I am in The Cucumber and Gastric Band in Middlesbrough. On my right foot is a shoe, on my left a slipper with a slit cut out, in order to help accommodate my toes, three of which are broken.

I was on my way to take up a job in Košice, a summer job which would have begun the process of sewing up my leaky cv. I was staying at Kim's the night before. She enjoyed clucking over me and wrapping my sandwiches in Enid Blyton style.

On my way out of her bathroom at 5am, I shut the door onto my toes. I went to bed and tried to ignore the pain. A couple of hours later, we walked to the bus stop and I got the bus into Newcastle. Getting off, I could hardly walk but at a list, and sat down on any wall that would have me. I made slow progress to the coach station. Halfway to London, a man trod his weight directly onto my bad toes. I let out a howl, thus marking me out as The Man Who Over-Reacts.

In London, I ate into what little, and borrowed, money I had, with a taxi to the nearest A&E Department. A Lesser Spotted White informed me that I had three "proximal avulsion fractures" -- which is a term from the Latin describing the consequences of a dolt stamping on your toes a few hours after you've slammed them into a door.

I was patched up with a centimetre-long bit of lollipop stick, a bandage, and a garish blue over-bandage. "Oooh you've got some bad arthritis in that big toe haven't you?" she said, looking at my larger member on the recto with an artless professional curiosity that I found endearing. Walking, standing up and other load-bearing on that foot was highly ill-advised and would make the breaks worse. She cheerily prescribed a week of immobility, perhaps used to people being grateful for that news.

I suppose a tougher man than me could have ignored this advice and borne it, amusing the teenagers of Košice by conducting lessons whilst standing on one leg, but I'm not as hard as my Northern elective affinity might have predicted.

I emailed the Director of Studies with the glad tidings. As I clicked on "send", there was an almost audible sound of me landing him in the shit. I sat in the waiting room in the hospital until it was time to get the first train back. I watched the theatre of a Friday night in A&E in central London, which could have been improved by some jump cut editing to make it a bit more interesting.

At 5am in Kings Cross, I bought a ticket to Peterborough (72 miles, £16) and stayed on to Durham (233 miles, £83). Mum was a bit surprised to see me, and my mentally disabled brother paced endlessly around the room, droning on a loop about the World Cup, oblivious to the hazard he was causing by repeatedly passing close to my throbbing foot.



I don't like the silence between me, Kitty, and Wendy. I think it is right that I have made an objection to me being corralled out of sight of Wendy's daughter, with whom I get on fine; of being subject to prohibitions about popping round to Wendy's house despite my de jure status as a friend, or being told to leave parties early, and being told I can't go to Kitty's on occasions when my presence would breach The Injunction. But I really wish Kitty hadn't been caught up in the crossfire. I have only Kim now.