Some autism related links, and some photos from Musical Keys.
As NAS West Norfolk branch secretary and an #actuallyautistic person I always like to share good stuff about autism. I am including within this a piece that is not directly about autism but relates to many of the issues that autistic people highlight.
Some cricket, some music including references to the Classic FM Hall of Fame, some stuff about upcoming local elections and some photographs.
An odd combination of topics to appear in a title, but all will be made clear in the course of this post. There will of course be some of my photographs as well.
The English cricket season is well underway. Because of an alteration to the structure of the two divisions of first class counties last season to a first division of eight teams and a second division of ten teams, it is now possible for all 18 first class counties to be in action simultaneously, as was not the case when there were nine teams in each division. Over this Easter weekend, for the first time since 1999 (the last season of the single division championship) all 18 of said sides have been in action. Glamorgan lost heavily to Worcestershire before today was underway. Leicestershire had also suffered an innings defeat at the hands of Gloucestershire. Essex and Somerset also finished early, a century from Alastair Cook anchoring Essex in their fourth innings chase of 255. Warwickshire only kept their match against Yorkshire alive into the fourth day because of some assistance from the weather, and having started the season with back to back innings defeats, and three shocking batting performances out of four innings, they must be considered heavy favourites for one of the relegation spots from division 1. Of the five remaining matches, Nottinghamshire are nearly done and dusted against Durham (since I wrote this Nottinghamshire have completed the job as expected, with nine wickets in hand), and it would also seem to be only a matter of time before Kent finish the job against Sussex (this match has also subsequently reached its predicted conclusion). A draw looks the most likely result in the Surrey versus Lancashire, although Surrey are not out of the woods yet. Hampshire and Middlesex also looks like being a draw, although again the Londoners are not quite safe yet. That leaves only…
DERBYSHIRE VERSUS NORTHAMPTONSHIRE
Overnight this also looked like a draw was the most likely result, with Derbyshire 128 runs to the good with 10 second winnings standing. However, some behind the scenes discussions obviously took place, since Northamptonshire spent the morning session of today feeding Derbyshire easy runs, handing Reece (168) and Godleman (156 not out) a new record opening stand for Derbyshire. A declaration at 351-1 left Northamptonshire two sessions to score 326 for victory. Whatever happens in these two session neither team will emerge from this match with much credit in my book. While Northamptonshire’s motivation was obvious, Derbyshire could easily have declined the offer, backing their batsmen to score off proper bowling.
The long Easter weekend is when the Classic FM Hall of Fame is unveiled. It is assembled from listener votes. Each participant votes for their first, second and third favourite pieces of classical music, and the votes are all tallied up. The Hall of Fame comprises the top 300 pieces that emerge at the end of the process, and they are played counting down from 300 to 1 between 10AM and 10PM on each day of the weekend (it used when it first started to be 9AM to 9PM). This is the first occasion on which there has been a clash between the Hall of Fame and live cricket. I have resolved that clash by listening to the cricket when it has been on five live sports extra, and to the music at other times. The only exception to this was on Saturday afternoon, when it was time for…
A shortage of available NAS West Norfolk Committee members meant that I was there for both sessions. The attendances were unsurprisingly low in both sessions. However, those who were able to make it had a good time. In the second session I renewed my acquaintanceship with Scratch 2, and next time I shall be moving on to another aspect of this program. Here are some pictures…
Various places in the UK will be going to the polls on May 4th. Last time I mentioned this subjectI said that I was between Labour and Green, and leaning towards Green. Since then, although I have yet to receive anything from any candidates a search of the King’s Lynn & West Norfolk borough councilwebsite turned up the following information about who was standing:
In view of the fact that there are three candidates in this list of four for whom I am absolutely unwilling to vote and that I regard failing to vote as unacceptable my vote will therefore go to Mr Collis, and I urge others who are voting in this election to cast their votes for Mr Collis as well.
Moving on from my own area, there also elections taking place much more extensively in Wales and Scotland.
The big debate in Scotland at the moment is over whether or not there should be a second independence referendum (#IndyRef2) following the UK’s decision to withdraw from the EU, when Scotland was strongly pro-remain. It is not for me as a Sassenach to comment on whether or not Scottish independence is desirable since the only people who should be making decisions about the future of Scotland are the Scots, but I do believe that brexit is a sufficiently major change in circumstances as justify #IndyRef2, especially since one of the main claims of the no camp in 2014 was that an independent Scotland would not be able to join the EU. It would appear, if the article to which I link at the end of this section is anything to go on that the Tories seek to make the local elections in Scotland a sort of ‘pre-referendum’. Anyway, here courtesy of the website indyref2.scot, is a post that goes into detail on the issue, titled “Sending a message“.
I posted some photographs in the music section of this post, and I finish the post with some pictures mainly from outside…
ENDNOTE – CRICKET REVISITED
During the time it took to put the above photos up both Middlesex & Hampshire and Surrey & Lancashire have shaken hands on the predicted draws. These means that only the ‘declaration bowling’ game between Derbyshire and Northamptonshire is still to be settled.
A personal account of yesterday’s Musical Keys at the scout hut on Beulah Street and a walk on either side of the session.
Musical Keys sessions happened at the scout hut on Beulah Street yesterday. I was there both as NAS West Norfolk branch secretary and someone who enjoys the session. With it staying light later in the evening and yesterday being pretty benign for an early March day in England I got two good walks in on either side of my session.
I made a quick visit to King’s Lynn library before heading for the scout hut by way of the Broad Walk and the Sandringham Railway Path. I had sufficient spare time to take some photographs en route…
AT THE SCOUT HUT
I arrived with the youngsters session still in progress – here are some pictures I took before my session started.
Before getting into details of what I did, I have a short subsection about…
A SPEAKER SYSTEM FROM Q BRANCH
This is best shown in a series of photographs…
I was on the computer, using Scratch 2. Once again I consider a series of photographs to do a better job than words…
THE JOURNEY HOME
Once the session finished, and the clearing up and locking up was done it was time for the walk back. I journeyed back by a different route, heading for Bawsey Drain, the Tuesday Market Place and King Street. Here are some photographs from this walk.
My renaming of Mr Davies as the Downright Dishonourable Phil E Buster (Con, Shipley) is because he has a long and disgraceful record of such behaviour and because in Britain this kind of behaviour is known as filibustering. It is right and proper to condemn this kind of behaviour, especially in relation to a bill that is about tackling domestic violence (being put forward by Eilidh Whiteford of the SNP), but that leads on to the next question…
WHAT SHALL WE DO ABOUT IT?
Tight time limits on speaking should be set in place as a matter of urgency and they need to be enforced rigorously. I believe that as well as being arrogant and contemptuous this “tactic” is deeply antidemocratic and cowardly (if you think you can defeat the bill you should present a coherent argument against it and back yourself to win the vote). The time limits should be a proportion of the total time set aside for the bill to be discussed, and will therefore vary according to circumstances. As for the punishments, I suggest a rugby style three tier approach, making the punishment fit the offences as follows:
For a first offence a ban on speaking for 1 weeks worth of parliamentary sessions (the equivalent of being sent to the sin bin).
For a second offence a ban on speaking for 1 months worth of parliamentary sessions (yellow card in rugby terms)
For a third offence automatic termination of parliamentary career on ground of unfitness for office, thus triggering a by-election, and of course debarring the offender from ever standing for elected office again. This is the red card equivalent.
This approach to dealing with what has become a serious problem mirrors my approach the curse of slow over rates in cricket, which I would deal with by the insertion of the following clause into the laws of the game:
The bowling side is required to deliver 30 overs per session (i.e 15 per hour) and at the end of each session if they have failed to achieve this their opponents will be awarded penalty runs for the unbowled overs at a rate of 10 per over or double the batting side’s scoring rate, whichever is the greater.
Note the inclusion of an insurance policy to make sure that the measure is absolutely guaranteed to be properly punitive.
Regular visitors to this site will know that I always like to include pictures in my blog posts, so here are some:
An illustrated account of yesterdays Musical Keys session at the Scout Hut, Beulah Street.
Yesterday was a Musical Keys day for me and others associated with the NAS West Norfolk branch. Attendances were somewhat affected by the fact that an autism friendly event was also taking place at Norwich Castle. This post briefly covers the session I attended, from 4PM to 5PM (as usual there had been an earlier session for the younger ones).
I left my flat a little earlier than usual, opting for the Bawsey Drain route. I was carrying a guitar with me to donate to the group always assuming that it could be restored to usable condition (it was a long time since it had last been used). I picked up a few pictures along the way…
THE SESSION ITSELF
John who runs the sessions confirmed that he could make the guitar usable again (it would need new strings but was still capable of generating good sound). Once the session started I found myself using a computer program called Scratch to generate notes. Each note is assigned a numerical value by the program, and you the operator then assign each of these numerical values to a button on the keyboard…
The default instrument is a piano, but there is a range of some 25 instruments available – I eventually settled on clarinet as my instrument of choice. There are then a whole range of other options available, such as programming the cat to move while you are playing notes and even it draw lines as it moves. Here are a few more pictures.
I very much enjoyed this session, and I think this makes an excellent addition to real instruments. Although it was dark by the time I walked back, just before leaving I spotted an eight-legged friend…
A good news story about nature from the village of Balcombe, West Sussex, a King’s Lynn walk, some stuff about music and a few other things.
This post incorporates a King’s Lynn walk but also features plenty of other stuff.
This morning I reblogged a post by Anna about the folk of Trosa and their continuing fight to preserve their nature from greedy road builders. I start this section of the post with:
GOOD NEWS FROM WEST SUSSEX
The small village of Balcombe, West Sussex (and having done a walk in that part of the country some years back I can confirm that it is indeed small) was targeted not so long ago by fracking villains Cuadrilla. Not only have they beaten back the frackers, they are on the way to becoming a solar-powered village. Please watch the video below for more:
This is what new developments for the 21st century should look like – big new roads are so last century!
A KING’S LYNN WALK
Although it was not terribly inviting outside I went for a walk this afternoon, taking in the Great Ouse, our river. Here are a few pictures:
At this point I saw a rare visitor to King’s Lynn –
A GREY HERON
Here is a picture taken looking across the Great Ouse, and the page of my bird book that gives info about the Grey Heron:
After the Grey Heron there were no more exceptional sights but a few more photo-worthy moments:
As part of today’s Hili Dialogue, Grania at WEIT mentioned that among those born on this day (happy birthday Ayaan Hirsi Ali) were Leopold Mozart (father of the more famous Mozart) and Fanny Mendelssohn (older sister of Felix) and linked to this video of a performance of Leopold’s Toy Symphony, which I offer you below:
Also, last Saturday was a Musical Keys session, and I have a few photos from there:
WHAT IS NORMAL?
I found this infographic on twitter and had to share it – I think it is splendid:
HONEST AND DISHONEST PHOTO EDITING
I have shown you some examples of honestly edited photos already in this post. What follows focusses on dishonestly edited photos. Two “newspapers” whose names I refuse to give, one owned by the fourth Viscount Rothermere and on which the good folk of Liverpool refuse to buy, produced photographs purporting to show Jeremy Corbyn dancing towards the Cenotaph yesterday (Remembrance Sunday). To do this their photo editors had cropped out from their original picture the 92 year-old WWII veteran who Mr Corbyn was accompanying and who hotly denies any suggestion that he was dancing:
Musical Keys, Cricket, Photography and some links.
The title of this post refers to Saturday’s Musical Keys session at the Scout Hut on Beulah Street (a place that by now is almost as familiar to me as my own humble abode such is the number of events I have attended there). I also have plenty of other stuff to share.
Having missed the previous Musical Keys session because I was attending the “Marxism and Nature” Day Schoolin London (well done to the International Socialism Journal team, you organised a great event) I was anticipating this session more eagerly than usual. Then came the news that the branch chair would probably not be able to attend as her son was playing up, which meant that I would be the sole NAS West Norfolk committee member present.
THE WALK THERE
I decided to go via Bawsey Drain (there was no decision to make as regards the mode of transport although it is a longish walk) and I was able to take some pictures along the way.
THE SESSION ITSELF
I was specifically requested to take pictures during this session by John and Kirsten, who run the sessions for Musical Keys. Therefore I have lots of pictures. The session began with the focus exclusively on a kind of wooden drum, shaped like a three dimensional capital T, which had been cunningly wired up to a computer.
Later in the session people were encouraged to try other instruments – two electronic keyboards were available and both were used, I sampled an acoustic guitar and also an electric bass guitar, and a single drum was available for most of the session, with the full set (which tends to drown out everything else) in action for the last few minutes.
SOME FINAL THOUGHTS ON THE BANGLADESH – ENGLAND SERIES
The result of the second match in this two match series, which I celebrated here, was splendid not just for Bangladesh, but also for cricket as a whole. England now head for a five match series in India, where they can confidently expect every pitch to be turning from minute one of every match (and can have no complaints given the number of times they have had sub-continental teams play on green seamers at places such as Durham and Leeds early in the English season). Frankly having seen how England have handled spin friendly conditions in Bangladesh, India should probably reckon that any series outcome other than 5-0 to them is a disappointment.
England this series have been exposed in several areas:
Top order batting – in four completed innings the top five contributed only three individual scores above 50 between them, one a piece for Joe Root, Moeen Ali and Ben Duckett. Cook’s 39 in his final innings of the series was his best effort, while Ballance failed badly in all four innings, being out to a particularly gruesome shot in the final one.
Spin bowling – of the four front-line spinners played by England in this series (Moeen Ali, Adil Rashid, Zafar Ansari and Gareth Batty) none produced a really convincing performance overall, although Moeen Ali took five wickets during Bangladesh’s collapse from 170-1 to 220 all out in the first innings at Dhaka and Rashid 4-52 in second innings of that same match. England, in a spin dominated series, were saved from complete embarrassment by Ben Stokes who captured 11 wickets at 10.09 to be their joint leading wicket taker, as well as being their leading run scorer.
Captaincy – Alastair Cook had an even poorer series in this respect than he did with the bat. Whenever the spinners were bowling they had right from the word go fielders at deep long off and at deep point – meaning that singles were always easily obtainable. These field setting seem horribly like covering the bad ball (of which it must be said there were far too many from all of England’s spinners).
I am going to finish this section with individual player ratings for all those used by England (the player of the series on either side was Mehedi of Bangladesh btw).
Alastair Cook (C): a poor series with the bat and a poorer one as captain. Rating 3/10.
Ben Duckett: looked unconvincing in his first three innings, but redeemed himself to an extent in the fourth – his approach in that innings got Bangladesh on the back foot. His dismissal straight after tea in that innings was the trigger for Bangladesh’s greatest ever session in the field in test cricket. Rating 5/10
Joe Root: a gritty 50 in the first innings at Dhaka when no one else offered serious resistance until the partnership between Rashid and Woakes was his only major contribution with the bat. Rating 5/10
Gary Ballance: after his first three innings of this series I commented that he was not batting long enough to know what sort of form he was in. His fourth innings was equally brief, but the shot with which it ended was truly dreadful. Rating 0/10
Moeen Ali: a useful 50 in Chittagong, and wickets in both games. However as an off-spinner he was comprehensively outclassed by 19 year old Mehedi on the other side. Rating 7/10
Ben Stokes: England’s player of the series, his 85 at Chittagong was England’s highest individual score of the series, he was the teams overall leading run scorer and joint leading wicket taker (this latter in a series were quick bowlers were mainly bystanders). Without his efforts this series would certainly have been 2-0 to Bangladesh. Rating 9/10
Jonny Bairstow (WK): A competent series with gloves in difficult conditions and a fifty in the first match. Rating 6/10
Zafar Ansari: his selection in place of fellow Surrey man Batty for the second match of the series gave England a more varied bowling attack, and he picked up a couple of wickets. He failed to contribute with the bat. Rating 4/10
Chris Woakes: significant contributions with the bat in both matches, though his bowling was not of much significance in this series. Rating 5/10
Adil Rashid: A useful batting effort in the first innings at Dhaka, when he and Woakes rescued their supposed betters and gave England a lead, his bowling in favourable conditions was disappointing. Rating 5/10
Stuart Broad: Bowled well at Chittagong, was rested for Dhaka. Rating 5/10
Gareth Batty: His selection for this tour at the age of 39 and after a 12 year hiatus in his international career was a major indictment of English spin bowling, and he contributed little in the one match he played, at Chittagong. Rating 2/10
Stephen Finn: Came in for Stuart Broad at Dhaka, and his only contribution of note was to become the answer to the quiz question “whose dismissal gave Bangladesh their first ever test victory against England?” Rating 1/10
FAWKES IN THE WALKS
This has historically been a very successful event and I hope it will be so again. However, as an autistic person who reacts badly to sudden loud noises, I would also like to say that fireworks should be restricted to official displays of this sort.