A.J. Walker


November 2020

Voice Activated: 3

After reading the Read Me Speak Me poems No.120 and 121 last weekend it is time for poem No.122: it's almost like they are in numeric order or something. This week's poem is 'Journey Along The Banks' by Swarn Gill @theedemaruh


Haven't decided whether to put it directly onto Twitter, or whether to create a folder and put it up on my YouTube. I'm thinking ultimately YouTube makes sense as for some of the longer poems as they won't fit onto a Tweet. That said this one would fit I'm sure so perhaps I can do both.

We'll see later on.


Voice Activation

It's funny how you can find yourself doing things out of the blue. This week I came across #ReadMeSpeakMe for the first time. I dare say I'd seen it lots across Twitter over the months, given the people who are involved with it, but it hadn't hit home. It seems a really neat idea. Each week they post a poem for people to read, record and post to see how the poem changes with different readers. I'm assuming all the poets are from within the Twitter writing community as opposed to Keats and Wordsworth (you never see them on there). Anyway, yesterday I decided to give it a go for the first time. The poem (below) was 'Arrival At The Sea' by Juan Antonio Garcia (@NoosferaMedia).

Arrival to the Sea

It took around eight attempts to get it down. And there were a few issues. Firstly there was how to record it. I'd have done it on my iPad ideally as I'd have more options for saving it. Unfortunately I couldn't read the poem on the phone to record on the iPad, but could do it the other way around. I never got around to printing it out. Then it was time to put it up on Twitter. But the 80 seconds of video made quite a large file. Whilst it would have gone up on Twitter (I think) it was taking a while. I couldn't change the size of the file on my phone directly. I had to download an App to compress it, which I sorted next.

So all in all with multiple attempts of recording it, then messing about with uploading it and downloading a new app and what not, it probably took me about an hour to get it sorted. I suppose on my next attempt it shouldn't take as long with the app sorted.

That said, this week's poem has gone up today and it looks like it'll take a few attempts. It's good to see it's from someone I know on Twitter though. The poem is '
Epoch Song' by Margaret Lonsdale (@fhaedra). And yes, I will be giving it a go. If you fancy trying it then get yourself over to @ReadMeSpeakMe and maybe I'll see you there.

Epoch Song


Flash Friday HM

Yet again I managed not to get around to writing my story for Flash Friday until the early hours of the morning on Saturday. Submitted it around 1:30am again I think. Actually found the photo not that helpful for me. I don't know why. But I got something done.

And yes - Huzzah! - I got my first mention of this year's Flash Friday challenge. Both judges found themselves smiling at the comedy of it and gave the story an Honourable Mention. Which for me is great to hear. I suppose so many of my stories are not literary masterpieces but they are light hearted and heartfelt and if anyone finds them even slightly amusing then to my mind it is job done.

Thanks to the judges for giving me a mention this week. I will continue to galvanise myself to write for challenges like this and drive those lips into a grin where I can.

Farewell, Wales

After delivering across North Wales for so long things have suddenly changed and I'm now closer to home delivering in areas in and around Warrington. It's swings and roundabouts in terms of what this actually means in terms of whether this is a positive.

Clearly the miles going to and from Wales every day were sometimes significant. I could be delivering around Corwen, Llanwrst, Caernarvon, or even Holyhead. That would mean I'd be doing up to 280 miles a day - or well over 1200 miles a week. Now doing Warrington, and a little beyond, the maximum miles will likely be between 60 and 100 miles a day. This will take a lot less time (though there will be a consequent up tick in number of deliveries).

Unfortunately instead of going out a 8-9am we are now going out a 10:30-11:15pm, which means a knock-on later finish (albeit less of a commute home). And at the moment with the nights drawing in every day it means delivering in the dark. To be fair delivering in the dark in urban or suburban areas of Warrington should be better in terms of finding the addresses because a) streetlights and b) numbered houses instead of named properties - if you ever do a delivery job the No.1 bane of your life is named houses. With a numbered property you can guess what's next door - generally two numbers or one number different. With named houses there is no way of guessing and the time wasted walking up the wrong driveways is significant.

That said, delivering in some areas of Warrington (I won't name them) does not look like it'll be particularly fun - or safe. And there are surprisingly large areas of estates with few roads, meaning walking around between blocks of flats and houses trying to work out the numbering. I'll either be getting fitter with all the walking or making it damn harder on my knees. I've been doing 12-14k steps this past week at work.

Working in the winter has its own issues including snow and ice as well as the dark, and whilst some of the areas don't look like they'll be great, from a driving perspective there are some advantages of Warrington over North Wales. Especially the road lighting and road conditions. Trying to turn in the road, or even just reverse down a country lane or driveway at some isolated farm, in the dark is an absolute nightmare in a van. You really could do with headlights at the back - and the risk of going onto grass in the wet or skidding on ice can be a scary proposition. It is not uncommon for drivers to end up stuck just off the road or fallen in a ditch. Costly and dangerous. I won't miss that fear.

All in all the change in delivery area from North Wales to Warrington is a mixed blessing and we'll see how it goes. I'll certainly miss some of the countryside, views and amazing properties I've been getting to. The photos (like #DailyDeliveryPhoto) I put on Twitter and Instagram certainly won't be the same. But I won't miss: the M56; the A55; tailbacks behind tractors/horses/cyclists; reversing down a hill a winding road when meeting traffic; flooding; mud or ice on a bendy road; isolated properties on one side of a valley or other; and, of course, named houses. Farewell, Wales.


Well, I appear to have fooked up my NaNoWriMo projects page (think I clicked on update an old project rather create a new one) and there's no sign of help getting it sorted yet. I've only written about 2800 words on it at this point, but part of the fun and inspiration in NaNo is updating and seeing the progress of the project each day. So without that I think I'm going to bin off doing NaNo this year.

Of course that doesn't mean that I have to stop work on the project. In fact it means I can now spend some time planning it making it easier to be better in the long term. I've also got the 2018 project to finish of course.

In short I've given NaNo the heave and will sort something out in its place. Maybe I should sort out some nice visuals too - would be nice to see a graph that isn't about Coronavirus, or votes in Pennsylvania.

In the meantime good luck to those of you doing NaNo this year.

History Lessons Indeed

Bit late in the day, four days into NaNoWriMo, but I have finally decided to jump in with both feet. On Monday I was having a think about it but hadn't done anything about it. Was in work yesterday and watching the footy yesterday evening (a fantastic 5-0 win for Liverpool at Atalanta).

Think I've clicked on the wrong thing trying to create my project and instead of creating a new one have modified 'Fergie Time' my project from 2016. Will see how I can fix that - if indeed I can.

I have done NaNo twice before: 2016 and 2018, with 'Fergie Time' and 'The Wobbly Odyssey.' Both were completed - as far as writing 50k words in the month. But they were completed in very different ways. The first one was planned pretty well and completed within a framework. This was relatively easy to do as the story was timed to take place over a set number of months, making it easy to split into bite size chunks. The follow up was much more random. I had tried to plan it, but it didn't work. I couldn't get it to flow within the framework. Once I took the brakes off and went full on
pantser I finally got going and things fell into place to allow the story to be told.

So although I've lost three days and done next to nothing in the way of planning I probably lost more days in 2018 due to getting stuck. This one is full on pantser so I can't get stuck in terms of writing against a plan - I just may get stuck due to writing myself into a corner or two. We shall see. I haven't got a proper name for the project but for now, for no good reason, it's titled 'History Lessons' - wish me luck.

Anyway, as of November 4th noon, I have no words on my project and and I guess 4,800 words behind. Better get to it then.