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

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.

Coming Up: NAS West Norfolk 10th Anniversary

Some details of the evnt planned to celebrate the 10th anniversary of NAS West Norfolk.

INTRODUCTION

Both the poster, and the facebook event that I have screenshotted and linked to are the work of NAS West Norfolk vice-chair Rachel Meerwald. Something about this may well be going out on our local radio station – I am at least half-expecting to visit them on Blackfriars Street this Thursday for that purpose (I am as my regular followers will be aware both branch secretary and #actuallyautistic). 

POSTER AND FACEBOOK EVENT

I will start with the poster:

NASWN10GP

The facebook event is more detailed, and hence required two screenshots. A left-click or its equivalent will take you to the event in question, while a right-click or equivalent will enable you among other things to view the images individually and at full size:

 

Autism 101

This infographic by Erin Human is really excellent – I urge you to study it and then share it. This is Erin’s work, so if you wish to comment you must do so on the original.

Erin Human

autism 101Autism 101

a simple neurodiversity-based explanation
[image of head with brain]

what is autism?

Autism is type of brain wiring (neurological type) that processes information differently than typical brains do.
[image of head with abstract wiring pattern]

This means that autistic thought patterns, sensory perceptions, social interactions, language processing, and emotional regulation all develop differently than those of people who are not autistic.

Modern societies operate in ways that often disadvantage autistic people, which makes autism a developmental disability.

who is autistic?

[image of globe]
About 1-2% of the world’s population is autistic.
Many populations are under-diagnosed, but autistic people are everywhere!

[image of birthday cake]
People of all ages are autistic.
Though people usually talk about autistic children, autistic adults need support too.

[image of three people with varying skin tones and hairstyles]
Autistic people are found across all genders, races, and nationalities.
Boys are diagnosed more often than…

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Autistic Pride Award: Laina’s 500th Post

My response to Laina’s magnificent 500th blog post “The Autistic Pride Award [500th Post]”.

INTRODUCTION

Laina over at thesilentwaveblog decided to do something special for her 500th blog post. The result was an absolutely splendid post, and this is my response to it. 

THE AUTISTIC PRIDE AWARD –
LAINA’S BRIEF

This section sets the scene for the remainder of the post. First here is Laina’s brief:

  1. Whoever wants to participate, participate.  I’m focusing primarily on Asperger’s/autistic people, of course, but anyone who supports autistic people and neurodiversity is welcome!
  2. Do link back to the blogger who gave you the idea 
  3. Do link back to this blog as the original creator.
  4. Describe a bit about yourself.  However much you feel comfortable saying.
  5. List your main “special interests” or areas of primary focus/niche specialties.
  6. If you’re on the spectrum yourself, describe why you’re proud to be Aspergian/autistic or what you like about being Aspergian/autistic.  
  7. If you’re not on the spectrum yourself, you can use this opportunity to describe a loved one in your life who is and what makes them awesome, or you can explain what autism means to you and why you think the world would be a better place if it were to be more embracing of autism.
  8. (Of course, you can answer more than one!  For example, someone who is autistic can also describe how much better the world would be if it was more open toward autism.)
  9. If you like, you can list other blogs or resources that are autism/neurodiversity-positive, to give them a shout-out, too.

The fact that I am writing this post demonstrates that I wish to participate (1). I was inspired the source article itself which deals with (2) and (3), and I take this opportunity to urge you not just to read Laina’s 500th post in full but also to explore her blog in more detail. Thus, the rest of this post will start with point (4) of this list.

ABOUT ME

This is my WordPress profile statement:

I am branch secretary of NAS West Norfolk and #actuallyautistic (diagnosed 10 years ago at the comparatively advanced age of 31). I am a keen photographer, so that most of my own posts contain photos. I am a keen cricket fan and often write about that subject. I also focus a lot on politics and on nature.

You can learn more about me by reading more posts on this blog, and the rest of this post. I will include photos that relate to some of my interests, and links to other blogs the relate to my interests.

SPECIAL INTERESTS

  • Photography – as many of the posts on this blog show. There are many photographic blogs that I could link to here, but I have chosen just one, Cindy Knoke’s, from which I choose to feature a post titled “Gorgeous Greece & Her Beautiful Islands“. Here is one of my fairly recent photographs:
    Castle
  • Public Transport – I am the creator of a London Transport themed website, www.londontu.be, I have blogged here about many journeys, including Inlandsbanan and The Jacobite, while the photograph above was taken through the window of a moving train. Here is a public transport related photo to end this segment:
    Farewell to the Jacobite
  • Nature and Natural History – these linked interests are lifelong. For a natural history blog I thoroughly recommend whyevolutionistrue, while for good stuff about nature I recommend Anna’s blogthis is one of her posts about nature. Here is a recent bee picture to end another segment:
    P1020327
  • Cricket – I am listening to commentary on the second T20 between England and South Africa as I write this.
  • Autism – kind of obvious given that I am both autistic and involved in an autism charity. Before moving on to autism related blogs I offer a link to the National Autistic Society website (it is a very useful resource). I have of course already linked to Laina’s blog at the very start of this post, and I also recommend strongly theunabashedautist, americanbadassadvocates and theinkedautist.  Having (including the opening link to Laina’s blog) given shout outs to four blogs by #actuallyautistic folk I finish with a link to Autism Mom.

WHAT I LIKE ABOUT BEING AUTISTIC

Many of my greatest strengths, such as my computer skills, my attention to detail, my skill at taking and editing photos are a direct product of my autism. Autism is part of who I am, and never in the ten and a half years since I was diagnosed have I wished that I was not autistic. I conclude this post with a photographic collage that I used in an auction alert email sent out yesterday:

1052 composite
I envisaged something like this when I started assembling this image – along the top we have the full lot followed by close-ups of both faces of the medal, while along the bottom we have photographs of the engraving around the rim.

A Beach Hut at Old Hunstanton

An account of the NAS West Norfolk day at the beach hut.

INTRODUCTION

I am taking a one-post break from my series about my holiday in Scotland to cover last Sunday’s NAS West Norfolk activities centred on the Mencap beach hut at Old Hunstanton which we had for the day.

GETTING THERE

Having checked on google maps to remind myself of the distance between Hunstanton and Old Hunstanton I decided to get the bus to Hunstanton and walk from there. Having a choice between Stagecoach and a local operator (Lynx) I naturally decided in favour of the local operator. This decision was rewarded with a fare that was less than I would have paid on Stagecoach:

P1010994

For a sunny Sunday in June the traffic was quite light, and the bus reached Hunstanton pretty much on schedule. I then set off on the walk to Old Hunstanton. I have stated before on this blog that the shortest route is not always the best on my reckoning, and this was another situation where my chief criterion was not shortness. For reasons that I will not insult the intelligence of my readers by elucidating my sole criterion for choosing my route was to stay as near the sea as possible.

blackbirdMap2Map1renewable energyFlying bird 2Flying bird 1renewable energy 2Lighthouse and ruined churchLighthouse and ruined church 2lighthouseP1020007ruined church 1Wolf sculptureSt Edmund and the WolfSt Edmunds doorwayAltarAltar stoneInfo Board - St Edmunds Hunstantonlighthouse2Lighthouse plaqueTowerTower plaqueCrowsnestSeaMap3Footpath marker

Old Hunstanton Beach
Old Hunstanton Beach. I initially failed to identify the correct beach hut, but after a few minutes scouting I was noticed by one of the others.

PRE-LUNCH – THE LIFEBOATS

Having got to know the beach hut some of us took the RNLI up on their kind offer of a tour as they explained about what they do, their boat and their hovercraft. This latter is one of only four in the whole country. The boat has to be towed into the water by tractor, and anyone familiar with north Norfolk beaches at low tide will therefore have little difficulty in understanding why the hovercraft which is an amphibious vehicle is sometimes necessary.

Propellers
I took these first few pictures before the initial tour – the building was open and no one attempted to stop people from looking.

PipingHovercraft frontsturdy ringsHovercraft jacketEnginesLifeboats LogoControls 2Controls 1RNLI Hovercraft1

beach friendly wheelchair
One of the bits of equipment the beach hut have – a wheelchair specially adapted for going to the beach (btw it did get used as we had someone who uses a wheelchair in our group).

31

Net
Net at the beach hut

BH

The Beach Hut
The beach hut
Ancient Mariner1
Identifying a lunch spot.

lifeboats info2Lifeboats info 1Controls 3Controls 4Hovercraft2Boat ShedPretoursignsGuide and gear

Layer 1 - warmth
The first layer of a lifeboat person’s gear – this one is for warmth
Layer 2 - waterproofing
this wetsuit with built-in wellington boots goes on next to ensure that you don;t get absolutely soaked.

L2WHelmet modelling

The helmet and lifejacket complete the outfitting
The ensemble is completed with a helmet that has a ;protective visor and a lifejacket with a few extras.

Boat -sterntrailer frameBoatMotortractor-trailer coupling

tractor cab
The cab of the tractor – it has two steering wheels and multiple openings.

Boat unleashedboat being pulled by tractorCab openingsCab2

TS1
This tractor has particularly large wheels – that is me standing next to one of them.

TS2TS3HC2H-003

LUNCH

I went to the Ancient Mariner for lunch, and it was quite excellent. I also had an outside table, which meant opportunities for taking photos.

BeachKitesurfing

Cliff formation from Old Hunstanton Beach
Cliff face viewed from Old Hunstanton beach

LN

Ghostship
A pint of Adnams Ghostship – excellent for a sunny day in June

82Kitesurfing2Kitesurfing3Renewable Emergy4Renewable energy 5Kitesurfing5Renewable energy 6Renewable energy 7ALOHBLighthouse and cliffOHB2Flying gullShells OHBLadybirdP1020105P1020096

P1020094
These are a subject of some controversy – personally I find this view, which shows humans at long last attempting to take care of their planet to be a lovely one.

P1020104P1020002

Politics, Nature and Autism

A mix of politics, nature and autism.

INTRODUCTION

This is a collection of interesting things I have seen on the internet recently. They are grouped broadly in three categories, the second of which includes a few pictures I took today.

POLITICS

I start this section with an important open letter from Make Votes Matter. Below is a screenshot of the beginning of the letter. This is formatted as a link so that you can add your name to the open letter should you wish to:

Open Letter

My only link in this section, which forms a natural segue to the nature section, is to a thunderclap organised by Team4Nature and tagged #VoteForHopeVoteForChange. Below is a screenshot which also functions as a link:

voteforchange

NATURE

I am going to start this section with another thunderclap, before sharing a couple of recent posts from Anna that caught my attention and finally ending this section with some of my own photographs. 

THUNDERCLAP: 30 DAYS WILD

This one has been launched by The Wildlife Trusts and the screenshot below links to it:

30dayswild

ANNA’S POSTS

The first of the two recent posts from Anna that I am sharing is titled “Which Future Do You Wanna Give The Next Generation?“. This post contains both Swedish and English text, and is in particular focused on the campaign to Save Trosa Nature. Here is Anna’s picture from that post:

The second post from Anna is titled “Old Tjikko” and starts by introducing us to the world’s oldest tree (9,500 years old since you ask). It concludes with a marvellous tree infographic which is reproduced below:

Time now for some…

PHOTOGRAPHS

These were all taken today…

DSCN6510
Other than moving the tree pic to the top of the pile (see the end of the previous section for clarification) these are in the order in which they were taken (tree pic was no 6 originally).

DSCN6506DSCN6507

DSCN6509
This one is a bit blurry because it was taken very quickly.

DSCN6508DSCN6511DSCN6512

DSCN6514

DSCN6515DSCN6516

AUTISM

I saw this article on www.independent.co.uk today and knew I would have to share it. It is titled “People with autism can hear more than most – which can be a strength and a challenge“, and the content lives up to the title, more of it being devoted to pointing up the strength than the challenge. I offer both a screenshotted quote and a picture by way of aperitif:

quote

adam-mandela-walden.jpg

I end this post with yet another reference to the rainbow coloured infinity symbol that Laina at thesilentwaveblog introduced me and many others to. The version below is an envisaged centrepiece for the front cover of the 2018 Calendar (see this post for more on my calendars) and features my name in white text incorporated into the symbol and the addresses of this blog and my London transport themed website in each loop:

Personalised symbol-page-0