Christopher Stocks

Island Life

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…

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