Tuesday, 8 September 2020

Falling Again

'I took a terrible toss in the garden,' declared my piano teacher, explaining why his arm was in a sling. He must have wondered why I found this news so amusing. He – an avuncular, tweed-waistcoated figure in the Vaughan Williams mould – was an innocent; I was a dirty-minded schoolboy, desperately trying to stem the tsunami of mirth unleashed by the word 'toss'. I know, pathetic. I blush to recall it...
  Every time I take a toss myself (fnar fnar), I think of my old piano teacher and his infelicitous phrase. My occasional falls have become something of a leitmotif of this otherwise perpendicular blog, so I feel I must record the latest. It happened yesterday, as I neared the end of an enjoyable walk on Box Hill. Having made my way down from the famous escarpment along the dip slope, I turned onto a narrow path beside and a little above the road leading to the Burford Bridge hotel (where Keats once stayed). One moment I was striding along happily, the next I was flat out and face down on the path – the victim, yet again, of a tree root, in this case an inconspicuous dogwood root perfectly formed to bring down the unwary pedestrian.
  As I pondered the best way to raise myself from this undignified position, I heard a voice inquiring if I was all right. A couple who had been driving past had seen me fall and, alarmed by the sight, leapt out of their car to come to my aid – which was very nice of them, though in the event I could answer honestly that actually, yes, I was all right. No cuts, bruises, grazes, nothing but some grubby earth stains on my chinos. I thanked the couple, rose easily to my feet, and went on my way. It was only later that I discovered I had, without realising it or even feeling it, bruised my breastbone. The pain came on slowly over the next few hours, and has proved rather tiresome ever since – I never realised how many little everyday movements and actions involve the muscles that come together at the sternum. However, it's not much of a pain, as pains go, and perfectly manageable. What puzzles me is how I could have come down on my sternum with such a thump and not realised at the time. Better than coming down on my face, though.


  1. Falling is not a failing, I like to think, perhaps because "You are so clumsy", is the phrase I heard most in my youth (in exasperated, not sympathetic tones). I have fallen everywhere and off everything, although the fall I'm most proud of is out of a window. I've broken both collarbones and it is strange how something you don't think you use can provide such steady background pain. St Stephen's Hospital accident department knew me so well when I was a child that they greeted me one day with the cheery suggestion that next time I'd probably come in having broken my head off and tucked it under my arm (no suspicion about parental activities in those days)

  2. Good Lord! That's an impressive record, Zoe. I haven't even broken a bone so far. Of course we're all victims of the curse of bipedalism – we'd have saved ourselves a lot of grief if we'd remained on all fours.


  3. https://www.behance.net/gallery/46472895/_