Late last year I was planning to walk the last 100 kilometres or so of the pilgrim way to Santiago de Compostela with a group of friends. Sadly, other commitments got in the way so in the end I didn’t go. However in the meantime I had been shopping - for a pair of walking boots and a walking stick that would comply with the new restrictions on airline luggage. Clearly it was no longer possible to pitch up at a check-in desk with a stick of any kind so I found one that could unscrew in three parts and be packed in a suitcase.
I was rather proud of my new brass-headed cane so when six weeks ago I decided to realise my long-cherished wish to visit the Holy Land it was duly packed along with the ‘Spanish’ walking boots. Both proved extremely useful not least because the streets of the Old City of Jerusalem are in places extremely slippery and rubber soles and a stick with a rubber ferule forestalled a number of hard tumbles.
Then I took a bus to Bethlehem. The journey is described here. What I didn’t record was the fact that when I was talking to the driver on my way off the bus in Bethlehem, I omitted to pick up my stick! Given the interest shown in it previously by Jerusalem street traders, I imagine he will have got a good price for it. I certainly hope so.
Last night I browsed relevant sites on the internet for a replacement and at just after 1 am I placed an order. At five past nine this morning I had a call from the suppliers to say that, rather than putting the new stick in the post, could someone who wanted to come into the Ely market drop it off personally? At 9.35 - eight-and-a-half-hours after ordering it on line - I was the proud owner of a new walking stick. It is not a precise replica of the one now in or near Jerusalem but near enough.