Grandfather Hiram’s dental syringe.

(btw The coffee table is in my living room and is packed with junk high class collectables and I’ve decided to share with the world the made up stories family histories of some of the pieces)

Once upon a time, in about 18 hundred and freezing to death, my Great, Great Grandfather Wyatt was a seller of snake oil.

It seemed to his family, that he was born running, and he spent his life dodging amongst folk, making a living where he could.  He came from Nebraska, and was lean and handsome, and could tell a tale like no other man. He wasn’t stupid, and he wasn’t kind. He got into a gunfight over some cattle and ended his days at the end of a rope.

He had 3 wives, but only one child. His daughter Jane, was his most cherished possession, but she ran away when she was 15 with a cowhand from Texas. She gave birth to Hiram when she was just 16 and hated the future she had been dealt.  She decided on a religious life –  Praise the Lord- and left Hiram to be raised by his grandmother. It seemed to everyone, that young Hiram had inherited Wyatt’s wonderlust and gift of the blarney.

Hiram lived on a diet of apples and carrots and was famed for his teeth.  It was easy for him to sell folks his cures for toothache which he made from rubbing whisky and laudanaum. Now folk don’t like pain and they don’t like dentists but there’s a good living to be made from travelling round and pulling teeth.

He hooked up with Buffalo Bill’s Wild West Show and came to London with the horses. Horses get bad teeth and Hiram knew just how to calm them down so they could be treated. His fame grew and Queen Victoria learned of his prowess and commanded him to attend to help with her carriage donkeys, which she fed sugar lumps and boiled sweets. Hiram was eventually awarded the Queen’s Medal for Bravery in the Face of Petrified Animals and spent a happy retirment in the Cotswolds. Above is his dental syringe, used on donkeys and not, as the stories will tell you, on Queen Victoria.

Text and images subject to copyright © Annabel Rainbow. No part of this posting to be reproduced without specific permission from the copyright holder.


  1. rosecolouredworld ( has left a new comment on your post “Life 10 – Leaf Mould, progress.”:

    Thanks for sharing the process Annabel, I am really appreciating seeing the work unfold. If I could, I would watch artists over TV every time, except perhaps for that Bob chap with the amazing hair – seen him paint “friendly” trees too much! (Robert Norman Ross)

    • Hiya! Not sure why, but blogger wouldn’t print your comment, so I’ve cut and pasted it and hope you don’t mind. I have seriously thought of “studio cam” as I think it would be great to watch artists too. It’d be good as long as I didn’t forget it was there and start doing daft things.

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