Friday, 8 February 2013


Nick eats his breakfast.
Granola, then bread and marmalade.
Hartleys Olde English Thick Cut Marmalade.
With a lot of tooth-rotting sugar.
Nick has only 26 teeth.
Six were removed as a child because of his small jaws.
He still has all his own teeth.
Only one root filling, no crowns.
His 90 year old mother also has all her own teeth.
He thinks his sister too has all her own teeth.
As he eats he remembers something curious.
As a child he never had a rocking horse.
He thinks it would have been soothing and calming
to rock the horse gently back and forth
back and forth
back and forth
But he doesn't feel the lack of a rocking-horse experience.
He doesn't feel emotionally deprived in any way.
He doesn't feel the victim of poor parenting.
He had never even reflected before
on the absence of this popular children's plaything.
Nick has had the same breakfast for many years.
Granola, then bread and marmalade.
He sees no need to change it.
It suits him perfectly.
It never disappoints him.
It's an ideal combination of tastes.
He seldom thinks about his six missing teeth.
The remaining 26 do an excellent job.


  1. We didn't have a rocking horse either, but we did have a wooden see saw in the garden and wait now.... It is coming back to me, we had a sturdy wooden duck that rocked back and forth. I had forgotten all about that. Thanks for the reminder, Nick.

  2. Nothing like a predictable breakfast. I too have the same breakfast everyday but Indian stuff.

  3. Grannymar: A sturdy wooden duck? Most unusual, I've never seen a rocking duck....

    Ramana: Some people would hate the idea of a predictable breakfast. They would regard it as a sign of mental ossification.

  4. You don't miss what you never had, that is certainly true in many respects.

  5. Bijoux: Oh I totally disagree, people often deeply miss what they never had. Like loving parents, or close friends, or a good education, or plenty of money. People can be totally eaten up by what they've missed out on.

  6. Lol, then I think I totally missed the point of this post!

  7. Bijoux: Oh, I thought you were just making a general point! But if you're referring to the rocking horse, I guess you're right. I didn't have any friends with rocking horses so I never felt deprived.

  8. Bijoux: And I was just thinking of vegetarianism. Of course I'd had masses of meat before I went vegetarian, but I've never missed meat. Not for a second. That adage needs some major tweaking!

  9. But, I make no bones about my ossification!

  10. Ramana: I hope it's no bone of contention, but I feel your sense of humour is positively ossified....

  11. How strange .. OH and I were discussing only the other day about how our generation have managed to hang onto our teeth WAY longer than our parents' generation. Better nutrition, better hygiene and better dentistry, I am guessing, but I'm grateful!

    As to the rocking horse, they had several at the nursery school I went to, but there was really only one I wanted to ride. It was huge, so we had to be lifted on to it, and it had three seats; a saddle, and a basket type seat at each end, both facing inwards. I was always disappointed if I didn't get the saddle, and thrilled if I did!

  12. Jay: All those things, I think, but also it was common in earlier generations to have all your teeth out to avoid endless painful visits to the dentist. My maternal grandmother deliberately had all her teeth out in favour of dentures.

    Ha, the competition to get the saddle! We learn to be competitive from a very young age....

  13. You're right about the extractions. I remember my mother telling me that when she signed up for nursing training, they were all told by the matron to have their teeth out now so that they didn't miss work time later! And such was the power of the matron that they did. It all sounds like a horror story to me, but I guess the input from the previous generation made it more acceptable. Yikes. I can't imagine it.

  14. Jay: I didn't know that story about trainee nurses. How horrific! If anyone suggested that now, they'd be regarded as totally insane!