Born and raised in America, Robert Zagar lived in Central America before arriving in London in 1981. A former registered nurse and professional dancer, he retrained as an osteopath and acupuncturist before starting his own clinic in NW5 in 1986, where he continues to practice to the present day. He lives in Gospel Oak with his musician wife, Sarah Allen, and their six year old daughter, Maisy. “I love north London,” he says. “With the Heath at our doorstep, a rich mixture of cultures, and our close proximity to the centre with all the arts, all we need is a wee bit more sunshine.”
What is your greatest life achievement?
I started and ran a health clinic in the middle of the jungle in Guatemala for two years. I was doctor, nurse, midwife, teacher and sanitation engineer all rolled into one.
Where would you like to live?
Where we live now. Oak Village is a very friendly place; we know all our neighbours, we have an annual street party, and various other social gatherings throughout the year.
What is your favourite smell?
The freshly ground coffee at House Presso which I frequent on my walk to my work nearby.
What is the most important lesson life has taught you?
To love and be loved is what it is all about.
Walking into a squat where I was about to live. It was dark, damp, and full of strange but fun people.
What makes you unhappy?
Litter on the streets, aggressive behaviour, and my football team losing.
What simple thing would improve your quality of life?
Three months of blue skies and warm sunshine.
What is your most unappealing habit?
The list is far too long. Ask my wife.
What is your guilty pleasure?
The natas at Al Parco by the Heath.
Where do you hang out?
On my couch in my living room where I can watch the world pass by on the street.
Who or what do you hate and why?
The people who manufacture arms and sell them to people all around the world: the Blood People.
What have been your best and worst experiences locally?
Best: sending my little daughter to our local school (Gospel Oak) where she and we have met and become friends with an interesting and diverse group of people. Worst: riding in the ambulance this February in the middle of the night to the hospital after having a stroke, thinking I was going to be severely damaged for the rest of my life. Luckily I wasn’t.
My little paunch that someone sewed onto my belly in the middle of the night two years ago.
What’s the worst thing anyone’s said to you?
“Dad, you are fat.” By both my daughters aged 6 and 31.
Tell us a secret.
What has your career taught you?
Being kind to people is the basis of good medicine.
What is your favourite dish and why?
Fresh walleyed pike from Minnesota. It is the fish of fish. Served with salad and a bone dry glass of Chablis.
What did you do today?
Treated the backs, necks, shoulders, knees, and jaws of people living in north London. Picked up my daughter from after school club, dinner with my family, tended to the garden, read a novel and fretted about the fixture list (football) to be published tomorrow.
Describe yourself as an animal.
I used to be a panther: restless, always moving, stalking, engaging in life. Now I would say I am a golden retriever: up for a bit of playful behaviour now and again, but very content to just lay in the sun.
Got a suggestion for Ich Bin? Email firstname.lastname@example.org. And if you’re a fan of the column why not buy the T-shirt or tote bag?