This year, 2021, will be the year for injections – my question is, will the syringe be as big as it seemed when I was a six-year-old in my Tooting doctor’s surgery awaiting my booster jab? And will I get a Mr Bump sticker saying: “I’ve been a good boy at the doctor’s”?
I remember my doctor’s in the early ‘60s and the abiding smell of ether – I was always surprised none of the staff were comatose by mid-afternoon.
And there was, if you were only six, nothing to read – unless you wanted to learn forms of needlework, in which case you were lucky as there were always decades-old copies of Woman’s Weekly (famed for its knitting) strewn across a table which would have been deemed too old for Going for a Song. The magazines were so old in one there was a pattern on how to crochet a gasmask.
I’d often be taken to the doctor’s as my mum was a hypochondriac and clearly fancied the doctor; this attraction was mutual. My mum would have a paper cut and the doctor would gladly do a house-call.
The best thing I remember about visits to the doctor’s was banana-flavoured Penicillin. I had a connection with Alexander Fleming having been born in St Mary’s, Paddington, where he’d discovered how to make antibiotic from an old Hovis – I’d have my own plaque erected there if it wasn’t for him.
Such was my love for this medicine I’d make up illnesses just to get some – mum wasn’t to know typhoid wasn’t that rampant in SW17 in the sixties.
So, is there a doctor in the house? No, because he’s round my mum’s flat.