The day goes further downhill the moment he hits me in the face with a hammer.

Even under such circumstances, one has time to reflect. So far in the day I have discovered rainwater dripping through the bedroom ceiling, and been subjected to the new self-service till machine at Tesco, which appears to be about as much use to mankind as a budgerigar with a degree in Media Studies.

He hits me in the face again.

At some point, I tell myself, I should say something. He seems pretty competent, and I get on with the chap reasonably well (although perhaps less so now, seeing that he is hitting me in the face with a hammer), but truth be told it is an unpleasant experience and I would like him to stop.

“Diss crown is priddy impossible to shift,” he explains (note I have used the words ‘diss’ and ‘priddy’ to represent the fact that my dentist is South African and speaks in a South African voice – this is a technique used by us writers to avoid unnecessary explanations that would spoil the flow of the text). “I hev tried wiggling it. Now I am hitting it with diss hemmer.”

He hits my tooth with his hammer once more, to emphasise the point.

Randy Newman wails from my MP3 player. Unfortunately I pressed the wrong button just before he started in my mouth and instead of uplifting and distracting cheerful pop music my head is filled with mournful minor-key reflections on losers and low-life tragedies in the medium of the blues, whilst I am being hit in the face with a hammer.

Meanwhile the anaesthetic seems to have made my face swell up, as if somebody has pushed a marble into my mouth and under my top lip. They may well have done. Or perhaps it is a snooker ball. It could be a penis, for all I know. I have my eyes firmly shut. I do not wish to open them as the hammer is unpleasant enough as it is. I do not think it is a penis, as he would not be hammering it so hard if so.

The only really good thing about a dentist putting his penis in your mouth and starting to hit it wildly with a hammer whilst you are under local anaesthetic and have your eyes firmly shut and are listening to mournful Randy Newman songs is at least you know that you will get offered some mouthwash afterwards.

“It’s coming,” he explains, not entirely reassuringly.

A few more goes with the pliers and my old artificial tooth thing is no more, and I have a huge gap in my mouth that is dripping pus and blood along with an unidentified fragment of metal that appears to have been left in there by the other dentist. We take a two minute break before he starts to clean out the abscess. Randy croons dolefully in my ears.