Nuala McCann: The choice is my teeth implants or my car. The teeth appear to be winning...

It's a tough decision when you have to choose between a new car and dental implants... the perils of the MOT centre beckon. Picture by Alan Lewis/Photopress

THE implant people have been in touch.

Not breast implants - 'tis far from all that, thank you very much.

Dental implants for your mouth that mean you no longer have to liquidise your sirloin steak and chips and suck it up through a straw.

I have no idea of the cost of these implants but they're charging me over £100 to look in my mouth.

"It's an assessment," says the young woman.

"Really," I say.

But there you go.

"There you bloody go," I tell my mate. "That's put paid to the new car."

"But your car's not four years old," she tells me.

I suppose so. Isn't it great to have such first world problems?

The new car - well, new demo car - is my gift to me.

Down the years, I have been the owner of many little old and rather sweet cars.

But the MOT was always an endurance test.

In times gone by, when the MOT assessor stood in a pit, I quaked as I drove my little red car over said pit.

"I'll knock your head off," I used to warn the mechanic in the pit, in sheer panic.

"Don't worry, I'll duck," he always told me.

But taking the car for its MOT was way worse than the dentist.

It felt like going into the hospital to give birth - all dignity lost as the man delved deep into the little red car's bowels.

Once, at the final hurdle, just at the exit door of the MOT test centre, the examiner told me to pull hard on the little red car's handbrake.

As number one family swot who always obeyed, I yanked extra extra hard.

There was a sharp clack as the cable snapped and the mechanic shook his head in a "sorry for your trouble" way and said: "You better get that fixed and bring her back."

Obviously, I'd rather change my car for a "new to me" model every four years, than endure the MOT.

Still, into every life a little rain must fall and in mine, it's pouring.

The choice is my teeth implants or my car.

The teeth appear to have won.

"I have seen too many old people in hospital who haven't the teeth to eat a proper dinner," says my sister.

"Pass the straw," I tell her.

I blame the pandemic for the malaise about our house.

"It was different when you were going out every day and coming home to home," I tell our boy on one of our many walks around the block.

The walks are a result of taking out all my winter trousers and discovering that not one pair fits.

"It's the pandemic," he tells me.

"The whole world blames everything on this pandemic," I tell him.

All of 25 years ago when we bought our house, the estate agent's brochure called it 'The Jewel in the Crown'.

Alas, no more.

Even my little white star fairy lights twinkling on the hearth all year long can't summon up that Christmas joy.

I used to like the white plaster work in the hallway - like royal icing swirled snow fashion on a big white tombstone of a Christmas cake.

But love fades and after a year and a half of being cooped up, we're channelling our inner birdmen of Alcatraz.

Johnny Cash is on the radio singing the Folsom Prison Blues and we've all got them.

When a red painted butterfly flutters past the window or the blackbird lands near the door step, we oooh and ahhh in wonder.

It's time to throw off the shackles and get out more. If only the numbers would go down.

Our house needs a lot of loving attention and my mouth needs a similar dollop of care and our car will just have to visit the MOT centre.

I have nightmares about being asked to turn on the fog lights and scrabbling about madly because after four years, I have no idea where the button is.

I have bad dreams where a disjointed voice shouts up from the pit, "Turn the wheel to the right, turn her, turn her, turn her."

These are nightmares I shall have to revisit. The only blessing of this pandemic is that there's a backlog and I get to avoid the trauma for a little while longer.

It's only so many years until we get an electric car... and think of my implanted smile and the sheer joy of chewing your dinner.

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