Join  Marian Thornley every week as she shares the ups, downs and sideways of her move to Céret in the Pyrénées-Orientales – and the good, the  bad and the hilarious times to follow!

Hubby’s teeth & the oracle

Ceret Diaries

We were lucky enough to have met a very kind English couple when we moved to Mas Pallagourdi. As time went by, our new friends proved to be extremely knowledgeable about all manner of things, from where to find a particular kind of gravel to good quality hay to tracking down the best seafood in Spain. In fact, we were so amazed at our friend’s abilities we started to call her The Oracle.

Ceret Diaries

Hubby had toothache, in fact he’d suffered for years with one dental problem or other (ever since, in fact, a dentist nicknamed The Butcher managed to pull out part of his jaw and who was subsequently struck off, but that’s another story). Far be it from me to suggest that hubby is a bit mean but suffice it to say that he was rather reluctant to spend the money necessary to sort the problem. Katja put him straight. “You’re happy to spend a couple of grand on new windows,” she said, “but not on your teeth. It’s your health, for goodness sake.” 

This got hubby thinking and he had to admit, she was right. We both visited a dentist in a nearby town. I went in first and came out into the waiting room clutching a quote for 5000€. I chuckled to myself, wondering what hubby would have to say about that. Then it was his turn. When he came out of the consulting room he was white. “I’ve got to have a bone graft and it’s going to cost 15,000€,” he informed me.


We walked up and down the street outside, debating the horrible prospect of spending 20,000€ on our collective teeth. “I just can’t do it,” he said finally. We got into the car and drove home.

When we next met The Oracle we told her about hubby’s problem and our dilemma of whether we should go ahead with the work. She gasped with horror. “Don’t go near that woman,” she said. “She drilled through a friend’s tongue! No, go to my own dentist in Perpignan, he’s very good.”

The dentist in Perpignan was, in fact, very good. He fixed hubby’s abscess and told him there was no need for a bone graft. But to sort out hubby’s teeth it would cost a mere 10,000€. It might still require the sale of an arm or a leg, or, in French, the skin of one’s butt, but at least the amount was going down.

“Hmm,” The Oracle said. “I know where you can get it done cheaper than that. It’s in Barcelona but we know someone who has been treated there, and they gave them the thumbs up.”

So, Barcelona it was. The clinic quoted us 3500€ for the same work. I found extremely cheap lodgings for hubby and the first appointment was booked. In the interim we found ourselves having dinner with friends, who included some new neighbours. Pieter is an orthodontist and he listened with great interest as hubby told his dental saga. 

“Let me know how it turns out,” he said. “Oh my, this is so interesting. I think I will write about it for my next article in the Orthodontics Journal. So many people have come a cropper doing just this.”


Hubby was not daunted by this in the least and set off for the first appointment. There was no point in my accompanying him as I could speak no more Spanish than he could. Hubby was duly installed in the dental chair and was a little alarmed to see a dentist with huge muscles advancing on him. Muscly dentist said something but of course hubby didn’t have a clue what this meant so he just nodded his head and murmured the only Spanish word he knew, which was Si.


The dentist smiled and the work started. Two hours later hubby emerged onto Le Gran Via. He had had two extractions and three holes drilled in preparation for the first three of six implants. Bending down to put something in his bag, blood started to gush out of his nose. Instead of going back in and sitting down for a while, as most sensible people would have done, hubby stuffed some cotton wool up his nose and wandered off.

It seemed that the very cheap lodgings were about 3 miles from the city centre and up a long hill. Hubby wandered around for an hour and a half, the fog in his head not helping him to have any idea of where he was or where he should be going. In the end he called a taxi.

“Why didn’t you call, as per the arrangement?” the hotel receptionist said, staring at the two bits of cotton wool dangling from my husband’s nose.

“I couldn’t call, I don’t have a phone,” hubby replied. “And anyway, what arrangement?”

“What? You don’t have a mobile?”

Hubby collapsed into bed and didn’t wake up for 18 hours. For his next visit, I decided to accompany him as he clearly couldn’t be trusted out and about on his own. I would console myself with a visit to Desigual and, with the savings on hubby’s teeth, invest in a new dress, or even two.

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