And there’s that comical vocabulary: bunions, verruccas, corns - even seed corns.

My previous chiropodist did house calls but, slightly self-conscious, I entered the new one’s surgery (?) via the Beautonics façade. She used snips chunky enough to sever a power cable and didn’t care where the bits went. Chez Bonden that’s forbidden, Mrs BB insists each nail sliver must be accounted for. Putting down her snips the podiatrist (the words are interchangeable) picked up a scalpel; dimly I recalled the earlier foot-shaper using a modified potato peeler. I was told my memory was at fault.

Snips and scalpels are autoclaved after each session. Verruccas can be blasted cryogenically. I was told to anoint my feet with Vitamin E oil from Holland & Barrett. We talked about newspapers and I was asked to guess which she read. I got it wrong: not the Telegraph but the Saturday edition of The Times. I warned her about lining Murdoch’s pockets. Next time my questions will be more penetrating.

THE NEW NOVEL The central character, a woman, has a facial port-wine stain, naevus flammeus. Plot ideally emerges from factual detail. Perhaps while I lolled on the couch of chiropody a sub-plot-line occurred. Her boy-friend, a French aero-mechanic, is drawn to her by the disfigurement.


Sir Hugh said...

My doctor enthusiastically volunteered to operate on my ingrowing toenail. After the local anaesthetic I saw him pick up a scalpel - he was several feet away and as he made towards me I gasped and winced violently. With the voice of authority adopted by such professionals he vociferated stern words: “now stop that! It isn’t going to do you any good and it isn’t going to do me any good”.

FigMince said...

I know, BB: Your heroine's port wine thingo (in fact a cleverly executed tattoo inflicted on her at birth by an obstetrician who was part of a secret society) attracts the Brit guy because he realises that if he looks at it during the winter solstice at Stonehenge through a fabled centuries-old magnifying glass (which hasn't been seen since a Taliban heavy stole it during the latest invasion of Kabul), it'll reveal the location of documents (originally lost during the 1842 British withdrawal from Kabul because it was in Elphinston's heavy oak chest of drawers which was dumped in the snow just outside Gandamak by cowardly non-British servants who'd decided their pathetic lives were worth more than they were likely to get paid by a bunch of dead Englishmen) which would prove that Catherine of Aragon had given birth to a son who was spirited away by Anne Boleyn, and whose only direct descendant is the Brit guy himself, forced to masquerade as a real estate agent in France because that's the last place MI5 (who've been told by the Royal Family that he's a terrorist who must be shot on sight onsite) would think to look for him, except that the head of MI5 is thinking of retiring in Biarritz, mainly because his lowly-born but now jumped-up wife wants to be able to call the blog she's intending to set up 'Britz à Biarritz' – and has in fact already secured that name on Blogspot.

It's a wet day here, and I could go on, but I'll leave you or Dan Brown to work out the rest, okay?

Barrett Bonden said...

Sir Hugh: I think the most effective defence mode is to imagine you're an apple that needs peeling. To give my chiro (that word is far too long to write out in full) credit there wasn't even a twinge of pain in the whole procedure. Mainly because she followed the technique adumbrated by Mr Cook (Dad's model-making pal in the Observer Corps) and removed, perhaps, 70% of the dry skin with the scalpel, thereafter resorting to the coarse file.

FigMince: I see a lot of George Macdonald Fraser in all this as well as the recycling of several BBC costume dramas. It seems it's not just raining, but raining hard. Were you aware that Dan Brown has written a worse book than the Da Vinci Code? It's called Angels and Something-or-other. It's worth buying a secondhand copy at a jumble sale (but don't spend more than 10p or, rather, its Oz equivalent) because it will provide a new criterion for badness during your future literary endeavours.

Lucy said...

I really like the French word 'podologue'. It sounds like something that might have inhabited the further reaches of the Mappa Mundi. Perhaps you could bring one into your novel?

Avus said...

Mrs Avus, a retired nurse, has always had foot trouble (long feet/toes). She attended a surgical podiatrist who decided to shorten a few toes by a joint or two by using the equivalent of tin snips and local anaesthetic. She told me she found watching the surgery "really interesting". I could not have watched another being operated on, let alone myself. Still she always enjoyed being a surgical nurse and watching operations.
She still calls me to remove spiders however!

Barrett Bonden said...

Lucy: It's one of those words that doesn't seem to work, but only because the concept of onomatopoeia (pseudo-onomatopoeia in this case) isn't interchangeable between languages. To me a podologue sounds clumsy and I imagine him/her armed with a rolling pin; a chiropodist, on the other hand, uses delicate/precise tools such as scalpels. I think I could only guarantee to use podologue in the new novel if it turned out to be comic. Which might well happen.

Avus: Mrs Avus's scientific detachment is commendable. On occasion I've gone in for a somewhat diluted form when I insisted on seeing the physical outcome of having my ear syringed. However my detachment stopped short of that of my friend who used to ask the dentist to provide him with an extra mirror in order to watch the excavations taking place in his mouth.