One week on and I am still plagued (for a given value of ‘plagued’) by my left knee.
It became apparent quite quickly on Monday that it is not going to heal immediately. To do that, I should need to remain on a chaise longue, leg elevated whilst dusky maidens fed me peeled grapes and wine (or more likely, cheese) at regular intervals. Any minimal movement from a) to b) would be undertaken by sedan chair. Sadly, I am not a Roman Emperor and this is beyond my means. I have to travel into an office and get paid to be bored for eight hours or so each day.
So it is, that I bought a walking stick. A nice, sturdy, foldable walking stick from Boots, which in many ways is all that a walking stick should be. Except long enough. At 5’ 11¾” tall, I am too tall for a standard walking stick. About an inch too tall. Or the stick is an inch too short; it amounts to the same thing. Who decided that being just shy of six feet tall made you tall in the modern world. I’d have thought it’s just a smidgen above median height in the UK. Tall for 1940 perhaps, but not 2016 surely?
Anyway, I quickly realised that by the time my knee has recovered, I’d have done my back some harm with the slight –almost imperceptible - lean to the right I was forced to make. Now I have mercifully infrequent issues with my spine. Mum always made me stand up straight, shoulders back when I was a kid, so now if I find myself hunching up feels unnatural and uncomfortable, so I straighten up. Nonetheless, I have had enough experience of back pain to know that I can cope with the deep dull ache of a crook knee infinitely better than I can with a creaky back.
Wednesday I left work early, but not early enough, to go up to New Oxford Street to visit that worthy umbrella and walking stick emporium, ‘James Smith and Sons’ to sort myself out. Of course, it was the evening of the day of the State Opening of Parliament and all the traffic diversions and other restrictions made it impossible for me to get there during opening hours.
My knee really enjoyed that.
I don’t know what the problem was yesterday lunchtime, but I slipped out at just after midday and spent around ninety minutes getting there and back – a distance in total of about 4 miles. Whoever was paying the Congestion Charge certainly got their money’s worth. The traffic barely budged and having made it as far as Horse Guards on the number 88 I gave up waiting for a 24 and hobbled to Embankment and the safety of the Northern Line.
I finally made it there and I am now the proud possessor of an ‘extra long’ foldable walking stick. It looks quite swish, too. The extra inch makes a Hell of a difference.
There are, it has to be said, benefits from wielding a cane around town. People get out of your way, rather than you out of theirs, and particularly once you are out of the centre of town, people give you seats on trains and buses.
I could get used to this, but more so if my knee didn’t ache like all blazes most of the time. That I could happily dispense with.