Walking Sticks


Eric the pheasant, spurning the stale puffed wheat Jackie had left out for him, and preferring what the greenfinches drop, turned his back this morning.Eric 2

Later in the day he returned for the scraps. Jackdaws carried off last night’s left-over chips.


After breakfast we hid some Kinder eggs for a hunt for James, due to visit at lunchtime. As is our wont, the clues were photographs, such as this one of an iron Belgian commode, used in Newark as a coal scuttle, and now for potatoes, and, temporarily, an egg.

Frances, Fiona, and Paul accompanied James, and we all enjoyed a buffet lunch which was so splendid that someone asked whose was the wedding. Once the three year old to the hang of the idea, the Easter egg hunt went down well.

Among the presents that Frances brought were a couple of walking sticks; one, a hundred years old, had belonged to the father of a former mentor of Chris’s; the other had been tailored to my brother’s size. Chris’s old friend was Nellie Brown. It was her father who had owned a fascinating illustrated history of England that had been passed to me upon his death. I don’t remember the publisher, but it had been published in instalments around the end of the nineteenth century, the black and white illustrations being reminiscent of the Illustrated London News of that period.Walking sticks

I now have five walking sticks. The medium one in the cluster on the right of the picture is the one I have been using recently. Jackie bought it in a mobility shop when I had the hip replacement five years ago; the shorter one is the centenarian that had belonged to Mr Brown; and the tallest, my perfect fit, had been Chris’s. The ornamental, probably African, one with a bird handle was a present from Wolf many years ago. I don’t think it is made to take any weight.. The one on the left was given to me by Norman during the dodgy hip period. I don’t think I’ve really mastered the technique, but I am improving. The essential purpose of these sticks is to aid perambulation by taking the weight for which the weakened limb is designed. It is therefore important that the length is correct. Chris and I were more or less the same height, so I was fortunate that his children bought him one called Hazel. Or maybe that was the wood from which it was fashioned.

Sometimes a stick is held to aid balance. It can make a useful pointer, or even a weapon. Soon after I had the hip replacement, I would carry one just to alert other travellers on the Underground to the fact that I wasn’t as able to swerve out of their paths as I had once been. That actually made no difference. People still rushed past. It is everyone for him or her self on London Transport. I think the ornamental or ceremonial sticks are meant to be brandished simply to indicate status, perhaps higher than that attributed to someone who needs a sturdy one for walking.

Frances and her family left late in the afternoon to visit Mum, and there was plenty of cooked meats, pies, cheeses, salads, and Tess’s cakes for the rest of us to graze on in the evening.


  1. Eric the pheasant is extraordinarily beautiful. What a treat to actually see him in your garden! Cool walking sticks… I’m sure you wear all of them well. Reminds me of a post you wrote where someone asked if you were a professor.. Very distinguished looking gentleman!

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