The superlight walking poles have really come into their own since round three of lockdown. I’ve spent the last year perfecting my cane and pole techniques and I’ve been feeling pretty smug about where they have landed. I’m choosing my words carefully here.

I could never have imagined converting the cane or the pole in a way that you might hanker after a nice bit of cashmere or a beautiful silk, but I have caught myself on line shopping for both. It might be a sign of old age. I’ve noticed that I’ve also started talking to the Son about people he doesn’t know and never will. I do this as he’s turning puce with pleasure as he explains how to switch my autoreply on and off for the umpteenth time. This morning I sent him a photo of a graveyard because I thought the view was rather nice.

It could be that all this pole and cane action is not encroaching age but the shift from a cerebral way of getting around to one that is more sensory, more rooted in my body. This theory is supported by a range of what you might describe as ancillary shopping that has seen a serious upgrade in shoes. I’m absolutely certain this is an exciting development and not a view of old age.

Whether or not these advances could be described as old lady or not, I’ve been feeling content in where things have landed. Still watching my language.

I was just coming through a kissing gate when I noticed that there were people on the other side. Old habits die hard. I popped both poles into my right hand and assuming the flat ground on the left that was there last week was still there. It was not. I forgot about the rain. My brief affair with mud has reminded me that the old ways don’t work any more.

As me and my muddy badge of shame meandered home, a new phenomenon, which neither pole nor cane could account for, made itself known. It’s called the “back swipe”. This is different from the side swipe because there is not a barbed comment to be heard nor did anyone sidle up to me, knock me off my feet, then make a run for it.

The “back swipe” is part of the ever-changing landscape that the cane cannot alert me too, since the cane is designed to allow sensory feedback from the ground. How can any of us anticipate what is to be delivered in mid-air?

The “back swipe” is a speciality hazard delivered by reversing teenage boys in shorts, often in the dead of winter, holding on to bicycles, with large thermally insulated boxes strapped to their backs containing food. Still watching my language.

An encounter with the #Deliveroo “back swipe” lacks the comic appeal of a #Laurel and Hardy sketch if you are part of the performance. Having only just finished paying the bill for the broken jaw and ensuing dentistry, I am not keen to entertain the thought of more.

My dance with fish and chips was not balletic. It was more of a smack in the face. It’s bothered me but I think I may have the solution.

The #Darleks had a point, so to speak, integrating the sink plunger into their #Darlek selves. Luckily for me I know the woman who thought up this novel idea and elevated the sink plunger to stardom. I’m thinking of commissioning her to make me something that might serve as an early indication of the “back swipe”.

Teenage boys should watch out. I’m done with “excuse me”. I’m going straight in with “exterminate”.