Downham Market Community Fair

An account of running the NAS West Norfolk stall at the Downham Market Community Fair on Saturday.

INTRODUCTION

NAS West Norfolk were invited to run a stall at the Downham Market Community Fair, which took place on Saturday, with stalls setting up from 9AM and the event itself running from 10AM to 2PM. This post is my account from my perspective running the NASWN stall on the day. There will be plenty of photographs. I have stated elsewhere that while it is not ideal to have a stall covered by only one person if NAS West Norfolk are going to have only one person running the stall that person should be me.

Community Fair

GETTING THERE

I travelled to Downham Market by train (£3 return when making the journey at the weekend), selecting the 7:54AM, which would see me arrive at the station at about 8:10AM. I saw sufficiently much to take the eye as I walked through the town that I shall be putting up a separate post about that. I arrived outside the Town Hall at 8:35AM, giving me plenty of time to take some photographs of the outside of the building.

Town Hall Exterior 5Info board 2Info board 1Detail 5Town Hall Exterior 4Detail 4Town Hall Exterior 3Foundation stoneDetail 3Detail 2Detail 1Main doorTown Hall Exterior 2Town Hall Exterior 1Carr panelAdvertisingWindowDetail 6

THE NASWN STALL

As arranged the person bringing the stall and some new leaflets arrived at 9AM, and the setup was swiftly accomplished. This was the first occasion in which the aspi.blog calendars for 2018 were on public display.

Stall
The stall – new leaflets/flyers, calendars and the display board.
Calendars
A close up of the calendars.

AROUND THE HALL

Obviously, being in sole charge of the stall I did not have much opportunity for moving about once the event was underway, but I did get sufficient pictures from a combination of the occasions on which I did move about and those taken from the stall to give a feel for the event. We start with some general pictures of the inside of the building.

Whole Hall
Two shots showing views of the hall

Hall

Parapet
This parapet is presumably the front of an upstairs seating area.
Artwork 2
The last two shots in this selection feature artwork on the walls just outside the hall.

Artwork 1

Moving on to inidviudal stalls, I got pictures of the Downham Market Horticultural Society stall, the RBL stall, and various others. The most impressive stall of the day was that being run by the King’s Lynn and District Astronomy Society. They had a big screen displaying some very impressive slides as well their display board. The Cats Protection group had a stall, that like the NASWN stall was being run by a single person. 

Sue Ryder 2Cats ProtectionDownham Market HortiRBLRBL modelsBannerSue RyderRotary

These are all the pictures of stalls other than the Astronomy Society one that I got, and it is to that group that I now turn:

Astronomy 1
Two shots of the KLADAS stall

Astronomy 2

Astronomy 3
The remainder are of slides that caught my attention.

Astronomy 4Astronomy 5Astronomy 6Astronomy 7Astronomy 8Astronomy 9

THE NAS WEST NORFOLK STALL

The event was not massively attended, but I did see quite a few people at the NASWN stall, and the experience was overwhelmingly positive. My calendars impressed a few people but not sufficiently for any to sell. From an NASWN perspective, the main point of the day of course was to improve understanding of autism and to publicise the existence of our group. We succeeded as well as could have been hoped for in both regards, with a number of the new leaflets being taken, and quite a few people leaving the event better informed about autism than they had been before it started. I also got to explain about the rainbow coloured infinity symbol, and the fact that it is a symbol chosen by autistic people to represent the autistic spectrum. I consider that this event was a good use of a significant part of my Saturday. To finish, here is our stall for a second time:

Stall
The stall – new leaflets/flyers, calendars and the display board.

 

 

The Musical Keys Session That Wasn’t

A walk, some dreadful weather and a double-booking. Also some photographs.

INTRODUCTION

Musical Keys run regular sessions for NAS West Norfolk, and I attend these sessions both as a participant and in my role as branch secretary of NAS West Norfolk. Today should have been a Musical Keys day, and after lunch I set off on an afternoon walk with the Scout Hut in Gaywood as my envisaged final destination. 

A LITERAL DAMPENING

Although I was ultimately aiming for Gaywood I decided to lengthen the walk by going along the river bank as far as my regular cormorant observation point and then returning to the route to Gaywood by way of Seven Sisters and the Red Mount Chapel. Unfortunately I was near the end of the riverside stretch when the rain started coming down in stair rods, and it stayed raining all the way to Gaywood. Although Gaywood Library is small there are sometimes good books to be found there, and I did find some today.

A METAPHORICAL DAMPENING

While in Gaywood Library I logged into a computer, and it was there that I saw a facebook post telling me that Musical Keys had been cancelled due to a double booking. As I was still not fully dried out from the walk to Gaywood I was more than usually annoyed by this.

A POSSIBLE CHANGE OF LOCATION

This is not the first time we have had problems of this nature with this venue, so it is natural to be considering new venues. The British Red Cross have a suitable room in thier building at Austin Fields which is close to the centre of King’s Lynn. It is true that the principal approach from outside King’s Lynn, Edward Benefer Way/ John Kennedy Road, is prone to traffic jams, but I think the good outweighs the bad in terms of this venue. 

PHOTOGRAPHS

Even in the poor weather I experienced I was able to get a few decent photographs:

doves
This was taken in Fakenham yesterday – this window ledge is immediately outside my work area at James and Sons and these doves have been using it for a few days now.

moorhen family 1Moorhens and ducksMoorhens and ducks 2Tern 1Glaucous GullTern 2

2 flying cormorants
Two flying cormorants ine one shot – a first for me.
Flying cormorant
My second edit of that same picture, focussing on the nearer of the two cormorants.

Cormorant PlatformCormorantsKing of the Cormorant castleIII CormorantsFarewell to Cormorant PlatformMoorhen adult and child

NAS West Norfolk 10th Anniversary Celebrations

A personal account of NAS West Norfolk’s 10th anniversary celebration garden party.

INTRODUCTION

Yesterday saw the celebration of NAS West Norfolk’s tenth anniversary. We had a garden party in a quite magnificent garden in Castle Acre which we had been very generously allowed to use for the occasion. Here as a reminder is the poster we used to advertise the event:

MY ROLE IN THE CELEBRATIONS

As branch secretary of NAS West Norfolk I was involved in running the event – I helped to set things up at the start and with the clear up at the end. As an autistic person I was also delighted to take part in the event in between times. 

THE GARDENS

These gardens are truly amazing – this is where the original fortified village that adjoins the castle was located, and at one point there is a steeply sloped bank that leads down to a section of the old town moat. There are some amazing plants and grasses in these gardens, some excellent garden sculptures, a pond with ducks of various breeds and dragonflies around it, many fowl which run free and a swimming pool the excellence of which I can personally vouch for having spent an hour there. Near the pond is a summerhouse which was our designated Quiet Area (an absolute necessity at events for autistic people, or if you want autistic people being comfortable attending your event). There was also a house that was open to the public in which cakes (some baked by our wonderful hosts and some by members of our group), raffle prizes and such were set up.

The hosts had provided a few games for us, and one of our members brought along a swingball set as well.  

THE DAY

Once the set up had been accomplished there was plenty of time to enjoy the day, and it went excellently. For me the magnificent setting was one half of a superb equation, the other being autistic people enjoying themselves without worrying what anyone else was thinking because everyone present had some sort of connection to autism, and therefore some degree of understanding. Everyone present was at least at the ‘Understanding’ stage of the Awareness-Understanding-Acceptance-Appreciation line. I was regularly taking photographs except for the hour I spent in the swimming pool and we had a photographer from Your Local Paper present as well. The raffle prizes were presented by the Mayor of King’s Lynn. 

PHOTOGRAPHS

Here are my photographs from the day…

Moat
The bank leading down to a section of the old town moat – an entangled bank worthy of the closing words of On The Origin of Species.

Butterfly2

Butterfly
The only one of many beautiful butterflies that I was able to capture.

Swingball2entrance to swimming poolPicnics3953Table tennis2Table tennisYoung cockerelbannerBig house

decorative brickwork2
Half of this brickwork Tudor Rose has disappeared.

decorative brickwork1Brick and flintbuildingmini clocktower

Watering can
A watering can sculpture (it is huge – one could not actually use iut.
big bird2
I saw this bird early on, but it kept itself to itself later in the day.

Big bird 1

wire sheep
Wire sheep near the pond

cockerelAvian flotillaJemima

Dovecote
What used to be the dovecote – the brick nesting boxes are still in place.

Dovecote2

Pond3
The pond.

Pond2Pond1Ducks

summerhouse
The designated Quiet Area.
Dark den
Inside the summerhouse we assembled the Dark Den – the framework is a little like Quadro except with that the plastic tubes have a smaller diameter. Initially we had failed to notice that the tubes have to go through the tenting, so we took longer to get this assembled than we should.
Dark den interior1
An interior shot – once I pulled the second door flap at the back into place and someone else had added a blanket to soften the base it was ready for use.
Private
This was in the summehouse.

NASWEN notice board

Swingball
The swingball set in use.
swimming pool
The swimming pool.

Bird2bird1

wire ducks2
wire ducks – there were also wire sheep near the pool.

wire ducks13913

A Variety Post

A mixed bag of a post, featuring local politics, libraries, autism, science, nature and photography.

INTRODUCTION

Welcome to this post in three parts. I am going to start by mentioning a local election that took place in my area today and in which I voted, then I will be mentioning an event that will be taking place at Gaywood Library (one of four such establishments in Norfolk that I visit at least semi-regularly) and I will finish up with some links to do with nature which will lead naturally to some of my photographs.

A FORCED BY-ELECTION

The election in which I voted today happened due to the laziness and arrogance of the incumbent councillor, who in spite of living just across the road from the Town Hall never attended meetings.

Four candidates were in the contest, in alphabetical order:

Rob Archer of the Green Party
Francis Bone of the Labour Party
Helen Russell-Johnson of the Liberal Democrats
Mike Taylor of the Conservative Party

In the ordinary course of events my inclination, especially given that the displaced councillor had been from the Labour Party would have been to vote for Mr Archer. However, the Liberal Democrat candidate happens to be my aunt. Therefore I voted for her.

I have started this post by covering this election for two reasons:

  1. I want to make it clear to the Liberal Democrats that I voted for my aunt IN SPITE of the fact that she was representing them not because of it.
  2. Also, just in  case Mr Archer happens to be reading this, I hope he will take it as both explanation and apology for not having voted for him on this occasion.

I conclude this section of the post with a picture of my Political Compass certificate (it is free and does not very long to answer the questions which are used to assign your score):

Political Compass Certificate

THE GAYWOOD LIBRARY EVENT

The event at Gaywood Library is a Business Evening at which I hope it will be possible to raise the subject of the Autism Hour, one of the National Autistic Society’s recent initiatives. I have already confirmed that I will be in attendance. Here are a couple of pictures to end this section:

Personalised SymbolPublic Libraries DisplayPL coinPL stamps

SOME NATURE PIECES

My nature links naturally divide into three segments, with a few photographs of my own forming a fourth. We will start with…

A NEW DINOSAUR FIND

This story courtesy of scienmag.com is about a dinosaur that has been named Albertavenator Curriei (“Currie’s Alberta Hunter”, named in honour of Canadian paleontologist Dr Philip J Currie). Below is a representation of this creature by Oliver Demuth:

IMAGE
Credit: Illustrated by Oliver Demuth. © Oliver Demuth

OPPOSITION TO TROPHY HUNTING

Stan Kroenke, current owner of Arsenal Football Club, has just launched a new TV channel devoted to blood sports. I have two links to share, and some words for Arsenal fans at the end:

  1. A Guardian piece titled “Trophy hunting is vile. Stan Kroenke’s TV channel must be banned” which gives full detail on this.
  2. A change.org petition aimed at the sponsors of Arsenal Football Club asking them to withdraw support and so help force Kroenke out, screenshot below:
    KroenkeOut

For ordinary Arsenal fans my suggestions are simple – boycott all home matches until Kroenke goes, and if you are a season ticket holder return your ticket and demand a full refund, making it clear that you will return if and only if Kroenke is no longer involved with the club.

MORE ON THE FIGHT TO PROTECT TROSA NATURE

This morning I reblogged Part 4 of Anna’s series of “Paradise on Earth” posts highlighting the wildlife that can be seen around Trosa and the Tureholm Peninsula. Since then she has added yet another post to that series, and I include links below:

  1. Part 4, concentrating on birds including the Osprey shown below.
  2. Part 5, also dedicated to birds. I have chosen as my sample image a Linnet.

Finally, to end this section, and the post as a whole we have some of…

SOME OF MY LOCAL NATURE THEMED PICTURES

Mother and childMoorhen3 CormorantsCormorantCormorants at waters edgeCormorants and gullsMoorhen in upper purfleet

Little Egret 1
I close this post by revisiting the Little Egret.

Giving a Radio Interview

A post focussing on me giving a radio interview. Some mention of a roller-skating session and of the current test-match. And of course some photographs.

INTRODUCTION

The title part of this post refers to one of the things I did yesterday. I also have some pictures to share.

AN AUTISM CENTRED MORNING

Of course, as branch secretary of the National Autistic Society’s West Norfolk branch and an #actuallyautistic person there is a way in which autism is always at the heart of what I do. After three days carrying out my concatenation of roles at a James and Sons auction (operator of the system that enables us to take online bids, database administrator, query fielder, in-house ‘Gordianus’, occasional customer service person – see here for a full account) I had a day on which my only preset commitment was to supervise a roller-skating session at Lynnsport between 11 and 12. In the absence of direct confirmation of a time that would be convenient to speak to Ashleigh at KLFM 96.7 (our local radio station) about our upcoming 10th anniversary I decided that I would set off early for Lynnsport and see if I could speak to her on the way or as a fall-back arrange to call in on my way back.

Ashleigh was able to fit me in straight away, and the interview went well (she will be sending me both a recording and an online article that will accompany the actual broadcast), and I left for Lynnsport with my spirits high – I had helped myself, advertised our upcoming 10th anniversary event and due its connection with the foregoing also made mention of our gardening grant and the allotment on Ferry Lane + plans for a sensory garden in part of the plot. It is because of this gardening stuff that we gained the use of the magnificent garden where our 10th anniversary celebration will be held.

The roller-skating passed without incident and I was able to listen to some of the action from the third test-match (even assuming I had both the ability and the willingness to pay the Biased Bull****ting Conservatives £150 per year I would choose to follow cricket by listening to radio commentaries rather than watching on TV). Yesterday was truncated by rain, but England have had a good day today – first reaching 353 largely thanks to a magnificent innings from Stokes and now bagging a South African wicket before tea – debutant Toby Roland-Jones breaking through.

PHOTOGRAPHS

Pot
Being vertical sided these pots should not blow over in the wind (there were two of them).
BP1
The first of two shots showing James and Sons’ tray of Beatrix Potter coins

BP2

Victoria heads
I don;t know what the original purpose of this object was, but it has been a feature of James and Sons longer than I have!
Bee2
Wild marjoram is useful as a herb, as well playing a vital role as a plant that bees just love .

Bee1Bee3

Butterfly1
A huge butterfly

Butterfly2

Giant fly
A gargantuan fly.

FountainSquirrel

Public Libraries 150
My public libraries display.

Autism Acceptance Month

Setting the scene for Autism Acceptance Month, explaining why the original title, Autism Awareness Month is no longer acceptable. Numerous links and photographs.

INTRODUCTION

This post is by way of setting the stage for April, which starts tomorrow after all. As well as my own stuff this contains links from other autism related sources. The title of the post begs a question…

WHY NOT AUTISM AWARENESS MONTH?

There are two parts to the answer to this question:

  1. The original title is tainted by its associations. A very large organisation which I shall not name (think blue jigsaw pieces though) which presents itself as an autism charity but should be treated as a hate group uses this name. Although I am separated from this organisation by the width of the Atlantic Ocean I am a thoroughgoing internationalist and therefore stand in solidarity with autistic folk across the pond and refuse to use the tainted title.
  2. Even aside from being tainted the title is not fit for purpose. Awareness by itself means precisely nothing. I have created a simple graphic showing how things needs to progress from the basic starting point of awareness:
    AUA
    It is from that final goal of acceptance that the alternative title, coined across the Atlantic for reasons I have already stated, and gratefully adopted by me, comes. I have chosen white text against a purple background for my graphic because purple is the colour used by the National Autistic Society (NAS), and I am branch secretary of NAS West Norfolk.

SOME AUTISM RELATED LINKS

I start with this section with a link to a very detailed listing of blogs by people who are #actuallyautistic. To view this valuable resource in full please click on the screenshot below:

AABL

Next up is a piece from Eclectic Autistic titled “Wrong Model, Wrong Research”. This piece attacks what the author calls our society pathologizing difference and I recommend that you read it, which you can do by clicking on the title above.

Now we come to one of the pieces that inspired this post. It was created my mamautistic, and has the title “Being Autistic is Everything – Autistic Acceptance” and you can access it by clicking the image below.

Next we come to a good news story from the Irish Times. Shannon Airport has become the first airport in the world to open a sensory room for the benefit of autistic passengers. For the full story click on the graphic below which is taken from it.

Ryan Cunningham (4) from Gaelscoil Donncha Rua, Shannon tries out Shannon Airport’s new sensory room.  Photograph: Diarmuid Greene/True Media

We now come to a special subsection of this sharing section of the post…

A SILENTWAVE SMORGASBORD

The silentwaveblog has played a major role in inspiring this post, with one post in particular, the last of the three I shall be sharing, virtually setting the creation of this post in motion. 

  1. This piece, titled “The Double Edged Sword of Labels in the Autistic World”, is quite simply the best analysis of the rights and wrongs of labelling that I have ever come across. It also ends with a splendid vision of a future that may just be within reach. To read in full please click on the image below.
  2. Next we have “The problem with the OWN channel’s ‘For Peete’s Sake’ reality show“, which is an excellent critique of a newly launched TV show. This show may (being charitable) have been created with the intention of being part of the solution but it is quite clear from silentwave’s analysis that poor/ absent research plus maybe a bit of laziness has turned it into part of the problem. Click on the image below to read in full.
  3. The post that I regard as having pushed the starter button for this one was put up the day before yesterday and is titled “Update, March 29: what I’ve been doing lately & Autism Awareness Month“. I posted a comment in response to it when I first saw it, and the enthusiastic response from silentwave to that comment prompted to me to expand on it here. To read it in full please click on the graphic below.

THE FINAL SHARE: A VIDEO

This video, called Amazing Things Happen, has already been viewed almost 2.5 million times. Having seen it on facebook I offer you this link. Below is Amazing Things Happen’s own description of the video:

Amazing Things Happen

An introduction to autism that aims to raise awareness among young non-autistic audiences, to stimulate understanding and tolerance in future generations.

It is intended to be viewed, discussed and shared widely by anyone but especially teachers and parents.

PHOTOGRAPHS: A MEETING OF TWO SPECIAL INTERESTS

Regular followers of this blog will be well aware that I always like to include some of my own photographs somewhere in my posts. Since this post is by way of being an introduction to Autism Acceptance Month I decided to theme this section created from one of my special interests, photography, around another, railwayana. You will note the use of the phrase “special interest” in preference to “obsession”, with the latter having negative connotations. Similarly it is preferable to refer to Autistic Spectrum Conditions rather than Autistic Spectrum Disorders. Here are those pictures…

DSCN5307
This was given to me by a work colleague (four images).

ASLEFDSCN5308DSCN5309

1-10pics
These are the pictures I took of lot 369 and said in my previous post that I would be sharing them on here. I omitted to capture the text for cards 41-50, but otherwise this gallery is complete and has some close ups as a bonus.

1-10text11-20pics11-20text

21-30text
You will notice that having started with British cards this set also has some international ones.

21-30pics31-4031-40pics41-50pics

EgPalpics
The first of eight close up pictures, each of which features two cards. Only one of the four pairs of cards chosen for this treatment is British.

EgPaltextRh-SopicsRh-SotextSSRpicsSSRtext

Undergroundpics
The only British trains to merit a close-up in my gallery.

Undergroundtext

I end this piece with another showing of the graphic that appeared in the introduction and then a final message:

AUA

ENJOY AUTISM ACCEPTANCE MONTH!!

Autism, Work and Links

The launch of a new facebook page with NAS West Norfolk connections, a bit about yesterday at work and some very interesting links.

INTRODUCTION

For the benefit of new readers it is worth reminding people that I am both NAS West Norfolk branch secretary and #actuallyautistic. Although the the National Autistic Society (NAS) has some paid staff at its London HQ branches are run by volunteers and branch money comes exclusively from fund-raising. This post therefore starts with some news from NAS West Norfolk that I consider worth sharing before continuing with a bit about yesterday at work which will include pictures and ending with some interesting links.

THE LAUNCH OF A NEW FACEBOOK PAGE

NAS West Norfolk’s Sports Co-ordinator, Grant Cotton, creator of the Autism Awareness Cup, has created a new facebook page to link all his activities. It can be viewed by clicking the image below:

YESTERDAY AT JAMES AND SONS

Yesterday was devoted to imaging as many of those lots for the March auction that were not yet images as possible (a catalogue for this auction, taking place on the 27th, 28th and 29th of March, can be viewed here). Most of the imaging I was doing yesterday was of coin lots. Here some pictures…

248-a
This is lot 248 – a seven image gallery for you to look at

248248-b248-c248-d248-e248-f

249
This is lot 249 – a four image gallery.

249-a249-b249-c

120
From here until lot 124 we are looking at hi-res scans. Although I produced my usual three-image galleries for these coins with on exception I am sharing only the main image.

119105

80
The exception – this New Zealand florin from 1934, where I choose to show the close-ups as well.

80-b80-a121122123

124
Lot 124 – the last of the scans
108
Lot 108 – the packaging indicated that three of these coins were special, so I did close ups as well as the main images

108-a108-b

108-c
The close ups

108-e108-d

107
Lot 107 – this time the packaging suggested that two of the coins deserved special attention, so they got it.

107-a107-b

107-c
The close ups.

107-e107-d

222
Lot 222
223
Lot 223. This horrible plastic tub did not have a lid, so I rehoused the lot in a nice wooden box with a fully functioning lid (I did a ‘meringue’ style test on it, turning it upside down with the coins inside, making sure that it was not too high above a flat, clear surface when I did so).
224
Lot 224.

LINKS

Most of these links are science related, so to clear the decks I shall start with the exception. This comes courtesy of Skwawkbox, and is a devastating indictment of Theresa May and her ‘sweetheart deal’ with Surrey County Council. I agree with the Skwawkbox assessment that this should be considered as resignation matter. As another blogger, Mike Sivier, put it when commenting on this same issue: “a turd by any other name would smell as faecal and this one sgtinks of big fat lie”. To read the Skwawbox piece click here.

SCIENCE 1: FROM LIVESCIENCE

Two very different pieces from the same source here. The first deals with small things (specifically spiders), the second with something very large (a nebula).

  1. Wolf spiders having threesomes (yes, you read that right). Female wolf spiders are noted for eating their mates after copulation, and it may be that if two males tackle the same female there is more chance of one of them not being cannibalised. For the full story please click on the image below:
  2. This piece is about the discovery of a huge new nebula and the attendant mystery of what its light source might be. For the full story click on the image below:

SCIENCE 2: WEIT (WITH AN ASSIST FROM YOU TUBE)

It is no great secret that I am a huge fan both of Jerry Coyne’s books (Why Evolution is True and Faith Versus Fact) and of the associated blog, whyevolutionistrueThus I am delighted to share with you the fact that a video series on  chapter one of Why Evolution Is True is now being created. Episodes 1-3 are available to watch (and highly recommended by this blogger!), and according to WEIT’s own piece about the series there are two more episodes to come (yay!). I have embedded the videos below (they run in sequence) – enjoy!