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:

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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.

Scotland – The Museum of All Shells

Continuing my account of my holiday in Scotland with a piece about shells.

INTRODUCTION

Welcome to the latest installment in my series of posts about my holiday in Scotland. 

EXPLANATION

One of the things I identified early on about where we were located was the preponderance of shells of various kinds. I decided therefore to include a post dedicated to them. I took my title from a chapter in Richard Dawkins’ “Climbing Mount Improbable”.

Climbing Mount ImprobableMuseum of All Shells textMuseum of All Shells pic

As with all activities on this holiday I adhered strictly to the policy outlined in this infographic of my own creation:

Enjoy Nature Infographic

THE MUSEUM OF ALL SHELLS

Here to conclude the post are the shell pictures:

Shell1Shell2Shell3Shell4Shell5P1000378Shells (scallop)Shell6Shell7399Shell9Shells (3+)Shell10Shell11Shells (3)Shell12Shell13Shell14Shells (many)Shells - 3Razor Clam and musselsMusselsClear WaterMussel and shell

 

Scotland – Applecross

An account of then time spent in Applecross on my recent Scottish holiday.

INTRODUCTION

Welcome to the latest post in my series about my Scottish holiday. This post deals with the village of Applecross. 

LUNCH AND A WALK

We ate our sandwich lunches right by the water before setting off on a walk round the bay on which Applecross sits. 

843844845847849850851Clear Water 2855856857858860861862863Holy Well865Yellow Flowers868869Gulls871872Highland cowsHighland cows 2black highland cow876877878black backed gullAtlantic salmon lifestyle881882883884Atlantic salmon piclantic salmon info board887Black highland cow 2889890891892893894895Maelrubha info boardGaelic info boardnewer churchnewer church 2900901old church903904907908909

The Saint's Burial Place
:Possibly the spot where St Maelrubha was buried.

THE SECOND HALF OF THE WALK

The Heritage Centre was closed due to a funeral, so we turned back after a while in the churchyard. 

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Beetle
Earnest theologian to renowned biologist J B S Haldane “what have your studies of nature told you about god?” Haldane’s response: “that he is inordinately fond of beetles!”

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Outside table at a coffee shop we visited just before leaving applecross

Scotland: Setting the Scene

Setting the scene for a series of posts about my recent holiday in Scotland.

INTRODUCTION

Welcome to this first in what will be a substantial series of posts about my recent holiday in Scotland. Although I still have a lot of photo editing to do from said holiday I do now have enough photos at my disposal to start the series, and I will look to interleave the rest of the editing with producing posts for you. 

THE HOLIDAY TIMELINE

I travelled up on May 26th and back on June 4th. These two dates were entirely taken up with travelling (14 hours each way approximately). In between these two days there were:

  • Saturday – most of the day spent waiting for my parents to arrive so we could go up to the house that would be our base for the week, three miles from Kyle of Lochalsh.
  • Sunday – a quiet day featuring some walking in the immediate vicinity of the house
  • Monday – A walk to Kyle of Lochalsh, lunch there and a bus back. A quiet afternoon. 
  • Tuesday – a visit to the Talisker Distillery on the Isle of Skye.
  • Wednesday – a brief visit to Plockton to book the a table at the Plockton Inn for supper, a trip to Applecross and then back to Plockton for the supper (the birthday meal).
  • Thursday – The Jacobite Rail Journey (steam train between Fort William and Mallaig, a section of railway known to vast numbers of movie goers as the route of the Hogwarts Express).
  • Friday – the final full day.

THE LOCATION

Kyle of Lochalsh is on the mainland of northwestern Scotland, very close to the Isle of Skye, to which it is nowadays linked by a road bridge. Ferry Cottage, where we were staying is located at Glaick (pronounced Glike), three miles from Kyle of Lochalsh. Here are some maps for further clarification:

Decorative MapWestern Isles Map, Ferry CottageMap, Ferry CottageLocal MapJigmap1Jigmap6Jigmap7

SOME PHOTOGRAPHS FROM THE AREA

Here are a few photos from the immediate area in which we were staying:

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Kyleaking from above
Kyleakin viewed from high above
Ferry Cottage
Ferry Cottage, where we stayed.

Skye Bridge from above

Kyle of Lochalsh from above
Kyle of Lochalsh from above

Loch Alsh from the bridgeKyle and the minor bridgeKyle of Lochalsh from the bridgeView from the Skye BridgeUnder Bridge ViewLighthouse below bridgeSkye Bridge minorSkye Bridge both bits

Balmacara House to Craggan Cottage2
These last two pictures show the stretch of shoreline that includes Ferry Cottage.

Balmacara House to Craggan Cottage

THOMAS’ CALENDAR CHALLENGE

I saw some quite amazing scenery while in Scotland, and it has become something of a tradition to produce a photographic wall calendar each year. A number of my Scottish pictures will undoubtedly feature. If in the course of this series of posts you see a picture that catches your eye as worth a place in the calendar there are two things I invite you to do:

  1. Post a comment identifying the photo that has caught your eye and/ or…
  2. Create a blog post about the picture that has caught your eye explaining what it means to you and why you think it should be included. If you do this I will reblog your post.

Should you succeed in convincing me to include the picture in my calendar I will give you credit for doing so. I end with two final pictures, the second of which is almost certain to be in the calendar:

Double Framed Lighthouse
A rarity – the lighthouse is framed twice over, once by the bridge and once by the masts of the boat in the foreground.
steamer1
This is the view across Loch Alsh from outside Ferry Cottage on a sunny day (yes, Scotland does have such things) with the additional feature of the world’s last remaining ocean going paddle steamer – this will almost certainly be in the calendar.

Science and Nature

Some of the best science and nature related pieces I have recently come across.

INTRODUCTION

Having started the day with a science related squib I finish it with a full length post concerned with Science and Nature. As this is a post where all the text will be the same colour please not that links are in bold and underlined. Before proceeding here is a list of all of today’s previous posts:

PART ONE: A VARIETY OF SHARES

I am building up for big finish by dealing with everything else first in a single section. I am going to start with…

A REPORT FROM SUMOFUS.ORG

The campaign group sumofus.org have produced a definitive report to the effect that we do not need bee killing pesticides to feed the world. For detailed information on where we are with the fight to save bees please click on the graphic below:

sumofus.jpg

THUNDERCLAP: #GARDENS4NATURE

Yes another thunderclap for those of you who are on social media to support. Click on the screenshot below for more…

Gardens4Nature

THE EDEN PROJECT

The Eden Project in Cornwall, of which I have very fond memories, has just added to its laurels by winning VisitEngland’s award for Inclusive Tourism. Thus I have two links, each accompanied by a screenshot to share:

  1. The disabledgo blog piece detailing this latest success for the Eden Project.
    Eden Project VisitEngland award
  2. The Eden Project’s own website.

A LEGAL WAY PAST PAYWALLS

I am indebted to WEIT for this. It is an app that is free to download. For more details please visit the WEIT article on this:

PART 2: SOME FANTASTIC EVOLUTION MEMES

I found these on twitter by way of their creator, whose twitter name is Lord Cropes. Below is the particular meme which caught my attention:

EvolutioninAction

This is just one of 129 memes of this type that he has created, and you can view all of them by way of the website pinkheretic.com. Here is one more to further whet your appetite:

PART THREE: PHOTOGRAPHS

I finish with some of my own photographs:

Moorhen + chicks
An adult moorhen and two chicks
Moorhen and chicks
Adult and two chicks close together
Moorhen chick
Close up of a chick

DSCN6063DSCN6062DSCN6061

 

Låt örnen flyga – Where eagles fly part 2

The latest news from the fight for nature in Trosa (there is English text after the Swedish)…

Annas Art - FärgaregårdsAnna

De boende på Käftuddsvägen som sände in en skrivelse till Länsstyrelsen och där krävde att en miljökonsekvensbeskrivning bör ske för projekt förbifart Trosa/Infart Västra Trosa, som numera hänger tätt ihop med stora expansionsplaner för Tureholmshalvön.

Länsstyrelsen ville inte göra någon miljökonsekvensbeskrivning utan tyckte att deras gamla beslut från 2012 (före Parisavtalet 2015) fortfarande var tillämpligt.

Gruppen har sänt in en överklagan av beslutet till Förvaltningsrätten och ni kan läsa hela överklagandet här (exkl.bilagor). 170404 170308 Förvaltningsrätten i Linköping överklagande av beslut.

Har ni frågor om gruppens försök att påverka projektet förbifart/expansion av Tureholmshalvön eller vill veta hur även ni kan agera för att rädda Trosas värdefulla natur åt allmänheten kan ni mejla anna@fargaregarden.se

The citizens in an area, that Trosa politicians and the biggest landowner wants to exploit instead of keeping as grand nature has filed an appeal. In Swedish you can read it here, or try to translate…

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Shouldn’t Every Day Be “Earth Day”?

A post for “Earth Day”, which argues that every day should be Earth Day. Read, enjoy and please share.

INTRODUCTION

Today is “Earth Day”, and it is all well and good to name it so, but the truth is that we should by now be capable of realising that every day should be considered to be Earth Day. This post is therefore dedicated to “Earth Day” but also to realising the inadequacy of “Earth Day”. There is a parallel here with the various “Autism Awareness” days, weeks and months (yes there is one of each) and their unfitness for purpose which I written about elsewhere. All of my own text in this post will be in green because it is about nature. Links where they appear will be in bold and underlined. 

INTRODUCTION TO “EARTH DAY” COURTESY OF LIVESCIENCE.COM

Four days ago I came across this excellent post about the development of “Earth Day” on livescience.com. It is simply titled “Earth Day: Facts & History“, and it is an excellent read. The screenshot below will serve as an aperitif:

EDLS.jpg

A MESSAGE FROM SWEDEN

Five days ago Anna put a post sharing a poster created by one of her friends under the title “Power listen to the voice of nature“. Anna’s message in that post is simple and compelling. Below is her friend’s poster which inspired it:

Poster by Margareta Arnedotter Jansson

A THUNDERCLAP

This one is for those of you who are on any of facebook, twitter and/ or tumblr. I have shared it before, and on its final day I do so once again. It is titled “Birds Join Bees this Earth Day“, and focuses on the damage pesticides are doing to pollinators. 

EDT.jpg

A GCSE IN NATURAL HISTORY

I consider this to be an excellent idea. Once again this is something that I have shared previously, and with eleven days to go until the deadline on this petition I do so again, considering it perfect subject matter for “Earth Day”. Please sign and share if you are UK citizens and have not already done so – let’s use today to get this past 10,000 signatures!

NHGCSE.jpg

THE NETHERLANDS STEAM AHEAD WITH TRAINS POWERED BY GREEN ENERGY

ALL trains in The Netherlands are now powered by wind generated (i.e renewable) electricity. For more and a video (also embedded below) please click here

http://mashable.com/videos/embed?video=fVb3VZiI&player=offsite&player=offsiteNote also that in strong contrast to every British public transport project I can remember this was completed not just in time but a whole year ahead of schedule.

CYCLISTS NOW HAVE THEIR OWN VERSION OF THE ‘BECK MAP’

Since he gained permission from his employers to unveil it to a wider public in 1931 Henry C Beck’s schematic diagram of the London Underground network, known colloquially as the “Beck Map” has taken the world by storm and become the template for public transport maps across the globe. Now, in it’s home city a Beck style map has been produced for the benefits of cyclists. There is a detailed article about this on indy100.com featuring this map, which is reproduced below for your benefit:

londoncyclemap-revised2017v1.4-011-0.jpg

EVERY DAY SHOULD BE EARTH DAY

We need to appreciate nature and the Earth every day of our lives. One day per year is most emphatically not enough. We also need to remember to very important things:

1. There is no “Planet B” at this moment – if we turn this planet into somewhere completely inhospitable to Homo sapiens we have nowhere else to go.

2. Following on from that first point we need to always bear in mind that we need Earth more than Earth needs us.

To finish this post, save for a few of my own photographs I turn again to Anna, and a piece of artwork I have shared before which she created based on comment that I made on one of her blog posts:

Nature Meme

starlings.jpg

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These pictures of items that will be going under the hammer on the 22nd,, 23rd and 24th of May at James and Sons.

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I travelled on this railway in my childhood, too many years ago to mention.

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This picture, reminding us of where we and everything else on earth comes from seems an appropriate one to end the post.