This article in the Guardian, naturally took me back to early 1981 when I had to start using a walking stick to navigate my way around due to both my hip joints giving me trouble.
For the past 36 years plus now, I have been using a walking stick whenever I leave home, even if it is just to our grocer across the road. I simply cannot imagine my being able to be without one outside my home.
Here is a collection of walking sticks that wait for me just near the main door to the house.
I pick one as I leave and choose the one most appropriate for the trip I am making. For instance, if it is to the local park, I will choose the black one with the strap, or the brown one with the brass handle if I am going for a formal meeting.
I have a few more stored away in the attic, notably a pair of elbow crutches which I have to use immediately after surgery for revision to the replaced hip joints.
There is a story behind the brass handled walking stick. A friend winding up his longish stay and returning from the UK to India, bought it as a gift for me in London. On his presenting it to me, I discovered that it was made in India, by the engraving at the bottom of the crocodile shaped handle! It went all the way to London and came back to me in Pune! You can imagine the embarrassment that it caused my friend.
One of the advantages of being with a walking stick is the readiness with which people help with seats, places in queues etc. It is also a nice way to identify myself to strangers to look out for a grey bearded old man with a walking stick. It never fails!