All Time XIs – Sri Lanka

Our ‘all time XI’ exploration takes in Sri Lanka, and more on the Cummings/ Johnson scandal that broke over the weekend and has been getting worse.

INTRODUCTION

Today being a Monday it is time for our ‘all time XI’ cricket themed series to look at an international set up. Today it is Sri Lanka in the spotlight.

SRI LANKA IN MY TIME

  1. Sanath Jayasuriya – left handed opening batter, left arm orthodox spin bowler. At his best he was absolutely magnificent – in a recent post I covered his 213 at The Oval in 1998, and he was the player of the 1996 World Cup.
  2. Marvan Atapattu – right handed opening batter. A test average of under 40 raises an instant question, but the explanation is that his test career consisted of three installments. After the first two of those he had played 14 innings at the highest level and amassed 108 runs at 7.71. The third and main installment of his test career yielded 5394 runs at 42.47, including five double centuries.
  3. Mahela Jayawardene – right handed batter. He holds the record test score for a Sri Lanakn, and the record test score for any right handed batter – 374 versus South Africa. He has numerous other huge scores to his credit.
  4. Kumar Sangakkara – right handed batter, wicket keeper. One of the greatest ever in his role, and he and Jayawardene shared a number of fine partnerships, including 624 against South Africa, a first class record for any wicket.
  5. Aravinda De Silva – right handed batter, occasional off spinner. His highest test score was 267. He demonstrated his flair for the big occasion in the 1996 World Cup when he scored an amazing 66 to rescue Sri Lanka in the semi-final, and then in the final he made undefeated century as Sri Lanka comfortably beat Australia in spite of losing both openers cheaply.
  6. *Arjuna Ranatunga – left handed batter, captain. There are quite a few whose batting records appear to give them a superior claim to this place but I rate his captaincy so high that I am prepared to lose a few runs an innings an exchange for it.
  7. Angelo Matthews – right handed batter, occasional right arm medium pacer. His bowling record does not really qualify him as an all rounder, but his batting record is good enough tat I am prepared to compromise.
  8. Chaminda Vaas – left arm fast medium bowler, useful left handed lower order batter. The list of Sri Lankan pace bowlers with really good records is a short one, and this man is the best such they have ever had.
  9. Rangana Herath – left arm orthodox spinner. His country’s all time second leading test wicket taker.
  10. Muttiah Muralitharan – off spinner. The only bowler to have taken 800 test wickets, claimed at an average rate of six wickets per game. First name on the team sheet.
  11. Lasith Malinga – right arm fast bowler. ‘Malinga the slinger’, possessor of the lowest bowling arm in 21st century cricket. He is the fastest his country has ever produced, and is especially well suited to being Vaas’ new ball partner (sorry, Chaminda, you’re going into the wind).

This team has a splendid top seven, including one of the greatest of all keeper batters and a master of the art of captaincy, and four superbly varied bowlers.

COMPLETING THE ALL TIME XI

There are plenty of honourable mentions to come, but the only player from before my time as a cricket fan to get in is Mahadevan Sathasivam, a man whose brief first class career saw him average 41, and who is regarded as one of the finest batters his country ever produced. He displaces Marvan Atapattu, giving a Sri Lanka all-time order of Jayasuriya, Sathasivam, Jayawardene, +Sangakkara, De Silva, *Ranatunga, Mathews, Vaas, Herath, Muralitharan, Malinga.

HONOURABLE MENTIONS

I shall work through these in sequence, starting with:

  • Opening batters – Chamari Atapattu played the finest innings I have personally ever witnessed from a Sri Lankan, her 178 not out vs Australia being a Bannermanesque proportion of her team’s score. Sadly however it has to be considered a flash in the pan – her overall record is only moderate. Among other opening batters Tillakaratne Dilshan came close while Michael Vandort, Upul Tharanga, Roshan Mahanama, Brendan Kuruppu and Sidath Wettimuny all had moments in the sun without establishing really good records.
  • Middle order batters – historically a strong area for Sri Lanka, with Hashan Tillakaratne, Russel Arnold and Thilan Samaraweera all had records that put them on the cusp of inclusion. Duleep Mendis, the first Sri Lankan to hit twin tons in a test match, was a rival to Ranatunga for the captain’s berth. Roy Dias, scorer of the first two ODI hundreds by a Sri Lankan, did not quite have the overall record to be a genuine challenger. Also acknowledgements are due to two guys who had decent records in the County Championship long before their country was considered for top table international status – Clive Inman and Laddie Outschoorn.
  • Spin bowling options: There were not many to merit consideration, but I regretted the absence of a leg spinner. However, the only such to come close to meriting inclusion was Upul Chandana whose record definitely falls short. Don Anurasiri bowled a hugely long spell at Lord’s in 1991, but the wickets column told its own sad story about that effort.
  • Pace bowling options – Sri Lanka have never been spoilt for choice in this department, and other than my chosen duo Nuwan Zoysa and Dilhara Fernando were the only two to merit serious consideration. Rumesh Ratnayake had talent but hus overall record ended up being pretty modest, and Ravi Ratnayeke also fell short. Graeme Labrooy showed promise at one time but again his record does not stack up.
  • Wicket keepers – the presence of Sangakkara overshadowed all other potential claimants to the gauntlets.

AFTERWORD

Our cricketing tour of the island that under one of its previous names, Serendib or Serendip (from the Voyages of Sindbad The Sailor in “The Thousand and One Nights”), gave us the word serendipity is at an end. There was an embarrassment of batting riches, but not a lot of competition for bowling slots. Nevertheless I think our team would give a good account of itself.

CUMMINGS, JOHNSON
AND PHOTOGRAPHS

Since I wrote a bit about the Cummings scandal yesterday things have moved on. The number of Tory MPs to have publicly spoken out against Cummings now numbers at least twenty, and is still increasing as the people concerned check their inboxes and realize just how badly Johnson and Cummings misjudged the public mood. Johnson appeared for a press briefing yesterday and was arrogant, out of touch, off hand and lazy in his conduct of it – his ‘effort’ was the equivalent of showing up for a fire fighting assignment with several barrels of petrol and flinging the contents onto the flames. Apparently Cummings will be putting in a public appearance today, but he can say nothing to save himself – his least bad option would be a brief statement confirming that his political career is over and finally, belatedly admitting his guilt. I also believe that yesterday’s performance rendered Johnson’s position untenable – it is very hard to see how he could possibly have believed that it would be considered acceptable. Not only is Mr Johnson unfit for the office he holds, as far as I am concerned he has brought that office into gross disrepute and he too should publicly abandon his political career, standing down not just as PM but as MP, and publicly confirming that he will not take a seat in the House of Lords. I used Write to Them to contact my own MP, former Johnson advisor James Wild, and my letter can be seen below, as the start of my usual sign off…

JW

Just one of many such letters that MPs will have been receiving today.

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CS
This tweet was deleted 20 minutes after being posted, but screenshots ensure that it will be seen by more than had no attempt been made at track covering.

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Sri Lanka
With ten of the team from my life time in the all time team it did not seem worth copying their details across.

All Time XIs – Four Fast Bowlers v Balanced

A team with an attack of four fast bowlers is pitted against a fully balanced team. Also a solution to yesterday’s teaser and a link to an autism related thread, and of course some photographs.

INTRODUCTION

Welcome to my latest variation on an ‘all time XI‘ cricket theme. Today’s post owes its genesis to three twitter correspondents who raised valid points in response to yesterday’s piece. Rather than change yesterday’s XIs I have decided to acknowledge the validity of the comments by selecting two teams that enable to me to devote coverage to the issues raised.

THE FOUR FAST BOWLERS XI

When I covered the West Indies I named an attack of four fast bowlers in the West Indies team from my lifetime, as a tribute to the great West Indies teams of my childhood, which were based precisely on that type of attack. I now name an all-time team with the same type of bowling attack.

  1. Barry Richards – right handed opening batter, named by Don Bradman in his all-time XI (see “Bradman’s Best” by Roland Perry). The four tests that he played before South Africa’s enforced isolation (four more than any of his non-white compatriots in the period concerned save for Basil D’Oliveira, who managed to get to England) yielded him 508 runs at 72.57, with two centuries. He was subsequently one of the stars of Kerry Packer’s World Series Cricket.
  2. Herbert Sutcliffe – right handed opening batter. Statistically the most successful opener among those to have played 20 or more tests, with 4,555 runs at 60.73 at that level, including 2,741 at 66.85 in Ashes cricket. This upward progression of averages as the cricket he played got tougher bore out his famous response to being congratulated by Pelham Warner on a good rearguard action: “Ah, Mr Warner, I love a dogfight.”
  3. George Headley – right handed batter. Averaged 60.83 in test cricket, converting 10 of his 15 fifty-plus scores at that level into hundreds. I decided that to give either side Don Bradman would give them too big an edge, so he is not present today – instead we have ;the black Bradman’.
  4. Graeme Pollock – left handed batter. Averaged 60.97 at test level, a figure exceeded among thos to have played 20+ games only by Don Bradman and Adam Voges, the latter of whom was lucky in his opponents – his sole Ashes series was a poor one. A twitter correspondent yesterday suggested that he should have been in my non-county XI, and very constructively suggested I drop George Giffen to make way for him. I acknowledge the validity of the comments by naming him here.
  5. *Clive Lloyd – left handed batter and captain. 7,515 test runs, a century in the first men’s world cup final in 1975. He was the man behind the West Indies ‘four fast bowlers’ strategy that propelled them to the top of the cricket world and kept them there for a long time. As such there could be no better captain for an ‘all time’ squad whose chief feature is an attack of four fast bowlers. A twitter correspondent suggested that I could have found a place for him in yesterday’s best overseas county player team, again a perfectly valid suggestion, and I hope his presence here in the role he played so successfully IRL will be taken as a suitable acknowledgement.
  6. Steve Waugh – right handed batter. Probably the finest ever to be a regular no 6. He played 168 test matches, and in spite of not reaching three figures until the 27th of those he ended up with a batting average of over 50. His twin tons at Old Trafford in conditions with which none of the 21 other batters in that match came to terms were a particularly outstanding example of his toughness and determination.
  7. +Adam Gilchrist – left handed batter, wicket keeper. Statistically the greatest keeper batter ever to play test cricket.
  8. Wasim Akram – left arm fast bowler, left handed lower middle order batter. His record speaks for itself.
  9. Malcolm Marshall – right arm fast bowler, right handed lower middle order batter. Probably the greatest fast bowler of the golden age of West Indies fast bowling.
  10. Curtly Ambrose – right arm fast bowler. The lowest bowling average of any bowler to have taken over 400 test wickets. A twitter correspondent yesterday queried the absence of Joel Garner from my overseas county stars team, and suggested that perhaps I was placing too much stress on balance: “with Macko and Bird bowling together do you need balance?” While not wholly agreeing I acknowledge that the objection had weight (after all, I did include Garner in my Somerset team), and the selection of this side is an acknowledgement that one can rely exclusively on fast bowling. Rather than ‘big bird’ I opted for another extra tall fast bowler whose record was even better.
  11. Waqar Younis – right arm fast bowler. His ability to produce greased lightning yorkers seemingly on demand led cricket journalist Martin Johnson to write “when a pitch does not favour him, Waqar Younis does not bother to use it.” At one time he was probably the fastest in the world, and his great record stands as testament to his overall effectiveness.

This side has an awesome top six, a fabulous keeper batter and four awesome specialist fast bowlers. In Clive Lloyd they have the perfect captain to handle an attack thus constituted, and their opponents will need to be on their mettle to have a chance.

THE BALANCED XI

  1. Jack Hobbs – right handed opening batter. Known universally as ‘The Master’, he tallied 61,237 first class runs with 197 centuries, both all time records. He still holds the England records for Ashes runs and centuries, with 3,636 and 12 respectively, the last made at the age of 46 making him test cricket’s oldest ever centurion.
  2. Bert Sutcliffe – left handed opening batter. The Kiwi’s most astounding performance came for Otago versus Canterbury, when he scored 385 in an all out tally of 500, and Canterbury in their two innings combined managed 382 off the bat all told! On the 1949 tour of England he aggregated more first class runs than any other tourist save only for Bradman. Given his left handedness and the challenge posed by pairs comprise one left and one right handed batters, and his outstanding skill there is every reason to believe that this Hobbs/Sutcliffe opening pair would be every bit as effective as the original.
  3. Frank Woolley – left handed batter, left arm orthodox spinner, brilliant close fielder. The only cricketer to have achieved the career first class treble of 10,000 runs, 1,000 wickets and 1,000 catches, and indeed the only outfielder ever to have taken 1,000 catches.
  4. *Frank Worrell – right handed batter, occasional left arm medium fast. The first black captain of the West Indies, and he led them to the top of the cricket world. Before his time success had been something of a rarity for the West Indies. CLR James contributed a chapter on him to “Cricket: The Great Captains”, and also gives him extensive coverage in “Beyond a Boundary”, and the name Worrell occurs again and again in the pages of the collection of CLR James writings titled simply “Cricket”.
  5. Walter Hammond – right handed batter, right arm medium fast, ace slipper. The first ever to reach 7,000 test runs (7,249 at 58.45), the first fielder to pouch 100 test catches and sometimes useful with his bowling as well. He scored seven test match double centuries, four of them against the oldest enemy – 251 and 200 not out in successive matches in 1928-9, 231 not out in 1936-7 and 240 at Lord’s in 1938, which stood for 52 years as the highest score by an England captain.
  6. Garry Sobersleft handed batter, every kind of left arm bowler known to cricket, brilliant fielder. The most complete all rounder there has ever been. He is the fulcrum of this side, enabling it to have a vast range of options.
  7. +Leslie Ames – wicket keeper, right handed batter. The only recognized keeper to have scored 100 first class hundreds, holds the record for most career stumpings (over 400 of them, to go with 700 catches). In two of the first three years in which the Lawrence trophy for the fastest first class hundred of the season Ames won it (the intervening time it went to another Kent legend Frank Woolley).
  8. Frank Tyson – right arm fast bowler. I covered him in my Northamptonshire piece. Suffice to say that he was probably the quickest there has ever been.
  9. Sydney Francis Barnes – right arm fast medium bowler. Probably the greatest of all bowlers. 27 test matches yielded him 189 wickets at 16.43 each. His special weapon was a leg break delivered at fast medium pace, beautifully described by Ian Peebles, himself a former test bowler, in a piece titled “Barnes The Pioneer” which appears in “The Faber Book of Cricket”.
  10. Muttiah Muralitharan – off spinner. The all time leading taker of test wickets, with 800 of them at a rate of just about six per game (Barnes had he played the same number of tests and maintained his wicket taking rate would have had approximately 930 test wickets). His 16 wickets on a plumb Oval pitch in 1998 (England batted first, Sri Lnaka scored nearly 600 in between the two England efforts) remains the greatest match performance I have ever seen by bowler. Two years before that he had been one of the heroes of the Sri Lankam world cup winning side, which relied as much on its phalanx of spinners not getting collared as it did on its dazzling batting line up. 
  11. William Mycroft – left arm fast bowler. He never got to play test cricket, his prime years coming just too early for that (and I mean just – in 1876 he took 17 wickets in a match against Hampshire, which Hampshire sneaked by one wicket). I note that he played for a county who have always been unfashionable (Derbyshire), and that 138 first class games yielded him 863 first class wickets at 12.09 each. I believe he would be even more devastating as part of the attack I have created here than he actually was. His brother Thomas was a wicket keeper, and this combination and the Nottinghamshire pair of fast bowler Frank Shacklock and keeper Mordecai Sherwin may well have been the inspiration for the names of Sherlock and Mycroft Holmes (Arthur Conan Doyle was a cricket fanatic, and a very useful cricketer, some times turning out for MCC, and at least once accounting for WG Grace, albeit his bowling was not required until that worthy had 110 to his name). His presence alongside Tyson means that this side have some heavy weaponry of their own to counter the pace onslaught, as India did not in 1975-6, nor England in 1976, 1980 or 1984.

This side has a strong and varied top five, the greatest of all all rounders at six, a legendary keeper batter at seven and four superbly varied bowlers. The bowling, with Mycroft, Tyson, Barnes and Muralitharan backed up by Sobers, Woolley, Hammond and Worrell has pretty much every base covered.

THE CONTEST

This would be an epic contest. The toss would hardly be needed, since Lloyd would probably want to bowl first and Worrell would definitely want to bat first. Although I acknowledge that as exemplified by the West Indies under Lloyd a team with four fast bowlers can be well nigh unbeatable I am going to predict that it is Frank Worrell’s side who would emerge victorious.

SOLUTION TO TEASER

Yesterday I offered up the following from brilliant:

I got the the correct answer by first identifying the size of the large square from which the ‘L’ section comes – it is 16 by 16. I then counted backwards round the spiral to arrive at the size of the next largest square in the relevant segment – 12 X 12. So the answer we are looking for, for the area of the ‘L’ section is (16 x 16) – (12 x 12), which is equal to 256 – 144 = 112 units. NB – it took me less long to do the actual working out, which I did in my head, than it has to type this explanation.

A LINK AND PHOTOGRAPHS

Our two contending XIs have been introduced, I have provided a solution to the teaser I posed yesterday, which leaves on one thing to do before applying my usual sign off. Pete Wharmby has produced a superb thread about ‘functioning labels’ in relation to autism. His advice is the autism equivalent of Darwin’s famous note to himself about evolutionary biology: “avoid the words higher and lower.” I urge you to read his piece in full, which you can do here. Now for my usual sign off…

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A Black Headed gull.
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The beak is a slightly darker maroon than a well looked after West Indies cap.

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Pace v Balanced
The team in tabulated form.

 

Not Weird, Just Limited Edition: Inside the Autistic Mind – Book Review

My review of Not Weird, Just Limited Edition: Inside the Autistic Mind. I urge you to all to buy copies of this fabulous little book.

INTRODUCTION

You may remember that a couple of posts ago on here I mentioned a new book about Autism titled “Not Weird, Just Limited Edition: Inside the Autistic Mind”. Well the copy of that book that I ordered arrived yesterday, and now it is time for a quick review.

A LITTLE GEM OF A BOOK

The book, written by Faye Flint, who was diagnosed as autistic only at the age of 27 (regular readers of this blog will recall that I was 31 when I got my own diagnosis, so this is a situation that is more than a little familiar to me). It is 108 pages long, with the text very generously spaced. Each page is a separate event, recording a particular thought or train of thought, and each is beautifully clear, and for obvious reasons many are instantly recognizable to me. If you are autistic yourself, or know/ are related to someone autistic, or even just have an interest in autism this book, written as it is by someone who is actually autistic is an absolute must read. I am going to share some of my personal favourites (I have selected six out of 108 pages to quote – and the quotes will be indented and italicised to set them apart from my own writing:

First, page 31:

I was a child with Asperger’s.
I will remain an adult with Asperger’s.

Page 45:

No, I won’t ‘grow out’ of my Asperger’s.
Asperger’s is who I am.
But I have lived with myself for 30 years.
I have learned how to manage myself.
To be able to fit into society more appropriately.

Page 49 (I am bolding as well as italicising this one for reasons that should become obvious):

“But you don;t seem like my friend’s son who is autistic?”
Ahh, well maybe that’s because…
I am a grown autistic woman,
Not a 7 year old autistic child.
Yes, there really is a difference.

Page 64:

No, my Asperger’s cannot be cured.
Nor would I want it to be.
This took me a long time after such a late diagnosis.
However,
It has made me, me.
And I kind of like me.
In fact,
Many people say my ‘differences’ are what they love most!

Page 69 (another one that I chosen to bold as well as italicise)

Just ask.
If you want to know about the spectrum,
Ask someone who is on it!
We aren’t offended.
If anything,
It makes us happy that you care enough to want to learn.
There is nobody better to ask,
Than someone who goes through it,
Every.
Single.
Day.

Finally, page 81:

I promise I am listening to you.
But my brain has 2,644 other tabs open right now.
It is very distracting.

The book is available in paperback or on kindle (click here to order).

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The front cover
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The back cover.

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Autism Related Events

Some recent autism and disability related events and a farewell to wicketkeeping legend Sarah Taylor.

INTRODUCTION

There have been two significant events in as many days for me, and I mention both of them in this post.

NORFOLK DISABILITY PRIDE PHOTOGRAPHIC EXHIBITION

On Sunday I travelled to Norwich for the Norfolk Disability Pride event, which included the photographic exhibition at which I won third prize (£25 voucher for WEX Photography, which I discovered to my chagrin that I cannot redeem online), for this photograph:

Carbis Bay II

This photograph was taken through a train window while travelling between St Erth and St Ives in the far west of Cornwall.

A big screen was set up on the ground floor of the Norwich Millennium Library displaying this and other photographs for the exhibition (the above was not the only one of pictures to feature, and several others got appreciative responses from viewers), while a variety of groups connected with disability had stands in the foyer of the Forum building, immediately outside the library. In the Auditorium, off to one side of the foyer, was a #ToyLikeMe exhibition (a campaign to increase the number of toys that feature disabled people).

Not wishing to be overly late home I caught the 3:10 bus back from Norwich (as well that I did, since by the time it got to Lynn the rain was coming down in stair rods, and it being Sunday the last no 2 bus to enable me to avoid walking all the way home from the town centre left just after the ExCel bus from Norwich had arrived at the bus station, so I only got a bit wet rather than thoroughly drenched).

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Unlike some buses used for PR purposes this one had no lies printed on it!

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The prize winning picture on the big screen.

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small ‘sesnory; donkeys outside the Forum building

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This was a good feature…
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…especially this part of it!

AUTISM FRIENDLY SOCIAL GROUP

The first of these took place last night at King’s Lynn Library, London Road, between 5PM and 6:45PM, and it is intended that they will become a regular event, with two more sessions, for Wednesday 16th October, 5PM to 6:45PM and Monday 28th October 5PM to 6:45PM already confirmed. Various games and puzzles are available for those so inclined, and refreshments are provided. We had a few people come last night, and I hope that more will get involved as word spreads, but the important thing is that the group runs – even if only a few benefit, that is better than none.

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The official flyer for the social group.
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One of the games they have – I am hoping in due course to play it (did not happen last night).

SARAH TAYLOR’S RETIREMENT

A top class batter, and for my money the best wicketkeeper of either sex to have played in the 21st century, Sarah Taylor has hung up the gloves after an international career that spanned 13 seasons and much of the cricket playing globe. She has made the decision on mental health grounds, and I hope all would wish her well for the future. Those involved with the England Women’s set up deserve credit for their efforts to help her over the years since her mental health issues first came to light, and she deserves credit for being open and honest about them, as well as for her deeds as a player, shown below, courtesy of cricinfo:

Full name Sarah Jane Taylor

Born May 20, 1989, London Hospital, Whitechapel, London

Current age 30 years 134 days

Major teams Adelaide Strikers Women, England Development Squad Women, England Women, Rubies

Playing role Top-order batsman

Batting style Right-hand bat

Fielding position Wicketkeeper

Sarah Jane Taylor
Batting and fielding averages
Mat Inns NO Runs HS Ave BF SR 100 50 4s 6s Ct St
Tests 10 17 1 300 40 18.75 605 49.58 0 0 50 0 18 2
ODIs 126 119 13 4056 147 38.26 4927 82.32 7 20 462 4 87 51
T20Is 90 87 12 2177 77 29.02 1967 110.67 0 16 241 6 23 51
Bowling averages
Mat Inns Balls Runs Wkts BBI BBM Ave Econ SR 4w 5w 10
Tests 10
ODIs 126
T20Is 90

Note especially the number of stumpings (most of them slick leg side efforts) that she executed in her career – wicketkeepers are often colloquially referred to as ‘stumpers’, but increasingly few of them truly merit the term.

PHOTOGRAPHS

My usual sign off…

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Two attempts to capture swnas from the road bridge over the Gaywood near Kettlewell Lane on a dark and rainy night (on my way home from the Librrary yesterday).

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An Autism Awareness Event At King’s Lynn Library

A brief account of today’s Autism Awarenss event at King’s Lynn Library, with some photographs.

INTRODUCTION

Today at 1PM there was a gathering at King’s Lynn Library for World Autism Awareness Day, in which we talked to the library about things they could do to make themselves more accessible to autistic people and in which we got details of an autism friendly youth group that they are starting. As well as ourselves and library staff a young woman from SCIOPE was also present.

AWARENESS IS BARELY THE BEGINNING

Obviously awareness is necessary, but it should not be thought of as a goal or an endpoint – to borrow from a famous quote it is at most the end of the beginning. To be of real value it needs to proceed to acceptance, understanding of our needs and appreciation of our strengths. The library staff seem genuinely committed to helping autistic people, and they listened to all our comments. There was talk of autism friendly hours in the evening, which I think would be an excellent idea.

A CONSTRUCTIVE DAY

I feel that this event was very constructive and potentially valuable. I await practical developments with interest – as an autistic person who is a great supporter of the library I hope to be able remember today as an occasion when things moved in the right direction. I was very glad to be able to attend – as an advocate of “nothing about us without us” I always feel that I should be involved with this sort of thing, and there had been a possibility that my health would prevent that. Fortunately it did not. Now for…

PICTURES

I start with an infographic posted on the NAS Norwich facebook page by Johanna Corbyn which I consider to be excellent:

Johanna Infographic

To set the scene for my own photographs that relate to this event here is the official King’s Library picture, originally posted on their facebook page:

KLLWAAW

Now we finish with some of my pictures:

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My cards – one of the library staff accepted one.
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I was able to photograph various pictures on the wall.

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Details of the Autism Friendly Youth Group
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SCOPE publicity
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The autism related diksplay in the entrance foyer.
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A rear view of the library.
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A shot showing the war memorial and the library.
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The Greyfriars Tower

 

Workshop on Autism and Girls

A mainly photographic account of this morning’s excellent session on autism and girls at the Masonic Centre, King’s Lynn.

INTRODUCTION

This morning, through the good offices of NAS West Norfolk, especially branch vice-chair Rachel Meerwalk who gave me a lift both way, I was able to attend Sarah-Jane Critchley’s workshop on autism and girls at The Masonic Centre, Hamburg Way, King’s Lynn. The battery in my camera ran out before the end, but the whole presentation should be available at https://differentjoy.kartra.com/page/amazing/adiclub 

THE TALK

Sarah-Jane covered a vast range of topics in the course of the morning, all relating to girls and autism. There were a couple of interactive bits – one involved describing the previous night’s meal without using any words containing the letter N – a task that required some crafty paraphrasing on my part, as one part of the meal in question for me had been a glass of Pinot Grigio, which I could not describe by name or by the generic white wine. Later there was a party game – she asked various people what they would bring to a party and told them whether they were invited or not – but the test was not what they said they would bring but what body language they used. The third interactive bit as three sets of three as follows:

  • Things you are good at
  • Things you are grateful for
  • Things you enjoy

This was an excellent session, though I was tired by the end of it, and well and truly ready for lunch by the time I arrived home.

PHOTOGRAPHS

I have left my photographs to tell you what they can…

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The NAS West Norfolk display board
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The handouts (two shots)

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For more on PDA visit www.pdasociety.org.uk

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These websites are: www.gids.nhs.uk www.genderedintenlligence.co.uk www.mermaids.org.uk www.gires.org.uk and www.stonewall.org.uk

Autistic Special Interest 1: Public Transport II

The second post in my personal series about #autisticspecialinterests.

INTRODUCTION

Welcome to my second ‘special interests’ post for the month of May. The first, which set the scene can be seen here. The first post dealt exclusively with London, where I grew up. This post looks wider, although it still deals with events from before I was diagnosed. NB – undiagnosed means just that, not diagnosed – it DOES NOT mean “not autistic”.

ST PETERSBURG

This overlaps with the first post, because I visited St Petersburg in 1991. The two week visit I made to that city in 1991 was significant in many ways – it was there that I learned to eat a more varied diet, because I was just mature enough to appreciate that it was a choice between eating what was served or not eating at all and make the best of things. Also, because the family I was staying with were living very close to one of its stations I gained a considerable acquaintanceship withe the St Petersburg Metro, and also experienced the trolleybuses and trams that were a feature of daily life there. 

Other than being horrendously overcrowded the St Petersburg Metro was a significant improvement on the London equivalent – a far more frequent service, and no delays. Also the underground portions were much deeper than in London, with often two colossally long escalators (far longer than any London equivalent) between the platform and the surface. This was my first major experience of public transport anywhere other than London. 

GOING SOLO 1: SCOTLAND 1993

My first solo holiday took place in the summer of 1993, when I travelled to Scotland for two weeks. I travelled all around Scotland in those two weeks. As well as some seriously scenic journeys on mainline railways (I experienced both the lines the head towards Skye among others) I also made the acquaintance of the Glasgow undeground system (a single, circular route). 

This holiday was a splendid experience overall, but a mere curtain raiser for…

A SCANDINAVIAN HOLIDAY

This happened in the following summer., Equipped with a rucksack and a two week rail pass for Norway, Sweden and Finland I started by taking a plane to Gothenburg. From there I travelled north, pausing in Stockholm. From Sundsvall I temporarily abandoned trains to take a boat across to Vaasa in Finland. From Vaasa I headed for Helsinki, and then the longest single journey of the trip, to Narvik, the most northerly railway station in the world. I continued my northerly exploration by bus as far as Tromso, before switching to boat for a journey along the coast to Hammerfest, the northenmost town in Norway. I varied my route back by taking a bus from Hammerfest to Alta (a mistake, this place is the Nordic equivalent of Brandon, only with even less appeal). Back in Narvik I selected a bus to Bodo, Norway’s other northern rail outpost. This decision cost me a  night spent on the sgtatiopon platform at Bodo before I could head south to Oslo. From Oslo I headed east to Stockholm, and my last journey of the holiday (other than the flight home) was from Stockholm to Gothenburg.

Not having previously explored any foreign public transort systems in this kind of detail I was highly impressed. Although there are many ways in which Nordic public transport is a vast improvement on British I note a few things in particular:

  • Comprehensiveness – although the terrain in these countries is much more difficult than anything in Britain pretty much anywhere of any size has some sort of public transport connection.
  • Integration – there is not much duplication between bus and train routes. The buses tend to cover the routes that the trains do not. The only small flaw I noted in that first visit to these countries was that en route from Helsinki to Narvik we had to disembark at Haparanda on the Finnish side of the Finland/ Sweden border to transfer to Boden on the Swedish side for the last leg of the journey to Narvik, and even that was handled efficiently.
  • Reliability – never once in these two weeks, nor in my more recent trip to Sweden, did I encounter a service not running precisely when it was supposed to, and there has never been a two week period in my lifetime when one could be in Britain, travelling by public transoort most days, and get that kind of service.

FUTURE POSTS AND PICTURES

My next post in this series will look at public transport in various cities that I have experience of. Here to end are some public transport themed pictures…

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Lot 86 in our next auction – see my post about my first week as a commuter on the Lynx njumber 49 re the rarity of such uncut cigarette cards

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Lot 110
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Lot 181

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Lot 199 – second behind on lot 86 on my wanted list…
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…not least for this.
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Lot 200
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Lot 223
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Lot 224
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Lot 278

 

 

Autistic Special Interests 1: Public Transport

The first in a series of posts about #Autisticspecialinterests that will be appearing here during May.

INTRODUCTION

Here as promised is the first of a series of posts I shall be doing about my special interests. I am starting with public transport, and in this post I shall be referring to events that took place long before I was diagnosed as autistic.

GREAT ORMOND STREET HOSPITAL AND THE BIRTH OF A SPECIAL INTEREST

I was a patient in a child psychiatric unit at Great Ormond Street Hospital for over a year in the early 1980s. The trigger for the illness that put me there appears to have been a bout of chickenpox. For the first half of my time there I was an in-patient, at the hospital 24/7, and then when they deemed it safe for me to sent home at nights I was a day patient. Although I cannot remember a time when trains did not interest me, it was during this period that I would say that my special interest in public transport was formed. 

My family moved to London in 1979, when I was four, and I have a London Underground map from that time:

LU 1979

Now, here is an edited version, highlighting the two key stations:

LU 1979 - edited

Tooting Bec was our local station, just about a mile from our house, while Russell Square is the station for Great Ormond Street Hospital. My father would take me there in the mornings and pick me up in the afternoons, using London Underground. We took some very bizarre routes, as my fascination grew, which sometimes led to my father getting awkward questions from ticket inspectors (yes folks, in those days London Underground had on-train ticket inspectors). 

TEENAGE YEARS – GOING SOLO

In later years I was able to explore on my own, and when I was in my early teens the child rate for a one-day travelcard was only 90p, so I would often go out on a Saturday and explore London transport in detail (I used various local railway lines as well as the Underground, though in those days I did not make much use of buses). It was also in this period that I discovered the London Transport Museum at Covent Garden

A big moment for me was the opening of The Docklands Light Railway (I travelled on it on its first day of operation way back in 1987, and it was a huge buzz to be there at the start of a new development in public transport). In particular I first developed the method of visiting Greenwich described in this post on www.londontu.be as a teenager, and since the DLR was then pretty much brand spanking new I claim to be the pioneer of that method.

Like most who have been regular users of it I came to despise the Northern Line, and later in my teenage years it was a thing with me to make my excursions without using the Northern line (this meant starting and finishing at one of various railway stations which were walkable from home – Tooting, Streatham Common, Streatham, or Streatham Hill). A frequent finish to my excursions was to take the Hammersmith & City line to Hammersmith, get an eastbound District line train to Earl’s Court and then cross the platform to get a Wimbledon train, finally changing to railway train to Tooting. 

At the same time as I was exploring public transport in London to the full I was also learning more about its history and development. 

Very late in my teens I became a regular commuter, because after finishing at my local comprehensive I decided to resit my Chemistry ‘A’ Level and do the first year of Maths and Physics ‘A’ Levels at Richmond Upon Thames College of Further Education, whose local station was Twickenham, two stops west of Richmond. I had two regular routes there, either travelling in my mother’s car as far as Baron’s Court (the nearest station to the school she was teaching at in that period), District to Richmond, train to Twickenham, or from home, walk to Balham (about a half-hour walk, perfectly manageable for an 18 year old), get a train to Clapham Junction and change for another train to Twickenham. The fastest trains over the Clapham Junction – Twickenham section were those going to Reading, which did it non-stop. Those trains were also the only ones that still had manually opened and closed doors (two choices folks, either slam the thing, making a monstrous crash, which most people did,  or learn, as I did, how the catches worked so that one could shut the door quietly). 

FURTHER POSTS

When I revisit this series, probably at the weekend, the story will move away from London, as I did, and will indeed go international. To finish for today, here are some old pictures of Tooting Bec Station, taken from the book Bright Underground Spaces:

Tooting Bec 1
The Stapleton Road sufrface building agt Tooting Bec, which was the one I used to enter and exit by.
Tooting Bec 2
Both of Tooting Bec;s surface buildings (from 1926-50 the station was called Trinity Road).

Plans For May

Setting out my stall for May, including a forthcoming series of posts about my #Autisticspecialinterests

INTRODUCTION

April is behind us, so I am going use this post to set out my stall for May. As a lead up, here is a screenshot of a tweet by Autism Mom:

AMIG

A NEW SERIES SPECIFICALLY FOR MAY

Eve Reiland of internationalbadassactivists suggested a theme for #actuallyautistic people for May: #AutisticSpecialInterest – a theme I am more than happy to run with, so, starting tomorrow I will be producing posts dealing with my special interests through the month. 

THE EFFECT THAT THE NEW BUSES HAVE ON MY WORK

Those who have read my blog recently will be aware that today was my first day travelling to work on the Lynx number 49, which has replaced the Stagecoach X29 route. It runs considerably less frequently, but the buses are comfortable, the staff are friendly, and at the moment it has a score of 1/1 for punctuality, which after Stagecoach feels near miraculous. 

AN UPCOMING HOLIDAY

I will be off for a week in Greece, leaving King’s Lynn on Friday May 11th, late in the evening so as to get to Gatwick for the flight to Kalamata, which takes off at 5:40AM. Therefore I will accept that sleep ain’t happening that night, and spend a few hours waiting at the airport. I will arrive back in the early afternoon of Saturday May 19th. I will endeavour to keep up to date with everyone during that period, but there will almost certainly be days on which I do not manage to access the internet.

IMAGING FOR MAY’S AUCTIONS

In May we are having a one-day cigarette card auction, followed by two days of military badges (and these will be on the Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday after I return from holiday). Here to finish things off are some images…

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My employer wanted an insert of badge pictures for the catalogue, and to enable that as well as in the interests of speed the badges were numbered up on their boards, and I took pictures of the entire boards and then extracted individual images from the whole.

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There are 750 lots of cigarette cards, in a total of 67 albums, of which I have imaged 51, covering four whole albums and 1 from a fifth.

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Autism Acceptance/Appreciation Month

An introduction to Autism Acceptance Month/ Autism Appreciation Month and a few photographs.

INTRODUCTION

Officially April is designated Autism Awareness Month. In this post I will give my view as to why this designation should be rejected and what the alternative, as articulated by autistic people should be.

AWARENESS

Firstly the notion of ‘Autism Awareness’ is tainted by the mere fact of who the main organisation pushing it are, who I will not name here. Suffice to say that their many misdeeds include being responsible for the video nasty “I Am Autism”, and that they are associated with the colour blue and with the puzzle piece symbol. I am glad that I am separated from them by the width of an ocean!

Secondly, even if the first point above did not apply, ‘awareness’ is simply not sufficient as a bannerline aim. Awareness does not equate to understanding, and that latter is the barest minimum that is required…

UNDERSTANDING, ACCEPTANCE, APPRECIATION, RESPECT

Understanding of autism is merely a good starting point (and there are ton of places where you can find autistic people writing about autism, some which I shall list later). It needs to lead to acceptance of us for who we are, appreciation of our good points and respect for us as human beings. 

PLACES TO LEARN ABOUT AUTISM

This list is not (never in the proverbial million years) exhaustive, but it gives you some good pointers.

#REDINSTEAD, #LIGHTITUPGOLD & THE RAINBOW INFINITY SYMBOL

The organization I refuse to name tells people to #lightitupblue, for which reason that colour is off-limits (except when it appears in photos) to this site at least for the month of April. The first two elements of the title of this section refer to alternatives. This blog is following #RedInstead simply because gold letters don’t really stand out against a white background. The Rainbow Infinity Symbol, a customized version of which heads this blog, while another appears on my personal cards, is an excellent alternative to the discredited puzzle piece for the role of autism symbol. Here courtesy of stimtheline is the Autistic Bill of Rights:

Autistic Bill of Rights.pub

PHOTOGRAPHS

BlackbirdCormorants and flying gullCormorants and gull IICormorants and gull IIICormorants and gull IVCormorants and gullLibraryNar meets OuseSmall bird in branchesswimming gullsWingspan IWingspan IIWingspan IIIWingspan IV