A cat amongst the …

THE FIRST PLACE I practised dentistry was in Rainham, Kent. Every Thursday, we climbed into my then boss’s open-topped TR 7 sports car, and drove down the High Street to a pub called The Cricketers. There, we used to enjoy a hearty meat and two veg lunch. One of the waitresses, a middle-aged woman, was a patient at the practice and always made sure that we were given large portions. On other days, I used to eat either in the practice or in one of the other local eateries. Sometimes, I would go into the local branch of Tesco’s supermarket to buy myself a few items for lunch. These always included either a Mars bar or a chocolate covered honeycomb caramel called a Crunchie. All the cashiers in the supermarket knew where I worked, and often, whilst I was paying, they would raise the Mars or Crunchie in the air, and shout:

“Look what the dentist is eating!”

Recently, I entered a grocery shop near Portobello Road. I noticed a black cat resting on a shelf surrounded by tins, bottles, and boxes containing tubes of toothpaste. Seeing this creature reminded me of my days long ago in Rainham. There was a small ‘corner shop’ across the road from our surgery. The lady who owned it made very acceptable, generously filled sandwiches. Every now and then I used to buy one of her sandwiches for lunch. I used to accompany this with a packet of potato crisps. These packs were kept in an open topped cardboard box in no particular order. I used to rummage through its contents and select the pack that I fancied.

One day, I entered the shop to buy my lunch. When I turned to look at the box containing the packs of crisps, I saw a very plump cat comfortably curled up on top of the packets of crisps. Despite the fact that the crisps were sealed in their packets, I did not feel like choosing one. As I left the shop, I wondered where else that cat chose to rest during the day. Thinking about that put me off ever entering that little shop again.

5 thoughts on “A cat amongst the …

  1. What a delightful story of your early days as a dentist! It’s heartwarming to hear how the locals treated you like family and made sure you were well-fed. And the image of the black cat in the grocery shop surrounded by toothpaste is both amusing and fitting. Thank you for sharing your memories with us!

  2. Your reminiscence of your early days in Rainham, Kent, brought a smile to my face. It’s heartwarming to hear about the camaraderie at The Cricketers pub and the kind waitress who made sure you were well-fed. The playful banter with the supermarket cashiers about your choice of sweets added a touch of humor to your story. The black cat resting among the toothpaste tubes in the grocery shop must have triggered nostalgic memories. Thank you for sharing this delightful trip down memory lane.

  3. What a delightful and nostalgic story! The image of you and your boss driving to The Cricketers for a hearty lunch in the TR 7 sports car sounds like a wonderful tradition. It’s heartwarming to hear how the waitresses took care of you and ensured you had generous portions. The humorous encounters at the local Tesco’s supermarket, with the cashiers playfully teasing you about your snack choices, made me smile. The presence of the black cat in the grocery shop must have brought back cherished memories. Thank you for sharing this charming anecdote from your past.

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