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vialdana

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About me: Trying to read & rate more, but the fibro still gets in the way. I write when I can and read/rate when I am able. This means sometimes I throw lots on all at once, and then go quiet for days or weeks at a time.

Member since:18.06.2002

Reviews:312

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Don't Dis the Stick (Walking Sticks)

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03.08.2011

Advantages:
Very useful practical devices that can be decorative too .

Disadvantages:
Not so nice to 'HAVE' to use one .

Recommendable Yes:

Detailed rating:

Performance

Ease of use

Durability

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Value for money

User's ManualFair

Cleaning & MaintenanceVery easy

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Any repairs?

Special features?

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~*~My own Walking Sticks~*~
I own three walking sticks. One of them I use daily – this is my every day walking stick. It’s very plain, made of wood, and was given to me 14 or so years ago by occupational therapy along with my wheelchair, when I was first struggling with the fibromyalgia.

The second walking stick I own is highly decorative, not at all comfortable to use as a general purpose walking stick to lean on as the handle isn’t so comfy, and is one I bought when we visited Kenya about 12 years ago. It’s decorated with carved animals like giraffes and was hand carved, and I love it very much even though it’s completely impractical to use, and I do use it when we go to really special occasions like weddings for example.

The third stick I have falls somewhere between the other two in terms of practicality, and decoration, and was hand carved by my step dad and given to me. This is the one I often take with me if I’m not going to have to do much walking but am going somewhere special like out for a meal or to see a show. It’s practical enough to walk a little bit with, but not as sturdy as my every day one, but is much nicer looking and very special to me because he made it especially for me.

Many people think of walking sticks in terms of just being something practical and necessary for people who are elderly or infirm, and in many cases this may well be true. However, if you do use a stick, it’s something that will be with you every day and which you need to be comfortable with, but it’s also nice to have alternative sticks that you ‘wear’ for special occasions too.

~*~The History of the Walking Stick~*~
We pretty much think of the walking stick today as a cane used to support us when walking if we are unbalanced or infirm, but over the centuries the walking stick has been much more than this from weapon to fashion accessory.

The first sticks may well have been used by people needing them to lean on for support – we’ll probably never know, but for a long time, they became a sort of symbol of power and authority for men… the stronger and bigger the bloke, the larger the stick he carried. Tribal chiefs through the ages often had an elaborately carved stick with symbols on it that pertained to his tribe and perhaps his achievements.

If you look at ancient Egyptian history sticks had a lot of importance, and depending on your job, you had a different type of stick. A shepherd had one type, and a merchant another and so on through the ranks. Sticks were buried with the person too, to give the person something to lean on and protect himself with when he travelled to the afterlife.

Sticks through the ages have been used to conceal weapons (sword sticks), they’ve also been used as hiding places for money and jewels.

Kings and important people through the ages can often be seen in portraits with their stick beside them and their hand resting on it. Look at portraits of people like Henry VIII and Charles I for examples. Their sticks were usually pretty fancy with lots of gold and jewels imbedded in them.

~*~The Stick Itself~*~
Walking sticks have three main parts:

The handle by which you hold the stick – these vary in style from closed loop to crook or straight bar, or knob.

The Shaft – this is the straight part of the stick that gives it its length and stability.

The Tip or Ferrule – this is the bit at the bottom of the stick which meets the ground. Ferrules are often made of either metal or rubber, and are to protect the end of the stick. Rubber ones also offer added grip when the ground is slippery. An alternative is a stick designed for use on soft ground where a spike is placed here instead. This can be very useful if you’re walking on snow and ice, or muddy ground as it will dig in and give you better grip than a metal or wooden ferrule would.

If the stick is made from two different materials – one for handle and one for shaft, then you will have a collar too. This is a band which joins the two materials together or covers where they are joined. Its purpose can be purely decorative, but normally adds strength too.

~*~Different Types of Stick Available~*~
Sticks come in many different styles and designs. Some will be very plain and purely designed to serve their purpose while others are elaborately decorated with lots of carving or images.

Sticks have different purposes too. Some are designed as mobility aids while others are for people who participate in hill walking or other sports.

Folding walking sticks can be bought for people who need extra support sometimes, these are quite cleverly designed and the shaft of the stick is divided into pieces with an elastic running through the centre so that you can pull them apart by grasping handle and ferrule and pulling gently so that they separate and can be sort of folded into a bag. To make your stick whole again, you pull it straight and let the pieces latch back together before you put any weight on it. These folding sticks are fairly light weight and not designed to be leaned heavily on, but they can be very useful.

~*~A Few Further Thoughts~*~
If you do need to use a walking stick it’s very important to get one that is the right length for you. Even a difference of half an inch in height can make a difference to how you stand and whether you are being given good support or putting a strain on muscles in a way that’s bad for them.

The handle of the stick should be comfortable in your hand, and should remain so as you walk. If it’s not, then choose a different stick!

For me, using a walking stick is a necessity in the same way that wearing glasses is. Like with glasses however, there is choice available, and it’s nice to have something which is not just practical but also decorative too. My everyday stick is practical and easy to use when I’m shopping, visiting people, or just generally anywhere outside my home. However, for evenings out when I dress up, it is nice to have something pretty to ‘wear’.

*note*
Some of the 'specific criteria' don't really apply well to this category as you'll see for yourselves.

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Comments about this review »

brittle1906 03.08.2011 17:22

Interesting write up. Until my late mother needed walking sticks, I had no idea of how many differing types there were available.

anonymili 03.08.2011 13:18

It's very weird to think of a walking stick as a household gadget but it was interesting to read your experience of them and about the history and different types of stick in a brief but informed manner.

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