Lynne Mortimer - My husband once had frog’s legs, he’d survive in a swamp

Lynne Mortimer likes eating

Lynne Mortimer likes eating - Credit: Archant

I love food, writes Lynne Mortimer. Eating has always been in my top ten list of things I enjoy doing.

Other lifetime pleasures have been more fleeting. A couple that used to figure have dropped right out of the top flight to be supplanted by, for example, going to bed early to read a book in bed; pulling on a nice big comfy pair of knickers; the scent of flowers. Food is important to me even though I am not an adventurous eater.

I have watched my husband eat snails, persuading them out of their shells, pierced through, looking like interestingly-shaped rubber doorstops. They tasted, he said, a bit like chicken. He also once had frog’s legs in Woodbridge... but they got better (joke). He ate them and then made the little leg bones swim in his finger bowl. They tasted, he said, a bit like chicken.

If he was ever stranded in a swamp, I think he would survive.

I’m not a faddist. There is such a thing as too much beetroot or rocket and I’m not a fan of blobs on my plate, especially when they are given full billing on menus.

The times I have looked at my plate of restaurant food, searching in vain for my celeriac purée, only to find it is a blob.

I like plain food, nicely cooked, with a side order of chips that don’t smell of cooking oil. So you imagine my distress when a couple of weeks ago, I developed a raging toothache during a barbecue. The one time you get to eat unlimited meat and I couldn’t bite a thing without a searing thud of agony vibrating through my jaw.

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That night I slept fitfully. The pain was excruciating; so bad I couldn’t even tell which tooth was the source of my torment. My gums hurt, my ear ached and my cheeks throbbed. It didn’t matter which way I turned, it hurt.

One of my big dreads is that I might lose teeth so when, next morning, my husband said I would need to make an emergency appointment at the dentist, I smiled grimly through my suffering and muttered that I was sure it would get better by itself. It didn’t. Walking made it worse, talking was out of the question. When my husband decided to enter into a discussion about the EU referendum with Michael Gove or George Osborne (during their appearances on television) I couldn’t stop him.

I sat in misery, sipping lukewarm tea and taking painkillers at the recommended dosages. There was no alternative: I would have to go to the dentist.

As I cowered in the chair of terror, he probed my upper left quadrant.

“Does this hurt?”


“Does this hurt?”


“Is this sensitive?”

“Yes... and yes.”

“I didn’t do anything”

“That’s how bad it is.”

He drilled out some filling and gave me a numbing injection. The pain subsided.

“Can I have another one of those?” I asked.

He didn’t laugh.

It turned out there was an infection and he intoned something about “root canal” and said if it didn’t clear up, I would have to have a tooth out. Clutching my prescription for antibiotics, I thanked him and, dribbling slightly, headed to the pharmacy.

It’s been in the news that antibiotics are losing their efficacy... what if they didn’t work?

In other news, we had to postpone our wedding anniversary meal because it hurt me too much to eat. There was a time when we had many ways of celebrating our ancient nuptials. But, a few years ago,we gave up sending cards and exchanging gifts (there was nothing left to give) and then it was down to one thing, a meal. So this year, nothing. My husband’s suggestion that we could go out for soup did not get a positive reaction. He thought he was safe because I could hardy speak... but I could still hurl a newspaper (this one, of course). Thirty-eight years married to me and he still finds me amusing. Who needs a card, flowers, a meal, this, that or, indeed, the other when we can make each other smile... although I couldn’t actually smile.

I’m back at the dentist’s tomorrow so I don’t know the outcome of this tale. The pain is gone so I’m hopeful.

I don’t want to whistle when I talk.