Published on August 26th, 2017 | by Ann Rickard


Did I Have Knees?

“You’ve got knees.” This was said to me by a woman who had knees herself, and seeing as the majority of us do (funny that), I thought it was rather odd.

What she actually meant was ‘you have knees that work well.’

I hadn’t thought about it before but knees that do not work well cause myriad problems for, say half the world’s population over the age of 50. (Don’t quote me on that, I’m guessing, and only guessing by the number of people who complain about their knees.)

“She struggled to keep up, thus the comment about my knees, (given rather grudgingly I must say.”

Even though I am well past a certain age, I do indeed ‘have knees.’

They are in excellent condition, have never given me a problem and I have never thought to bless them for that. I have never told my knees how much I appreciate them, how grateful I am to them. Now I have. So there.

The woman who made the knee comment was about 20 years younger and 20 kilos lighter than me and walking behind me up a reasonably easy flight of stairs. She struggled to keep up, thus the comment about my knees, (given rather grudgingly I must say.)

I have been thinking a lot about knees lately because I am still in Italy and in a region where your knees become important – the Amalfi Coast. This is arguably one of the most bewitching coasts in the world, perched on clifftops with views that sap the breath and leave you saying ‘wow’ a lot more than is becoming.

But to get anywhere you must contemplate steps, millions of them all over the coast from Sorrento through to Positano, Praiano, Amalfi and beyond. Every walk you take involves steps.

Just to the local beach where we stay, a beach we can hear well from our lovely apartment on the cliff edge, requires 400 steps down, and yes, of course, the dreaded 400 back.

While my knees hold up to the task, my pounding heart does not. Nor does my panting breath. Both these require me to stop many times during the 400 hundred-step trek. Fortunately, the route up and down to the beach is delightful – past olive and lemon trees, green vines and ancient gates, hidden doorways and terraced slopes, beneath dramatically hanging rocks and leafy

trees – so stopping is always a pleasure. And seeing there is a tiny bar half way up the 400 steps where an icy gin and tonic is reasonably priced, the degree of difficulty is slightly eased.

But I am married to a man who is fitter than me. Even though he is the same age and his knees are nowhere near as sturdy (or pretty) as mine, he can scoot up the steps like a mountain goat on a mission.

I hate that he, with his dodgy knees, can race up 400 steps with barely a pant. It requires me to fake a lot

“You go on, I’m just stopping to admire that pretty bush,” I puff but he insists on waiting with me, witnessing my fake joy.

“Oh, look at that gorgeous lemon tree,” I pant. “I must stop to photograph it. You go on.”

He never does. He stays as a spectator to my gasping breath and pained expression.

When we are finally near the top and he is still not out of breath, and the gin and tonic is telling me how stupid I was to indulge while in the middle of 400 steps, I give in and say: “I can’t go any further, you go, leave me here, say goodbye to our children, tell them I love them.”

If there is a moral to this story, and there isn’t, it could be: ‘be grateful for any body part that still works well,’ or perhaps, ‘always take steps with someone without knees.’ Read more of Ann’s musings at


About the Author

is a Noosa (Australia) local and author of six successful books, all humorous travel narratives. In 2005 Ann won the prestigious ASTW’s Australian Travel Writer of the Year and in 2007 she won the ASTW Travel Book of the Year. Ann takes a culinary tour to the South of France in June every year . Ann writes travel, dining and columns for the Sunshine Coast Daily and is the Life editor of the Noosa News. Ann also maintains a well read and popular blog site. Ann’s travels have seen her explore cuisines all over the world.

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