A walk, some dreadful weather and a double-booking. Also some photographs.
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.
Even in the poor weather I experienced I was able to get a few decent photographs:
A personal account of NAS West Norfolk’s 10th anniversary celebration garden party.
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.
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.
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.
A mixed bag of a post, featuring local politics, libraries, autism, science, nature and photography.
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:
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.
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):
THE GAYWOOD LIBRARY EVENT
The event at Gaywood Library is a Business Eveningat 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:
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:
A change.org petitionaimed at the sponsors of Arsenal Football Club asking them to withdraw support and so help force Kroenke out, screenshot below:
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:
Part 4, concentrating on birds including the Osprey shown below.
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…
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.
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.
Setting the scene for Autism Acceptance Month, explaining why the original title, Autism Awareness Month is no longer acceptable. Numerous links and photographs.
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:
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.
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:
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:
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 youthis link. Below is Amazing Things Happen’s own description of the video:
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…
I end this piece with another showing of the graphic that appeared in the introduction and then a final message:
The launch of a new facebook page with NAS West Norfolk connections, a bit about yesterday at work and some very interesting links.
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…
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).
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:
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, whyevolutionistrue. Thus 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 pieceabout the series there are two more episodes to come (yay!). I have embedded the videos below (they run in sequence) – enjoy!
Announcing NAS West Norfolk’s Just Giving page, and sharing a few other interesting and important bits.
I have a few other links to share as well, but this will be one of my rare posts not to feature any photographs.
THE NAS WEST NORFOLK
JUST GIVING PAGE
This was discussed and agreed on at our branch committee meeting yesterday, and is now ready for viewing. To see the page itself please click on the screenshot below:
TWO PIECES WITH TRANSPORT LINKS
The first of these two pieces is a campaign run by We Own Ittitled We Want Buses for People not Profit. For more please click the screenshot below:
My second piece with transport connections is an article by Patrick Barkham, a well known writer on nature, published in The Guardian, about a piece of road-building that is in the pipeline and if allowed to go ahead will be incredibly damaging to the environment. The development is planned because the road in question struggles to cope with the traffic that uses it. However, extending roads (as is planned in this case) or building new roads is proven not to alleviate this type of problem – it just generates even more road traffic, with attendant problems of noise, pollution and the destruction of sometimes priceless nature and habitats. Why is there so much traffic on Britain’s roads? Because our public transport system is a complete joke – and that is where attention should be devoted. To read Barkham’s article please click on the image below:
FOR AN ELECTED UPPER HOUSE
There have been recent damning revelations about the conduct of certain members of the House of Lords. The single most damning incident caught be a fly-on-the-wall documentary was of a certain peer who arrived by taxi, told the driver to keep the engine running, went into the house to trouser his £300 daily attendance allowance and then got back in the taxi. This has prompted the Electoral Reform Society to launch a petition calling for an elected upper house to replace the Lords. To view and if so inclined sign and share the petition click on the screenshot below:
ALWAYS #HELP TO GET HOME
This is a campaign launched by the NAS nationally. Full detail about the campaign is available here.There is a petition running as part of this campaign which you can access by clicking on the image below: