Christopher Stocks

Island Life


Today’s casualty: a brand-new jar of Marmite (large size). Interesting what happens when dropped from a height of five feet on to a tiled floor. Tiny shards of needle-sharp brown glass everywhere, and sticky brown goo oozing out between the remaining pieces. I just sighed this time.

Bang, crash

I have good days and bad days of being clumsy, and today was definitely a bad day. I have a constant war with inanimate objects: if there’s something I can hit my head on I’ll hit it, if there’s something breakable I’ll drop it, if there’s a length of wire or a washing line it’ll get into a knot, if there’s a step I can trip over I’ll trip over it.

Each incident is intensely annoying and often painful, but the cumulative effect, after a while, is simply depressing. The first few times I swear (and my language is appalling). Then I break things, in a pathetic attempt to punish them for making my life such a misery. Finally I’m reduced to crying, often on the floor, as much in frustration as in defeat.

Why do inanimate objects hate me so much? What did I ever do to them? It’s a mystery to me.

Wound of the week

Being naturally clumsy and living in a 250-year-old house with low doors is not, on the whole, a good combination, and I spend a lot of my time nursing cuts and bruises, but I acquired this week’s wound, for a change, on my way to watch the sunset with a friend at the Cove House pub on Chesil Beach. Striding through the scrubby vegetation on the back of the beach, the hairy stem of a flowering mallow brushed against my leg. I thought nothing of it at the time, but by that evening there was a livid red patch on my calf and the area was painfully swollen; three days later it’s still itching and red.

Choppy day at ChesilActually I don’t mind being clumsy that much, apart from the wounds, obviously – I was always covered in scratches and bruises as a child, and there’s something oddly manly about being slightly damaged; my brother may be even clumsier, but we’re both over six feet tall, so bumping into things comes with the territory anyway.

Sometimes, though – usually after I’ve just nearly knocked myself out on a lintel or tried to catch a falling bread-knife by the blade – I wish I lived in a softer, more expansive world of rounded corners and no hard edges; a nice modern house, for example, with high doors and sensible stairs. When I’ve really hurt myself I dream of moving to a desert, perhaps, where the hardest surface is sand, and living in a tent, or maybe a house with rubber walls and windows…