Wednesday, June 5, 2024

About Face


These days I occasionally work in a clinic as a paramedic (primary care has now discovered we can do stuff, and so are making us do stuff). This allows doctors to focus on more more important and complicated clinical issues such as saucepans stuck on heads and hairache. 

The clinic is in an old converted Chapel, and in the bit where patients wait to be disappointed that they're not going to see a doctor today, just some oaf with a stethoscope and a prescription pad, one of the ceiling tiles is missing. 

It's been giving the receptionists the heebies and, in some cases, the jeebies, because if you stare up there you can just about make out a stone face staring back.

I felt this was something in which my nose must be poked.

I approached and stuck my phone up there, fully cognisant of every film where an unsuspecting chap of generally dismissive (and cheerful) demeanour pops his head into a void to cast aspersions on the irrational fears of others and promptly gets his entire fizzog eaten, or melted, or chopped up. Or shagged by a spider alien.

There was something up there.

I moved a chair 'neath the hole and, with other folk holding their breaths and clutching the fronts of their cardies in desperate admiration (they weren't, they were mostly doing spreadsheets and Wordle), I got closer for a more detailed examination.

It was definitely a thing. Like a cross between a gargoyle and a hastily carved cherub with reflux. 

The fact that it's facing inwards seems a bit weird to me. I was about to examine a lengthy treatise on the history, presentation and installation of gargoyles throughout the ages but remembered I'd got a Snickers in my bag and had that instead, so it remains a mystery. I did learn that the word Gargoyle, rather than being etymologically based on ancient romantic mysticism, comes from the old french " Gargouille" which means "throat", and old Greek for gargle. Because they gargle you see. Isn't language amazing?

Anyway, I told the receptionists that the weirdest thing about it was that the missing roof tile was replaced every evening, which apparently wasn't helpful.

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