A.J. Walker


So Many Varieties of Apple

Looking to replace my ageing laptop soon. I've had a long and happy relationship with my mid-2010
MacBook Pro, it cost a pretty penny back then (about £1k); but with it lasting eleven and half years means it's been a bargain at less than £1.70 a week. If my next computer can last ten years I'd be very, very happy – and amazed.

It's still working but crashes intermittently and has for some time now, which is time consuming – and makes me worry about when it will stop for good. Of course with it being so old it has had its systems updated regularly; it's currently up to macOS High Sierra and can't go beyond that. This means lots of current apps I use can't be updated anymore and may soon be useless (as companies stop supporting their old apps), and of course new apps won't run on this old system.

So it's been time to think about what to get to replace the Pro. I've been considering the new iMac which looks amazing. I had a couple of iMacs back in the day including the famous Blueberry one. Of course one of the things I would use it for is writing and I can't take a desk top about with me so I'd really need an iPad as well as a desk top.

Yes, those are the considerations which bring me back to a laptop. In terms of cost vs the iMac I could get an iMac Air and an iPad, but that'd be pointless – if you've got the Air you couldn't justify the need for an iPad. But I need more memory than the base version which makes it quite expensive and then when you consider the costs the 2020 MacBook Pro 13" (M1) looks a better buy. The bigger versions of the Pro (2021) look absolutely incredible but I can't justify the cost of those.

So I've basically gone round and round in circles and come back to getting a 512GB MacBook Pro (which is exactly what I have now). How was it so difficult to decide to replace an excellent MacBook Pro with a new MacBook Pro? I mean it is heavier and bulkier to travel around with than an iPad and all and maybe I'd rather have an iPad and an iMac but all things considered I can't justify that.

I'll probably end up not putting music on it which will free up loads of space but mean that I can't update my old iPod anymore; but after all when was the last time I used the iPod? It's sad but my phone and Spotify has made me say farewell to the old faithful, beautiful beast. I'll continue to use the computer for writing (using Scrivener), doing bits on the website (currently use Rapidweaver), and some YouTube vids.

A MacBook Pro it is then. I'll sort that out sometime in the coming weeks. In the meantime I hope this old friend isn't reading this and planning on committing a final spiteful act and crashing for good (I better back this up today…).



This week we had a house clearance company in to clear my parents old house. We’d spent a lot of time selling stuff and taking some things to charity as well as picking a few bits for the family: mainly paperwork and photographs. Originally the clearance was supposed to be on Saturday morning but the van had a major breakdown meaning it couldn’t be done until Wednesday evening after it had some major work done on it. I’d agreed to their 6-9pm estimate not thinking that meant they would be piling crockery into bins and breaking up old wardrobes and sawing bits and bats quite late into the evening. As it happened they arrived half an hour late and worked through until 10pm! Good job we’re not staying - the neighbours must have really enjoyed the racket.

I asked them to take the small sofa in the back room last so I had somewhere to sit for the three hours they were ploughing through the house. It was quite depressing hearing it all going on. They piled stuff up in the front garden so that they could decide how best to fill the van later on. I’d picked up a litre of cask Neptune beer from the Tap & Bottles which I enjoyed getting thru. But soon realised I should probably have picked up two litres.

I did a little video of my last walk through of the house before the company had arrived. It’s a big semidetached like a lot of the interwar ones are. It’s made for a family and I hope the family who have put in the offer for it enjoy many years there. The mortgage companies surveyor was in there on Friday. So assuming they are happy with things then it could move pretty quickly now it’s all but empty. Fingers crossed.

At least it’s something we wont need to go though again. And assuming I pop my clogs earlier than my sis there is probably just the three guitars and couple of amps to keep or sell on. And maybe not much more (but for lots of CDs and some books - how quaint these days).


Time and Times

Time and Times: A Farewell

Strange week. My sister and I have put my parent’s house up for sale. It’s been put off for a long time; mainly by the whole pandemic thing mashing our collective heads. It went on sale on Monday and there were viewings today and more programmed for the weekend. We have kind of half cleared the house but still need to get rid of some of the big furniture including the beds et al and all the silly stuff like cutlery and pots & pans (and whatever is in the shed). Will get a clearance company in to do that. Probably get a quote next week after this week of viewings come to an end.

It’s odd to think that today multiple strangers have been walking through
our old front door, through the living room and kitchen, our bedrooms and our garden (let’s not say anything about the bathroom) with a view to taking it on for their own family. It is a great house. A fabulous location. Made for a family. Neither of us could justify taking it on really. It needs a family there. It needs to become a home I guess. We may have grown up there (both of us went through our secondary school years - at least) there). Technically it may be our house, but I suppose it’s no longer our home; however difficult it is. And it is.

In the meantime lots of books & CDs and whatnot have been taken to charity shops. Furniture, ceramics, and pictures have been sold, or given away, whilst Bits & Bobs are retained by the family; largely photos and all sorts of written bits have been put in boxes. I know I’ve taken too many of the books myself, including those I had as a kid (and two bookcases). The books that were mine when I was growing up in particular were very much of their time and I loved them, but many are dated and not really worth putting in a shop - or even me rereading. It’s really hard throwing away things (and I’ve always struggled with discarding - or selling - books). Outside of the books thing it is strange what gets left behind us and what means something/what doesn’t - and worse: what has been forgotten - who is that in these photographs? Are they friends or relatives of my parents or our grandparents? Should we know, or can we find out, and does it not matter? God, it is a strain.

Anyway we are getting there. At some point in the coming weeks I guess we’ll get an offer and we’ll say 'yes' perhaps and we’ll have to get a clearance guy in to sort out the detritus. Jeez. Deep breath. Relax.

So Many Things

My sister and myself have finally got around to trying to clear my parents old house: our own family home we grew up in. It should have been done many months ago but this horrendous Covid year seems to have took the winds from our sails for it. But we are where we are and we are slowly getting stuff to do.

Of course it is an horrendous thing to have to do. The time it takes to look through everything. The time that stops you progressing anything - looking through old photos and documents both brings back old memories and highlights things that we really don’t know. I mean who is it in this photo? Where is this? Is this a relation or a friend or anything to do with us at all.

Thankfully back in the days before Smartphones and Digital Cameras photos were rarer and were often treated with care. The handwritten notes on the back of many of the tiny black & white photos are priceless. There will be so much to got through at some time. I’m thinking we need to box up all the photos and documents and go through them in detail at some later time: AND get scanning.

As well as the documents there are the possessions from massive tables and chairs, sofas and beds, to porcelain services, glasses, paintings, and even a grandfather clock and all the general bits required for life from cutlery and cooking gear to TVs and computers. There is a lot isn’t there? It’s time consuming and you question yourself about every little thing that you look at binning. It’s a brutal nightmare. I guess most people go through it at one point in their life and I envy not one of them.


The saddest thing this weekend was saying goodbye to my dad’s old Chesterfield chair. I think it has found a good home. I certainly hope it has. But the space it has left in the house seems to shout at us now.

Anyway it is onwards and upwards getting the other stuff out of the house - one way or another - and then doing whatever we end up doing with the house.


Not going to put the gubbins of my plans here but here are the very broad outlines. Needless to say there's a lot to do.

This year’s plans to include:

  • Writing
    • Finish story for anthology I’m working on
    • Finish at least first draft of one novel length book
    • Start another novel or novella
    • Keep an eye out for other submission options
    • Aim: get Published a minimum of FOUR times (eek!)
    • Write for local website
    • Keep my website and blog up to date
  • Work changes
    • Look for other work opportunities
    • Consider re-training if appropriate
  • Guitar
    • Fix the Takamine
    • Continue with Sanctuary Open Mic
    • Expand repertoire
    • Write own songs
    • Take some lessons to identify best way forward to improve - esp. strumming
  • Reading
    • Same as last year a minimum of 40 books (tracked on GoodReads)
  • Food & Fitness
    • Eat better (more cooking/fewer take outs)
    • Run and/or walk
    • Consider other options eg cycling
  • Activities
    • More gigs than last year (shouldn’t be difficult) to include at least one festival
    • Walking (I’ll put it here as well as the food/fitness as it’s for photo/story opps too
  • House
    • Needs a lot of work chucking and some repair/maintenance
    • Basically turning it from A house to my HOME.
    • Lot's more (and similar) shelving for all me books (and CDs)
    • Priority is to turn spare room into an office/music room.
      • Would clear things from downstairs, whilst being a better environment for writing and strumming the geetar.
  • Transport
    • Need to consider a lot here too. Re: car/bike/motorbike et al.

All in all a lot to consider and move on.

Some of these, including the food/fitness, guitar and writing may well result in a weekly update on my blog (a fine reason to keep the website ticking over whilst also acting as a prod to do better at some things).

Next thing is to firm up some/all of these and more importantly act on them. Eek!


Planning on Planning

The last few months - and longer - have been difficult one way or another. And I have not bothered with New Year's Resolutions. Then again, there shouldn't be a time for resolutions. If you decide you need to do something don't wait til January 1st to get it into motion. Anyway, it's the well into the second half of January and I ain't doing resolutions, but I am doing planning. In that I am planning on planning with respect to all sorts including; work, writing, reading, guitar, and fitness.

Will put some of the planning up here and then track progress as the year goes on.

But now I've got to get some of these plans down. Catch yer later…