The penultimate post in my Pensthorpe series, dealing with the Explorer ride.
This is the fourth post in my series about my part in the West Norfolk Autism Group excursion to Pensthorpe on Saturday. This one looks at the trip on the explorer which showed as the stuff we could not get on foot.
AN INFORMATIVE JOURNEY
With the explorer due to leave at 12:00 I was ready for it by 11:50, and I got an excellent seat, at the front left of the trailer (most of the really interesting sights are off to the left as one travels, so sitting on the left side of the vehicle is a good idea). Our driver/guide gave us extraordinarily wide ranging information of everything from present arrangements at Pensthorpe, to the effects of WWII on the land (food shortages meant that every last ounce of crop had to be extracted from the land, which meant that the soil was hugely overworked and took a long time to recover), to the history of human settlement at Pensthorpe, to details of Pensthorpe’s position at the southern edge of the northern ice-sheet during the last era of glaciation and the effect that that had on the local landscape. There were also details about oak trees, and how the three survivors of the great storm of 1987 could be proven to be such (oaks don’t produce acorns until they are 40 years old or more, which means that an acorn bearing oak dates from 1983 at the earliest, and all three trees are acorn bearing), nesting boxes of various kinds (three different species of owl were catered for, plus bats (specifically pipistrelles, a tiny species about the size of a human thumb) whose boxes were organized in a group of three at different angles, as bats don’t like to be warm, so need to be able to move out of the sun), and other nesting platforms. The ecological importance of the Wensum, as a chalk river, was also stressed. One part of our route had once been a railway line, transporting goods (it never had a passenger service), which fell victim to Dr Beeching 60 years ago.
It was a cold journey due to the weather, which is one reason why I did not go round a second time, but it was very enjoyable in spite of the conditions.
A look at the Natural History Museum and possible alternatives to a straight to/from South Kensington, plus a related twitter thread. Note that the ideas around the museum are strictly for thinking about for the future.
To start a brief warning: the main attraction at the heart of this post is closed at the time of writing and even if things go according to Johnson’s ‘road map out of lockdown’ it will be some while before it reopens and before travelling for leisure is again safe. By all means note the things I write about here down for future reference but please do not attempt to put plans into practice just yet.
This post was inspired by a thread posted on twitter by the Natural History Museum earlier today, which I shall be saying more about later.
POSSIBLE ADDITIONS TO AN NHM VISIT
The Natural History Museum is served along with a number of other attractions by South Kensington Station (Circle, District and Piccadilly lines, subject of two station posts on my other site – here and here) and you can choose whether to use the underground passage that links the station to the museums or walk at surface level, where you will see some fine wrought ironwork.
Once you have enjoyed the museum, the logical next step is to visit Hyde Park, and there are stations all around that park that you could use as the station from which to begin your journey home. You could also head into London’s West End, where after Marble Arch you could choose Bond Street, Oxford Circus, Piccadilly Circus by walking along Regent Street, or go a little north to Baker Street, home to the Sherlock Holmes Museum and Madame Tussaud’s. Also you could extend your walk in a westerly direction, aiming for Notting Hill Gate. For those interested in a longer walk you could continue beyond Baker Street and take in Regent’s Park. Here are a few map pictures of various kinds to conclude this section:
THE TWITTER THREAD
The Natural History Museum today put out a superb 13 tweet thread about a very recent meteorite strike (a tiny meteorite which did no serious damage – it’s journey through the earth’s atmosphere lit up the skies on the night of February 28) and about that object’s journey, a story four billion years or so in the making and yet 13 tweets in the telling. A screenshot of the start of the thread is below, and you can read it in full by clicking here.
For more about these sorts of objects I recommend the book “Comet”, by Carl Sagan and Ann Druyan:
A very brief usual sign off – I have been unable to get out today since I am waiting for someone to examine an issue with my drains – they should have been and gone by now…
Continuing my account of the family outing to the Eden Project.
In my last post I began my coverage of a family outing to the Eden Project, and in this post I continue it with my coverage of the new building next to the biomes, which is dedicated to stuff which is usually invisible.
MAKING THE INVISIBLE VISIBLE
This was time extremely well spent. As is my way I tell the rest of the story in pictures:
My next and final post about the Eden Project will deal with the Mediterranean Biome where we finished our visit.
The first of several posts about the Eden Project in my series about my Cornish winter holiday.
After a brief aside it is time to resume my coverage of my Cornish winter holiday with the first of what will be several posts about the Eden Project.
This was a family trip, and we travelled from my parents place by car. There is generous car parking provision, but you can also travel there by public transport (train to St Austell and then a connecting bus to the Eden Project). We just missed a bus from the car park to the visitors centre and walked there instead. This was my second visit, but the place had developed so massively from my first visit that it was effectively a new experience. After the purchase of tickets we decided what to do. We settled on the Walk Through Time, the new building and the Mediterranean Biome (the biomes, as you will see are remarkable structures whose architecture owes much to the legendary Richard Buckminster Fuller). Here are some early pictures before I take you on the walk through time:
THE WALK THROUGH TIME
This is a wonderful lead in to the biomes and the new building, and there is only one real way to tell it, especially for me:
Continuing my account of my visit to Cornwall, with the ascent of St Michael’s Mount.
Welcome to the latest post in my series about my stay in Cornwall. This post takes us up St Michael’s Mount and covers some of the stuff at the top. There will be at least two and possibly three more posts about the day.
BASE CAMP (!)
Among the places at ground level, before the ascent begins are the restaurant where we would be having lunch and a visitor’s centre which provides a comprehensive introduction. After these one passes through a field that contains a dairy cottage before the ascent begins.
THE ASCENT BEGINS
The climb up to the buildings on top of the mount begins by way of The Pilgrims Steps, continues past the Giant’s Well and the Giant’s Heart and a cannon emplacement. Then comes the first indoor section and a roof terrace where we pause until the next post in this series…
An account of the autism friendly panto night at the Corn Exchange and a petition on behalf of small cetaceans.
Originally I was only going to post about the Panto, but I felt that the petition that forms the second half of this post deserved extra publicity, so this is very much a two part post.
NAS WEST NORFOLK
Those of you who have been following this blog a for a while will recall that last year NAS West Norfolk had block booked seats for the autism friendly showing of Cinderella. We repeated the trick this year for Jack and the Beanstalk. We booked 120 seats for our group, and only a handful went unused. As with last year’s Panto the venue was the magnificent King’s Lynn Corn Exchange:
The performance was excellent – hugely entertaining. One of the youngsters attending as part of our block booking got so into the performance that he did some impromptu dancing of his own!
The villain of Jack and the Beanstalk is of course the giant, but as any fule kno it is the little weed who tags along with the bully urging them to throw another punch who is most hated of all, so the pantomime villain of Jack and the Beanstalk is the giant’s henchman. The actor playing that role was a most satisfactory villain, his every appearance attracting a veritable storm of boos.
I am delighted to report that all of the feedback about that evening has been positive. Here are some pictures from inside the auditorium (not from the performance of course – there are limits!).
In 2009, Ric O’Barry visited Broome in Australia to lobby the council to suspend its sister relationship with Taiji, Japan over the dolphin drives hunts. Following a special screening of the film, ‘The Cove’, the Broome Shire Council agreed. Just two months later, the council reversed its decision. Choosing to capitulate to its large, local, Japanese community, Broome retracted its pledge and issued a full apology to Taiji town.
Once again, the Dolphin Project is urging Broome to stop condoning the slaughter and to take a stance against this cruel and unnecessary assault on wildlife.
In 13 years (2000-2013), a total of 19,092 small cetaceans were victims of the dolphin drives in Taiji, Japan. This included 17,686 slaughtered dolphins and 1,406 live-captures. Last season alone, 902 dolphins were driven into the cove. More than two-thirds were slaughtered and 117 were earmarked for the captive display industry — [Source: Ceta-Base.org].
This brought back memories for me of my first visit to Australia, a long time ago, and before I developed an interest in photography. Broome was one of the places we visited and stayed a few days. I did not actually see any dolphins there, but had done a few days earlier at Monkey Mia (this is near Hamelin Pool, where on can – and I did – see living stromatolites).
I end this post with: C’mon Broome – you can do better than this!
My response to Laina’s magnificent 500th blog post “The Autistic Pride Award [500th Post]”.
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 –
This section sets the scene for the remainder of the post. First here is Laina’s brief:
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!
Do link back to the blogger who gave you the idea
Do link back to this blog as the original creator.
Describe a bit about yourself. However much you feel comfortable saying.
List your main “special interests” or areas of primary focus/niche specialties.
If you’re on the spectrum yourself, describe why you’re proud to be Aspergian/autistic or what you like about being Aspergian/autistic.
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.
(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.)
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.
This is my WordPress profile statement:
I am branch secretary of NAS West Norfolkand #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.
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:
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:
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 blog – this is one of her posts about nature. Here is a recent bee picture to end another segment:
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:
From livescience.com (please note that as this is a post I am sharing from elsewhere rather than one of my own comments are closed)
By sifting through minuscule remnants of ancient solar-system crashes, called micrometeorites, researchers found that the most common types of meteorites today used to be quite rare — and the rarest ones used to be common.
The title section of this post refers to today’s activites at James and Sons, but I also have some important links and quality infographics to share. On the subject of sharing, I hope that some of you are encouraged to share this post.
ADVERTS AND IMAGING
Today was productive, but not as productive as it might have been due to the fact that my efforts on the imaging front were interrupted by the need to send a couple of very basic adverts to the Diss Express and the Bury Free Press respectively about collector’s fair. A copy of one of the ads is below and I will provide links to the original word documents for both…
COLLECTORS FAIR AND AUCTION VALUATION DAY
WEDNEDAY 5TH AUGUST
STOWMARKET FOOTBALL CLUB 10AM TO 3PM
A wide range of coins, stamps, postcards,
banknotes, militaria etc. for sale.
The imaging workload was nicely varied, featuring most kinds of item we sell save for militaria…
The coin lots I choose to share come in the form of high resolution scans…
The stamps were all in albums and hence required the use of the camera…
EPHEMERA AND TOYS
These items were also done with the camera, and apart from a few football programs I will sharing the full range. The items categorised as toys are actually as you will see collector’s models – not intended to be played with…
To end the section on today at work, some more scans, this time of postcards…
I do not have as many links as sometimes, but they are all very important, starting with…
CECIL THE LION
This is a story about a self-indulgent rich bastard (I make no apologies for the strong language – I do not often resort to it) from Minnesota named Walter James Palmer and an African icon. The circumstances of this particular piece of “trophy hunting” – Mr Palmer apparently has a long history of such activities – have generated it vast international publicity. The lion was decoyed out of the protected area in which it lived by bait, shot with a crossbow and ultimately finished off with a rifle – all so a rich American could indulge his perverted sense of fun. I have two links for further information about the story: