In the past year I have had to have reading glasses and hearing aids but doing my knee in last week was the final straw! The doctor suggested a stick since he wasn't sure whether it was arthritis or a torn muscle. Possibly both, he said cheerfully.
I therefore - I was going to say 'dashed off'. Unfortunately not. I hobbled to the indoor market with a friend who knew how to use a stick. Isn't that what friends are for? To experience things before you? The man in the market was very helpful and now I am the proud owner of one of those sticks which you can fold up and put into your handbag.
Stick walking is an art form and requires remembering which foot to put in front. Pain helps of course.
But there are a lot of limits. I can no longer go to my favourite lunch restaurant because the loos are upstairs and I hope to God this doesn't last over the spring because my favourite dinner restaurant is by the river, The Cellar Door and by hell, it requires people who can get down at least fifty steps before they get to the river. I have sat there in rain, in sunset and in shine and I'm damned if I'm going to give it up.
I can't walk into town and especially not back, Durham, like Rome, being built on seven hills.
You melt into the background when you have a stick. Some people don't see you and trying walking over you. This is why older people are grumpy. I made other folk get out of the way. Tall young men are the worst, I think they just can't see me. I've lost an inch in height lately as well and believe me I didn't have it to lose. I will turn into a square me shortly.
In the meanwhile my daughter tells me I don't remember anything she says and have taken to putting things into the fridge which don't go in there. Now I know why people have bungalows, at least they don't have to back upstairs for everything that they have forgotten.
I shall take comfort in the fact that I do my work sitting down with my leg up though not above my heart at the doctor suggested. Even laptops have limits.
I am going to Prague next week. I cried down the phone at my daughter who is going with me but she said,
'I'll get you around Prague if we have to have a wheel chair.' So if you happen to be in Prague next week I'm the woman in black waving a stick. I tell my friends I'm turning into John Steed from the Avengers who had an umbrella which became a weapon. Watch out, here I come!