Daily Mirror

Walking stick’s trouble.. but I think I can handle it


THE stick is a tyrant, as well as a godsend, contradict­ory though that may seem.

As an aid to walking, for those who have trouble with saddling up Shanks’s pony, it is invaluable.

It’s like those stabiliser­s on kids’ bikes, keeps the job upright, looking as if you know what you’re doing.

And it warns others that you’re not too good on your pins, asking without asking, as it were, for people to give you a wide berth. Motorists, in particular, seem to feel a sudden rush of kindness towards pedestrian­s, instead of rehearsing for the part of Mr Toad, the road hog.

That’s especially true if you have an NHS walker like mine, a heavy-duty metal and rubber number, because it shouts “medical case”. But therein lies the rub.

Your hospital stick is hard on the user as well as the pavement. Prolonged use, banging it down on concrete, bruises the palm of the hand. Seriously.

There’s also the question of losing the damn thing. I left mine in Cononley village shop at the weekend, but thankfully remembered after going a few yards.

That makes sense, of course. If you really need a stick, you’ll miss it when you try walking without it. Even so, I’ve left mine at Leeds station, in numerous shops, the library, and most memorably in a Greek bus station.

As I may have recorded before, the attendant ran after me, shouting, “Your third leg, sir!”.

That’s the down side. You have to have your wits about you if you’re not to lose it.

But maybe that’s a blessing in disguise, a discipline that does the memory a favour. I shall reflect thus on my next excursion, if I can remember where I put my NHS leviathan.

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