In these times of ongoing want and feeble spending power, any kingdom which manufactured a brand sparkling new crown for its ruler – for the not unreasonable price of £209 – would attract a fair amount of positive press, even from hereditary ruler-sceptic periodicals such as this one.
The public, of course, would no doubt also regard such a transaction favourably. "Extremely good value," they would think, as they clustered around their Aldi candles to keep warm. But, sadly, such value for money is not true in every case. And certainly not in my case.
That is because the kingdom in question is my mouth – and the aforementioned crown is for my tooth, so spending such an amount takes on a different aroma. It becomes more troubling, especially if, like me, your teeth have all the robustness of marshmallows.
Due to a cruel trick of genetics, my father's impeccable, gallantly hard teeth were passed on to my sister, who subsequently has gnashers like, well, Gnasher out of The Beano. I got my poor old Mum's teeth, which tend to hide behind my tongue at the merest mention of soup, never mind a Thorntons Old Time toffee selection. I once lost a crown to a Curly Wurly, which isn't easy.
Anyway, as a result of my being so dentally deficient, I am very popular with my dentist. He even named his new speedboat after me, so you'll appreciate the level of business I put his way. His demeanour on my arrival is always warm and friendly, even if he does manage to stop short of actually rubbing his hands together with glee (mind you, I once caught him flipping through the Argos catalogue while giving me a polish).
But what I find most troubling is his lack of empathy. There he'll be, kneeling on my chest, cackling, as he drills another (what feels like) Wookey Hole into my gob. As my legs twist in agony into the shape of a pretzel, he'll tut at my lack of fortitude. And heaven help me if I so much as comment that he seemed to be enjoying himself a little too much. "Drilling?! That wasn't drilling!" he'll announce with disdain (as his minions frantically mop the ceiling). "I barely touched you!"
Of course, I'm intelligent enough to know that, by highlighting his emotional shortcomings to a national audience, I'm sentencing myself to more of the same treatment. But while my next few visits might bear the whiff of revenge from his drill bit, at least he might knock a few quid off the bill, given the exposure I have afforded his practice. Any cash-profligate masochists out there who wish to know the name of it, you know where to reach me …