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It has been a strange beginning to 2023. Following the relentless rain before Christmas, things have just settled into chilly Wintertime.

Janet and I did have a rather relaxing festive period with just ourselves for company.

Christmas came and went, then we took a train trip for a few days' break in Lisbon, the main reason was to see Cirque de Soleil with their new performance 'Crystal'. We had seen Cirque de Soleil many times on TV and saw a live show some years ago in Manchester before moving to Portugal. The new show did not disappoint.

While in Lisbon we took the time to visit that huge shop from which there is no exit - Ikea. Of course, the restaurant makes up for the ordeal, after queuing for what seems like an eternity. However, we did see some of the items that we plan to buy for the new 'old' part of the house, once it is completed - more about that soon in the house renovation blog.

We returned to Vale de Prazeres in time for the New Year celebrations. Being quite high up on the side of the mountain gives us a fantastic view of the fireworks displays all the way from Monsanto down to Castelo Branco.

The New Year started and it became apparent that I had contracted a cold, probably while in Lisbon, perhaps only the second cold I had since moving here. To make life even worse, I managed to break a tooth while eating, a lower molar with a very old filling. The tooth had already been chipped and the filling had been slowly disintegrating over some time, though this time the broken edge of the tooth had transformed into a claymore which proceeded to mercilessly hack its way into my tongue each time I tried to eat. It was painful to rest my tongue anywhere or even to swallow while drinking. I would have to do something about it.

A few days later, I had already planned a trip to the tax office in Fundão so afterwards I plucked up the courage to go to the dentist and enquire if anything could be done. A visit to the dentist after a session at the tax office - what a super day !! Because that day was fully booked an appointment was scheduled for the following day.

The next day finally arrived and again Janet gave me a lift into Fundão. Dr. Diogo, a rather young but very sympathetic dentist, was brilliant with his explanation of the procedures that would be needed to properly repair what was left of my tooth. He even speaks excellent English which certainly does make the ordeal easier.

The initial task would be to remove the offending razor-sharp fragment and determine how bad the current situation was. That procedure was almost one hour in the chair involving a couple of x-rays and a good amount of drilling and cutting. This resulted in a much smaller tooth with a temporary cover and an appointment for the next week to perform the root canal work based upon the discovery that an infection had started - which accounted for some of the discomfort that I was experiencing.

Once the anaesthetic had worn off I was able to eat almost normally again, though it took just a day to notice that the infection was still around the root of my tooth. Through the next few days, the area became less tender and almost back to normal.

My second appointment one week later was almost as daunting with the thought of deep drilling into my jaw, but again the dentist was very reassuring and, even though it was an even longer process, all went pretty much to plan. Now, with the roots all drilled out and another temporary cap, the infection should be gone. A third appointment to make good the repair by filling the whole tooth is booked for next week and then a final session to add a crown will be needed sometime after.

Like many people, I am quite nervous with visits to the dentist - even though I had a great deal of repair work done in the past including a three day hospital stay while they macheted out my four wisdom teeth leaving fragments of enamel in the gums which then erupted out slowly over a  number of years.

However, my recent experience has helped me 'brave up' about it and I am almost looking forward to getting this work finished.

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