A.J. Walker


Rather Random Target

Over the last few weeks I've been off work. Work is a very intensive day and involves lots of walking, some stairs, some panicking and a lot of thinking 'how the hell can I find another job'. So not being in work makes it dangerously easy to stop the exercise inadvertently.

With the issues with my health at the moment being a little unknown I'v set myself the rather random target of
8000 steps per day. It's lower than the arbitrary 10k steps cited by multitudes of people. Of course those targets are as made up and pretty useless as the 5-a-day nonsense. Basically you know if you are doing enough each day or you're just pushing the sofa indentation to its limits, just like you know if you've only eaten crap all day. So I am happy with my current unscientific Rather Random Target.

Canada Goose WHP
The Canadian Geese like Walton Hall Park too

Over the last twelve days I've achieved this each and every day. In fact my average daily steps are over this time has been 11k steps - which in old money equates to about 5 miles a day. I've been lucky with the weather in this time. There's not been any days with incessant rain, and some days have been lovely. Taken to walking to Walton Hall Park, where I used to do my 5k jogging practice, which is my nearest at about a mile away. If I do just one lap of the park my walk to and from the park is longer than the walk in it. But if I feel like it I can do a couple of circuits, which gets the numbers up whilst giving me nice vistas of trees, and water and the sound of birds - which has got to be better than walking around housing and industrial estates - for the head if nothing else.

Back in the day when I used to do the 5km Park Runs and whatnot I started using
Runkeeper. I've gone back to this now. Handily, whilst it's called Runkeeper it is great for any activity which may involve you moving from A to B - including walking. It's great to keep track of the bigger activities with it mapping out where you went and giving you your time and splits etc. Could help some people with motivation but in this instance it is just a recording tool really (which makes nice maps). On top of that for the entire day record my £40 smartwatch shows me what my total daily steps are too.


I've also been going to the B&M and Iceland around the corner on foot. It's a round trip of a mile and in the past I'd (sadly) have driven it rather than walk it. Though I'd have put off going until I need a few things. Now I'm happy to walk all the way to B&M for a loaf of bread, just to keep the legs going and get the fresh air (that said I can also pick up bottles of Oakham 'Citra' or Wickwar 'Platform 6.1' too).

Spring has sprung in Liverpool

Podcasts have accompanied many of my walks, though my last couple I've gone without the headphones. Though with my flyway hair yesterday it was worth putting the headphones on just to control my hair a little; I was seriously considering
Brylcream or gel yesterday - God, I can't wait for the barbers to reopen. Thankfully it IS only three weeks until they can return. Hallelujah!

Flyaway hair aka Pandemic Hair - one side effect of lockdown

Anyway. May my 5+miles per day continue. It will be interesting to see if I can force myself to do it in the rain. Though I suspect I may just wear a hole in the carpet walking up and down. In the meantime feel free to use my RRT if you think it'll be more useful to you than that 10k nonsense.

Strolling Podcasting

Whilst I've had a few weeks off I've had to keep up with keeping some level of fitness up - especially in my legs. To that end I've made sure I've been getting 8000 steps+ a day into them for the last week. Last week I was doing 5000 a day on average. This week I've been up beyond 10000, which I'm happy with.

I've a little circular walk around mine along Long Lane and back down Lower Lane. It works out around 4.7km, which is a nice (almost) round number. It's not the prettiest route, but it's straight out of the house without any travel required. I've done it three times now and will no doubt be doing it quite a few times more. The time is not important, it is not a race.

There's not to much photogenic on the Long Lane Circuit.

But I'll try and take some shot when I can.

Whilst it is not a pretty walk the location straight out the door and the distance is spot on. And best of all it has been great for getting back to podcasts. When I was working in Wales I'd listen to a podcast or two with the commute time on the way there and back. I've been working more locally lately with no time for any podcasts. These fifty minute walks have got me back on my old favourite podcasts. It's been great to catch up with some of the New York Times Book Review Podcast. If you like books and intelligent discussion about all types of them then I can do nought but thoroughly recommend it.


I've got loads of the NYT Book Reviews to dip into as and when. And I'm looking forward to listening to more Curious Cases of Rutherford & Fry and Something Rhymes with Purple. The fifty minutes of walking will be good for my legs and good for my head.


I removed the Podcasts page on the website the other day. It basically wasn’t anything I had time to keep live and relevant and was a waste of menu and page. A shame but time is limIted, ain’t it?

It had comments and links to some of my favourite podcasts like ‘13 Minutes to the Moon’, ‘Sodajerker’ and ‘NYT The Book Review’. These are still very much in my regular listening - apart from 13 Minutes to the Moon once I finished it.

The podcasts I regularly listen to and/or recommend anyway, are:

  • The Book Review (New York Times) - weekly discussion on books.
  • The Infinite Monkey Cage - science programme from Brian Cox & Robin Ince and guests
  • The Curious Cases of Rutherford & Fry - another great science programme from Adam Rutherford and Hannah Fry 
  • Sodajerker - interviews and discussions with songwriters 
  • That Peter Crouch Podcast - funny look at footy, footballers lives and all sorts of shit (with occasional swearing)  
  • The Football Daily - as it says on the tin. From Radio5
  • 13 Minutes to the Moon - awesome documentary on the first manned moon landing.
  • Tunnel 29 - documentary on a tunnel beneath the Berlin Wall
  • The Art of Process - with Aimee Mann - discussions with arty peeps about how they work
  • Blank - gentle discussions with creatives
  • No Such Thing As A Fish - chat with fun ‘facts’ from the QI crew. Always fun
  • Forest 404 - nice story with a great vibe
  • The Archers Omnibus - hey it’s the Archers!

And this week I’ve discovered a new one to me, which has been going a long time (over sixty episodes to catch up on), called:
Something Rhymes With Purple - presented by Gyles Brandreth and Susie Dent. All about word origins. 

All in all there’s a lot of listening there for when you’re out and about. Or travelling. Maybe even commuting... it is coming back isn’t it?

Podcasts and Web Formatting

Created a page on Podcasts a few weeks ago and put up four of the podcasts that I currently listen to, namely;

  • Sodajerker
  • 13 Minutes to the Moon
  • New York Times - The Book Review
  • Blank

During the week I realised that whilst my blog was displaying fine on a mobile the Podcast and Publications page was not displaying correctly (they were all fine on the desktop). I've ended up having to double up what's in my website creator (Rapidweaver) then hide/display the relevant pages. Bit of a pain, but not the end of the world. It has however meant I haven't had time to update my blog (or the podcast page) whilst I dealt with it. Anyway, I'm getting there now.

I've taken the opportunity to update the Publications page with the link to the upcoming 'Don't Open the Door' anthology, which is due out on the 26th July.


It's been a good week for podcast listening. Yesterday I listened to a couple of the Art of Process pods, produced by Aimee Mann and Ted Leo. Incidentally I have been a fan of Aimee Mann from the 1990s onwards. The album 'Whatever' (1993) is a wonderful listen and if you ain't got it then you must get on it. I was lucky enough to see her a few times in Manchester.

ArtofProcess Whatever

I can thoroughly recommend the Art of Process to any of you creative types. As the name implies it is about processes people use for the creation of their arts, be it writers, songwriters, comedians etc. The podcasts are around an hour long and involve discussions with successful artists. The two I listened to this week were Ian MacKaye (Fugazis) and Jean Grae (a multi talented hip hop, actress, comedienne etc). Whilst I knew little about the former I knew nothing about the latter. But both were fascinating podcasts and a great listen.


The Blank podcasts fit well with the Art ones with conversations with artists (very much UK, whilst the AoP one is US) about periods that they may have suffered to get through, their Blank times. Sometimes in these podcasts there isn't actually that much about the blank times to be fair, and they can be just as much about their processes. Yesterday's pod was with the lovely comedienne Rachel Parris, of Daily Mash fame, who is most personable during her chinwag with the genial hosts. Equally recommended.

Of course earlier in the week my Podcasts included the unmissable 13 Minutes to the Moon and The New York Times Book Review. And needless to say my weekly Archers catch up (poor Jim).


I used to be a big user of podcasts but haven't been for a while due to technology issues (my iPod not talking with the Ford stereo for some reason). In recent weeks though I have returned to them using my phone (a Redmi6) and the PodBean app which the stereo seems to be happy with.

To that end I've returned to a few of my favourite Podcasts including:

  • 'A Good Read' (BBC4)
  • 'The Book Review' (New York Times)
  • 'Clarkesworld'
  • 'That Peter Crouch Podcast' and
  • Ok, and the Archers Omnibus (BBC4)

It's been great to get back to these, but best of all I've discovered a new one to me called 'Sodajerker... on Song Writing,' which comprises a couple of guys (local lads too - a happy coincidence) in interviews or, what feels more like relaxed conversation, with an enormous range of songwriters about their art and process. I've only listened to two so far - the recent one from Dido and an older one from Elvis Costello. They were both bloody excellent.

If all the others are half as good as these - and I've no reason to think they won't be - then I've found something wonderful and I am sure that anyone who is interested in music will find an episode (or 138) to enjoy. Yes, 138, it's been going since 2011. How the hell have I missed this for all that time? The thing that caught my eye whilst i was looking at Podbean in this instance was the name - as Soda Jerk is a song from one of my fave bands - the wonderful Buffalo Tom. So whilst I've found it by happy accident in some ways (because of the name), equally surely I could have spotted it exactly the same way earlier. Anyhoo, the main thing is I've found it now and I've got 136 episodes to plough through. Happy days!


Next up for me will be a couple more locals with the conversations with Paul McCartney and The Coral. There's also Adam Duritz, Mike Scott, Loudon Wainwright III and Paul Simon... like I say a wealth of material to go through.

So in case you haven't found them yet, and you don't know Buffalo Tom so miss my attraction to it, if you've got a musical bone in your body; just get on it, folks. You won't be disappointed. Click on the picture above to go to the website or look them up on iTunes or with your podcast app of choice.