The Walkman came with instructions in 22 languages. Everything from Slovakian to Greek but they didn't help. Probably because I'm not the sort of person to read instructions. I just get stuck in.
Not surprisingly, I couldn't get it to record anything.
“Why don't you ask Ian,” my wife Maria said. “He's a scientist so he's bound to know.”
“Yes, but he's a Leeds United supporter. I'll end up with the Elland Road song book on the thing – We Are Leeds and the Ballad of Billy Bremner.” I'd rather let my arteries fur up.
I'm taking getting fit seriously. Not like my chum Ian.
“I sent for a rowing machine once but it arrived without oars. I sat and drifted for an hour every morning. I joined a fitness club and lost 43 pounds the first day. That was the joining fee. Then I tried the whisky diet: I lost three weeks. Finally I decided a simple fitness regime was best: up two three, down two three. Then the other eyelid.”
And yes, he's a Tommy Cooper fan.
He added a note of encouragement.
“My grandfather started walking five miles a day when he was 60. He's 93 now and we haven't clue where he is.”
I finally worked out how to work the Walkman and downloaded a talking book from Librivox. This is a website where all the books are free because they are ancient and out of copyright. And that's when I fell in love - with the voice of the reader of a very boring Victorian melodrama.
Many of the volunteer readers lack something. After all, they are not professionals. I almost gave up of finding a voice compatible to the subject matter after listening, on one site, to the opening lines of a classic set in Roman Britain read by a New York cab driver.
And then I discovered Cori Samuel. I know nothing about the lady but her voice is wonderful, her intonation perfect and her interpretation flawless.
So if anyone encounters me out walking and thinks I am a tad engrossed, it is because I am communing with Cori.
For goodness sake, don't tell the wife.