THE DOMED IONIC temple in the gardens of Chiswick House in west London was built in the early 18th century. It appears in a painting executed in 1729. This circular building is faced by an obelisk that stands in the centre of a circular pool. Today, we walked past these neoclassical garden features when we noticed a lady in a flowing white dress posing on the steps of the temple. Facing her across the circular pond were cameramen and their assistants, some holding large reflector screens. They were either carrying out a photo-shoot or making a film. Every now and then, a man holding a smoke gun ran past the temple creating an illusion that the temple was bathed in mist. Here is a photo I took whilst this activity was in progress.
Mr T was a regular attender at my dental surgery. Bald, he had a high pitched voice. For some years he made appointments on Saturday mornings because he commuted during the weekdays. He retired and then began coming to see me on weekdays.
One Thursday just before Mr T was due to enter my surgery, our receptionist rushed in and said : “Don’t be surprised when you see Mr T.”
A few moments later, a woman in fairly dowdy, quite unfashionable clothes walked in and sat in my dental chair. When this person with a good crop of hair greeted me, I recognised Mr T’s voice and his familiar face was framed by his unfamiliar hair. I looked at my dental nurse, and she looked back at me, astonished.
As I always did, I asked the patient whether he/she had any medical problems lately, or had to see the doctor lately. The transformed Mr T said “not at all.”
Puzzled, I performed the dental check up, and discovered that there was a tooth that required extracting. T consented to this and we arranged for him to return a week later. He/she left the room.
In those days, early in my career, whenever I performed a tooth removal I asked the nurse to support the patient’s head gently during the procedure.
As soon as T left the room, my nurse said to me: “Don’t expect me to support his head next week. What if his wig were to come off in my hand?”
A week later, dressed as before in dowdy women’s clothing and with a full head if hair, the previously bald and previously male-attired T turned up for his extraction.
Before commencing, T asked me in his high-pitched voice which was now in complete harmony with his female appearance: “Will this take long?”
I said: “Only a few minutes. Are you in a hurry?”
“Slightly,” T replied, “I am going shopping with my wife in a quarter of an hour.”
I suspect that throughout his working life, T had yearned to appear female, but only in retirement was he able to make his fantasy into reality. His wife must have been a very understanding woman.