NO-ONE likes going to the dentist, but a recent visit to the black padded chair was among the most traumatic I can remember.

There was nothing wrong with the treatment I received – it was simply getting there that was the nightmare.

You may recall that some weeks ago, I was foolishly chewing on a sticky lollipop intended for the grandchildren, and succeeded in dislodging a crown which had been in place for some 30 years.

I soon had the stray tooth glued back in, but the kindly dentist had a squint round my mouth while it was agape, and suggested that further work might be required.

You don’t argue with a man with a thrumming drill in his hand, so I agreed to make an appointment for a future visit.for a proper check up.

I should say that I used to be regular in the dentist’s chair, but once I hit my 63th birthday, they stopped sending for me for some reason.

I was having no trouble at all with my gnashers, so I left well enough alone, until the lolly incident.

Before I knew it, I was sitting back in that Mastermind-style chair, while he poked around with assorted instruments of torture hmming and harring.

An x-ray was deemed necessary and in due course, he showed me a picture of the inside of my teeth.

As far as I was concerned the picture could have been shots of the dark side of the moon.

Then he gravely pointed out two teeth which apparently comprised more filling than actual tooth, and said that beneath the fillings, decay was abundant.

They should be replaced, he said, and I could not disagree, so an appointment was made for several weeks later.

Those weeks ticked rapidly away, and the day before I was due to go in, the surgery thoughtfully rang me to make sure I had not chickened out.

So after a heavy morning’s ostling, I had a steamy bath to rid myself of as much eau de cheval as possible.

And for some reason decided to have my second shave of the day before my 2.20 appointment in Hexham some 17 miles away.

Now shaving is something I do every day.

The scruffy designer stubble look is not for me and only makes me itch, so I am reasonably proficient at scraping off the whiskers.

But on this occasion, I inflicted the tiniest of nicks on my chin with disastrous results.

The cut was barely the size of a pinprick, but from that tiny aperture gushed what appeared to be gallons of blood.

It cascaded down my chin, down my neck, and spread across my chest in a matter of moments, turning the water in the sink into a charnel house of tomato soup.

Shaving nicks used to be of no consequence, but medication I am obliged to take following my stroke last year has thinned my blood to such devastating effect it sometimes refuses to clot.

My dad always had a styptic pencil to hand to dab away bits of blood, but I had to content myself with a few sheets of toilet roll.

But no matter how firmly and for how long I applied the Cushelle quilted, blood continued to hose out of my chin like the Kielder scour pipe.

Like all women, Mrs Hextol is very good at dealing with blood and sick.

I went downstairs to show her the crimson tide flowing over my chest – and was told: “Don’t come in here dripping blood all over my carpet!”

She produced yards of kitchen roll, cotton wool and Elastoplast, but the torrent continued unabated – and the time of my dental appointment was getting ever closer.

After some 20 minutes, the flow had reduced to a mere cascade, and I was able to set off for Hexham with only three plasters on the cut.

Not forgetting the two yards of kitchen roll as back up to mop up the overspill.

I reckoned I could still make the appointment on time – until I hit the A69 at Acomb, where traffic was at a virtual standstill.

It took some 20 minutes to negotiate the 800 metres of cones – behind which no discernible work was taking place.

As a result, it was more than five minutes after the allotted time that I stumbled panting and plastered into the surgery full of excuses and apologies.

Fortunately, the person before me had over run, and I had time to mop up the last blood leakage before taking my seat.