2014 has been a very significant year for me in many ways. Between a return to full-time education, mental health issues and the difficulty of finding employment as someone with Asperger’s Syndrome this is the first year since 1998 in which I have been in paid employment from beginning to end.
It is also the year in which I discovered twitter, first administrating @great_auction and subsequently launching an account of my own, @aspitweets which already after only just over two months has more than 1300 followers.
As a counterblast to the New Year Honours List I have produced a brief New Year Dishonours List. For the sake of balance,, and also by way of thanking the individuals concerned I have also produced a short list of people who have impacted positively on my life in recent times. Undoubtedly since I was attempting to be brief people have been missed from both lists!
I also have a few new pics from today, some of which I shall include below…
We are in a post Christmas cold snap. There has been nothing yet to approach the icebergs on the Great Ouse of half a century ago, but at 11:30AM today under a bright sun the lower Purfleet was frozen. Birds of various species have been enjoying the conditions in spite of the cold. “Cormorant Platform” where the Nar joins the Ouse had no fewer than nine visitors today.
I have two days worth of pics to share with you (got some good ones yesterday too)…
In this my last post before the festivities kick in I want to take a look at a quick overview of the Truth Campaign and our reasons for pursuing it.
It all began on April 14 2013, when Debbie Sayers and I wrote an open letter, to Esther McVey regarding her persistent misuse of facts and statistics, we sent this with over 800 signatures, including 4 MPs, a month later. On the back of this, we started our first petition (27/5/13) to the Work & Pensions Committee demanding they :Hold IDS to account for his use of statistics.
We eventually received a response from the DWP correspondence team to our letter, which failed to even acknowledge the questions we had asked, but she did reply to Michael Meacher and Tim Loughton MPs, who had supported our letter with the same reply.
By June 12 our first petition had hit the magic 100,000 signatures…
A quiet Christmas day at my aunt’s house yesterday. We went out at 4PM to watch the new light show that is being projected on to the Custom House. This one is entirely devoted to mechanical devices such as can be seen at Thursford, and is every bit as compelling as the original…
I have finished my final working day before Christmas. The highlights of the day were in the items I imaged for the January auction, some of which as the accompanying pictures demonstrate were very interesting.
A brief mention of the Strictly final, and Alastair Cook’s replacement as England ODI captain followed by some stuff about books and accompanied as usual by pictures.
Before moving on to the main theme of this post there a couple of other issues I wish to touch on first.
Strictly Come Dancing is over for another year. Caroline Flack and Pasha Kovalev won the vote (in the final, judges scores are given for guidance only, the outcomes resting solely on the public vote) as they jolly well should having clocked up perfect 40s from the judges in each of their last four routines, including all three in the final. Besides these four the only other perfect score of the series was achieved by Simon Webbe and Kristina Rihanoff in the last couple dance of the series. Frankie Bridge and Kevin Clifton with two 39s and a 38 were third best on the night.
The second item on my agenda that England have finally acted over the One Day International captaincy, replacing Alastair Cook with Eoin Morgan. Cook is a magnificent test match cricketer but in limited overs matches, especially on good batting pitches, he does not score quickly enough. Not only do I think a change had to be made, I am certain that the selectors have made the right decision about the new captain.
I have decided to write about something that is important to me but which I have not often covered in this blog: books. I am going to focus my attention on an old favourite and two new discoveries.
Starting with the old favourite, Edward Marston’s “Railway Detective” series dovetails neatly with two of my areas of interest, detective fiction and railways, and as such was a sure fire winner. Even so, i never cease to be impressed by just how good the stories are and just how much I enjoy reading them. I do not know how long a period the series will eventually cover, but it has already spanned most of the 1850s. 1863 would be a significant year in this context, because of the opening of the world’s first underground railway.
My second port of call is another fictional series, Laurie King’s remarkable Mary Russell/ Sherlock Holmes series. I was originally very sceptical because in the original Holmes stories he is very much not the marrying kind. However, in spite of the implausibility of Holmes marrying, the series works spectacularly well, and I would wholeheartedly recommend it to anyone.
Finally, moving away from detective fiction and indeed from fiction we have Clifford Pickover’s “The Zen of Magic Squares, Circles & Stars”. This provided me with reading material for three bus journeys (unusual for a book to occupy me that long) and is of more specialised interest than my other two mentions, but the patterns contained within it are fascinating.
I have some photos to share with you – one thign you will notice if you look at the front cover shots of the books – all are library books, and I am happy to pay a tribute to Norfolk Libraries for continuing to provide a good service in difficult circumstances.