A.J. Walker


The Keys & Future Moths

This week's Mid Week Flash (188) is up and had this photo of two beautiful ornate keys. As ever not sure where my story came from but it came anyway - check it out here. And if you want to read others, or have a go yourself, then take yourself over to Miranda's website.


Now I just need to get on and finish the story I started from last week's prompt (below). Maybe later…


To You, To Me, Two YouTube

Got busy with it for a bit yesterday and managed to record myself reading a poem I'd written around nine years ago, and then followed it up with a bit of singing. Two vids for the price of one. Who'd have thunk it?

ReadMeSpeakMe is still on a holiday so it was back to reading a poem of my own again after last week's effort, 'Schrodinger's Poem'. It was serendipitous this week as I found the poem printed out in a notebook I was contemplating throwing out. Even more serendipitous the poem was called 'Serenity'. Spooky, hey! It's a lovely word, serenity, but the poem is the story of a growling drunk angry at the world and quite looking forward to death. So not so lovely at all.

Serenity Pic1
Click on the pic to discover how unserene

The vid starts with a brief mention of Neptune Brewery, my favourite local brewery, as I had a few of their cans yesterday in a quite rare event of drinking more than two beers at home. It's funny but while some people have been driven to drink, during these long lockdown months, I've been driven away from it. I'm drinking less than I do when normalcy reigns as I find drinking a social thing. Even if I'm by myself with a book in a pub it is social: you're getting served by someone, chatting to them, and you're drinking in the company (or at least vicinity) of others. Often you end up chatting to people you know and/or complete strangers. Drinking in pubs is a social thing in a group or not. Drinking at home is not a social thing. Most days if I open a bottle of beer at home I rarely get around to opening another - and sometimes I don't even finish the one I've opened. Drinking at home doesn't grab me, which I take as a good thing (and is why I won't buy wine, because if I open a bottle of wine it is going down like the fruit juice it is - you're asking for trouble with that stuff). Anyway I ended up over a period of over five hours drinking five whole beers! The insanity (you can get thrown out of pubs for drinking that slowly). Had five different beers, but my favourite was 'Turbulence'; get your tasting tackle around that stuff.

The Neptune Three

So there is the beer and there was the poem. All very serene. There was also a quick strum, which only came about because of yesterday's
VSS365. The prompt word was load, and for some reason it made me think of the Eagles song 'Take It Easy' - and trying to loosen your load when there's seven women on your mind (good luck with that one!). I wrote the VSS365 and got a couple of comments from people who seemed to think it may be me with seven women on me mind; rather than a classic song lyric. It made me post a link to the original song on Twitter and further than that; me to have a wee strum.

Take It Easy Pic1
Click on the pic to Take It Easy.

This brought out the guitar I was given by Sue, which was my mate Ken's lovely Tanglewood. He only passed away last month and in some ways it already seems ages ago. It is so lovely to have such a gift from Ken's long time partner. To think he sat in his room learning songs on it, and now I am. I'd never played the song before, and it shows, but I will add it to my practice to maybe get onto an Open Mic repertoire at some point. We shall see.

So that was Sunday. A two video, five beers kinda day. Cheers.

Where Is House When I Need Him?

After years of not going to the doctors and only suffering from the odd episode of gout in one or other of my knees (treated with ibuprofen and time - it is a strange disease in itself) I find myself going to the GP again.

Before Xmas I had the whole numb on one side of the face thing, followed between Xmas and NY by visual issues. Putting the two together the GP told me to go to A&E as it sounded like I needed an MRI to look into it. At A&E they decided the numb face thing was shingles and the visual issues were down to Labyrinthitus (though they saw no evidence of that, and there was also no pain or rash associated with the ‘shingles’).

Since then the numbness of the face disappeared and the visual issues cleared up too. I went to an ophthalmologist department and they told me my eyes were alright though they weren’t sure what had caused the issue in the first place. Both the ophthalmologist and later two of the GPS discounted the Labyrinthitus diagnosis.

I was better. But I was put in for an MRI to box things off and see if there were any reasons there that they could identify that would cause the strange no pain/no rash/no other damn symptom issues. The date for the MRI could not be given, but it was thought it could be in the order or six weeks or so.

So in the meantime I was okay and back at work. No problem.

Then last week came along with a new sideswipe and yet again ‘unusual’ symptoms. Basically numbness was the main symptom, but instead of it affecting half my head it inflicted me from the waist down. Pretty weird and maybe a bit scary - I mean if it was numb one day what would it be the next day, or the day after that?

Got through to the doctors eventually and the receptionist told me to call an ambulance. I thought that sounded a bit OTT and couldn’t work out quite why. But on reflection, at the time I was worried the odd symptom was maybe a side effect of the
Amlopidine they have me on for elevated blood pressure, I may well have said something along then lines of ‘I can’t feel my legs and I think it’s the drugs I am on.’ So maybe she thought I was a druggy in the process of ODing. You’d think they would be used to people referring to pharmaceuticals as drugs in a doctor’s surgery? Maybe she should have asked me to verify what I had taken. Lol.

In the end she talked it down to getting the GP to give me ‘
an emergency call.’ Three hours later the call came through and I was told to come in. Chatting about the issue and then testing if I could feel the difference on my legs between cotton wool and being stabbed ensued (I think I could). The doc concurred that the issue was highly unusual, and that it wasn’t my due to greedy drug habit. He said he’d call the 'neurological helpline'. Unfortunately the helpline operates between the hours of 11 and 1pm. So it would have to wait until the next day.

I walked from the surgery to the chemist to pick up my Amlopidine; which I’d put off getting until I knew whether that was the issue.

Walking is weird. My legs at the moment (and long may it continue) are working fine to a point. The weirdest thing is as there is numbness for the full length of my legs and pins & needles in both feet, wherever I walk and however long I don’t feel it properly. The closest description I can think of is that it feels like I’m walking on a continuous row of mattresses. Which may sound nice, but it really isn’t.

The GP left a message for me on Friday. He had spoken to the neurologist and he had concluded that the symptoms were ‘unusual’. That at least seems unanimous. He would check on what was happening with any MRI appointment - and I hope chivvy it along. I guess the MRI now be extended to look along my spine (I have no pain anywhere still) - as well as the head for the Xmas time issues.

It is weird having an issue which involves no pain or other issues. Normally if you are off sick it’s awful because of all that extra time to yourself you can’t use because you can’t face reading or watching TV - because of a headache or other issue. And certainly you wouldn’t be able to play an instrument or write or whatever. But other than moving around or bathroom issues -
I'll leave that there - I feel fine in myself in the main.

Today is Monday and there has been no obvious change one way or the other - maybe a little more discomfort to the right leg but I'm not sure. I still have numbness from the waist down and pins & needles in the feet - and the gods continue to throw mattresses in front of wherever I want to go. Tomorrow I am going in for blood tests (I think just B12 related). I had bloods taken between Xmas & New Year and everything came back okay - apart from elevated cholesterol - I don’t expect the bloods to be the answer. But then again I had thought that it was ‘
obviously the drug I was on’ and it wasn’t.

So it’s bloods Tuesday then MRI... when?

House 1
The prognosis is what!?

I’m beginning to feel like I’m in an episode of House and I'm expecting to be tested and prodded by multiple strangers in whites until House arrives on the scene and has to guess Lupus (it’s never Lupus) before some interesting and obscure cause is identified. My GP has already asked me about any poisonous or hazardous materials I may come into contact with at work - I could only think of Pringles. Fingers crossed the symptoms like the Xmas ones just disappears or they can identify it and treat it. Well, either way I'd like to know the cause. The not knowing is not good at all.

It reminds me of back in the 1990s I went into a isolation ward in Fazakerley hospital. I was quite seriously ill after returning from Nigeria. The most obvious symptom being my tongue swelling to fill my entire mouth so I hadn't eaten for days and found even drinking a great difficulty. Anyway after a few days my body returned to normal and they let me go. I left with the doctors never having identified what I had. I wonder if the same thing will happen again (although this time we’re all ostensibly in isolation)?


#ReadMeSpeakMe is on a break at the moment. The first week off I didn't do anything although I did consider doing one of my own. So when the second week came I couldn't not do it. I've only got a few poems on here, but I picked one of them and did it. This week then Read Me Speak Me is really reading ME the poem by me, not just me the poem. Or something like that.

Schrodinger's Poem is a fun poem about the best poem ever written, which also happened to be by me: if I've remembered right. Then again if the box containing it is opened maybe, just maybe, it'll just be my misplaced shopping list with beers and cheeses on it. We'll never know now as I seem to have misplaced the box. Typical.

Schrodingers Poem
Click on here and be transported to not the best poem, but to 'Schrodinger's Poem' a poem about the best poem.

Haven't written any poems for a while - hey it's hard when you've already created the best poem ever, everything else is a disappointment. But maybe I'll get the poetry pencil out again.

Horses and Poems

Well it's Thursday which means that a new photo prompt for Miranda's Mid Week Flash has gone up. It's the lovely image below. Click on the photo to check it out… Haven't got to it myself yet, but I definitely will do. I've done the last four consecutive weeks for the first time in a long time (Weeks 182-185).

Mid Week Flash Prompt, Week 186

I eventually wrote one for last week - on Sunday. I found it a tough one to write for again. I can't put my finger on why. Needless to say I ended up writing too much… and have only just edited it to get it down to the maximum of 750 words. It's called '
Recycling: New Gods and Old Ways': click here to check it out. Hope to get this week's up quicker this time. Love that photo of the Milky Way!

Recycled gods
Mid Week Flash Prompt, Week 185

There was no
#ReadMeSpeakMe this week. So I'm actually considering reading one of my poems out to fill the gap. Haven't written poetry for a long while so it'll be an oldie, but not necessarily a goldie. May do one from the tiny section on here, then again I may surprise you (and me). Anyways, watch this space.

This Year's Reading

Been a strange start to the second year of reading under Covid. As last year it has been a very slow start. I've aimed for 42 this year for some reason (I always aim for 40). So with the additional couple of books it was inevitable that for the first month I only finished ONE book in January ('Believe Us' by Melissa Reddy). I've finished another since ('Helliconia Spring' by Brian Aldiss) and I'm currently getting on with two others now, which I should get through quite quickly. They are both great books.

Believe Us Helliconia

And yes, I do read two books sometimes at the same time. But not two novels. One novel and one non-fiction is fine or two non-fiction, but never two novels - that'd just be weird, and asking for trouble.

My current reads are '
The Writer's Map: An Atlas of Imaginary Lands' by Huw Lewis-Jones, which is a stunningly beautiful book on lovely thick paper. I've always loved maps, both real and imaginary. It really sends me back to so many books I read both as a kid and more recently. The other book I'm reading is 'Other Minds: The Octopus, the Sea, and the Deep Origins of Consciousness' by Peter Godfrey-Smith. As a coincidence both titles include colons and both are authored with double barrelled surnames: spooky.

Writers Map Other Minds

Writer's Maps is hardback, pretty large and heavy and not really made to be read in bed, which is where the Octopus comes in - it's on my Paperwhite, so is much better for reading before sleep. It would be a waste to read Writer's Maps on a Kindle too because of the lovely images of all the maps.

So while I've got off to a slow start I'm really enjoying my reading. May come up with a plan of reads for the year. I never stick to them usually, but because second hand books are less of a possibility these days then this year (or at least the start of) planning may actually be an option; usually I'm constantly buying second hand books from charity shops. But not leaving the house this ain't happening for a while yet.

A Short Story with Giants

As per last week's post I do aim to put at least a couple of old flash stories up here every week for a few months, to give an old story a new home - and who knows maybe a new lease of life. I well remember writing this story which I enjoyed very much. This one along with several other other I wrote about this time deals with fairy tale creatures in this case giants. I've several others, either from traditional folk stories or made up entirely. It has been a long while since I've written mythical/folk stories. I don't think it will be that long until I do so again.

The story is called '
An Ocean Apart (the Giant's Lament)', which is at the upper word count range for most my flash pieces - at a bit over 700 words. Like the previously posted oldie 'Dogs and Lust' it was written for a Mid Week Blues Buster challenge (hosted by Jeff Tsuruoka). The MWBB challenges stopped back in 2016. This story is from August 2013.