Saturday Spectacular

Some stuff about Proptional Representation, some stuff about public transport, some stuff about “Save Trosa Nature” and some photographs.

INTRODUCTION

In this post I am going to be sharing stuff relating to three topics, and also displaying some of my own photographs. The weather here is so spectacular at present that not only am I creating this post while sitting outside, I am wearing a t-shirt. I shall move on to my first set of shares, which are themed around…

PROPORTIONAL REPRESENTATION

The First Past the Post (FPTP) method of deciding elections has had its day. It works reasonably well when two parties hoover up almost all the votes (though even then, as in 1951 when the Labour party got more votes than any party ever in any British General Election still ended up in opposition because of how those votes were distributed), but when the two biggest parties as is now the case in Britain command just 65% of the vote between them it is an epic fail, with barely more than a third of the votes cast being enough on occasions to hand one party a “majority”. I have two images, both found by way of twitter, and a link to share with you.

THE ARTICLE

The article to which I link is in the Guelph Mercury, and takes the form of a blistering opening letter to Canadian PM Justin Trudeau criticisng him for going back on his election commitment to electoral reform (Canada is one of only two democracies besides Britain which still uses FPTP – the other being the one that is so dysfunctional that Mr “Grab ’em by the pussy” was able to secure the top job).  To read this piece in full please click on the image below, which is taken from it:

Trudeau

The two images I am sharing point up the flaws of FPTP in two differing ways:

fptpfailFPTPbad

If anyone wishes to bring up the 2o11 referendum on voting reform thinking to use that to make a point, I suggest you think again: the sole alternative that was on offer then was very nearly as flawed as FPTP – AV IS NOT PR.

PUBLIC TRANSPORT

I have a number of items to share here, some bad, some good. I will start with my journey to work yesterday morning. At 8:43AM (cutting it close, but manageable if no further time is wasted), a bus pulled into bay C at King’s Lynn bus station bearing the legend Fakenham X29. After it had disgorged a handful of passengers the driver told us we had to wait, and then a manager told him he had to take the bus into the parking slots in the centre of the bus station as it was being replaced with a single decker. For the run between King’s Lynn and Fakenham this would be adequate, but at Fakenham this bus becomes the 9:35 to Norwich, and single-decker is guaranteed to mean standees on that section of the route as that bus is the first of the morning on which old folk travel free. The end result of this was that it was just after 8:50AM when the bus actually got underway. As you will be seeing later, there was an incident on my return journey of a different kind.

A London Underground Worker Has Been Sacked For Helping a Pregnant Colleague Who Was Being Assaulted – Courtesy of Evolve Politics – 

This story, headlined as above on EvolvePolitics and ‘pressed’ by me on to my London Transport themed website is shocking in many different ways. Firstly, even without the actual evidence, which is pretty damning of London Underground bosses, in the event of an incident between staff and passengers the default position should be to side with staff. Secondly, London Underground claims to have a ‘zero-tolerance’ attitude to attacks on its staff. Thirdly, I consider the arrogant refusal of London Underground bosses even to contemplate the possibility that they might be in error to be very disturbing. On my way home from work yesterday, before I saw this piece, I witnessed a piece of unpleasantness on the bus in which I was travelling. I will summarize this incident in bullet point form:

  • Due to weight of traffic, rather than attempt to pull into the stopping zone outside the train station the driver stopped just before the station to let people off.
  • Just after he had started moving again and went past the station a passenger who had wanted to get off at the station and had failed to notice the stop started having a go at the driver about him not stopping.
  • The passenger continued this for the rest of the journey to the bus station. 

To make matters worse, the drop-off point at the bus station is only about 200m from the train station anyway. While I have been known to write in uncompromising terms to the offices of public transport companies I never target the staff who are actually attempting to deliver the service. This incident I have referred to is trivial compared to the one at the heart of the EvolvePolitics piece, which I link to, by way of the image below.

Having just referred you to one excellent source of political stories I now turn to another for a rather pleasanter story…

Part of Britain’s Railways Was Just Taken Into Public Ownership – Brought to you by The Canary

Kerry-Anne Mendoza’s magnificent creation, The Canary, has come up trumps again, with this story about a tiny part of our rail infrastructure (titled as per the first part of this section heading) coming back into public ownership in 2018. Obviously, it is a very small step in the right direction – towards a fully publicly owned and publicly accountable transport system – but it is a step in that direction nonetheless. To read the story in full please click on the image below:

Part of Britain’s railways was just taken into public ownership

I will end the public transport part of this post with…

A Trip Down Memory Lane Courtesy of Time Out

This is a fantastic photo archive showing the history of public transport in London since 1863 (when the world’s first underground railway line, then called the Metropolitan Railway, commenced operations). It has already featured on my London transport themed website. To view these pictures in their full glory please click on the one below which I have selected to act as the link.

This picture is headed as follows in the piece: Metropolitan Railway Guard Eva Carver. Mrs Carver can be seen dressed in uniform holding a lamp and flag by a staircase at Hammersmith Underground station, Metropolitan and Great Western Railways.

SAVE TROSA NATURE

I have links here to a recent blog post on this subject and to a nature website with strong connections to the subject matter of this section, and also to end this section and segue into the photos that end this post with a link to a post on facebook. 

The Blog Post

I reblogged this post when I first saw it, and now I am sharing it again. As with many of Anna’s nature themed posts this one features the meme she created based on some words I posted as a comment, and it is that that I use as the link.

The Website

The website, linked to in the blog post above, is called artportalen is about the species you can find in Sweden. To take a look at this site for yourself click on the image below:

The Segue Link

The facebook post to which I am linking contains a picture of an Apollo butterfly, a species which I observed on an island in the outer reaches of the Stockholm Archipelago but never on the mainland. The area around Trosa apparently is home to this rare species. To view this post and the picture featured there please click on the photograph below, which is my own.

DSCN8219

PHOTOGRAPHS

Finally to end this post:

butterfly1
These photos start and finish with butterflies.

upperpurfleetDSCN5108fb5fb4DSCN5111fbsDSCN5113blackbird4DSCN5115flyingbirdbusbirdssquirrelonchurchroofbirds (1)blackbird3bird2blackbird2birdmoorhen2fb3fb2fb1moorhensquirrelblackbirdgullsbeebutterfly3butterfly2

Some Thoughts on Autism

A post about autism featuring some of my thoughts, a petition that I urge you all to sign and share, some highlights from other blogs by autistic people and some of my own photographs.

INTRODUCTION

The origins of this post lie in a quote from a post on includedbygrace which I include here as a combined screenshot and link to the original.

Angela

Since seeing that I have seen several posts on autistic blogs that I wish to share with you, come across a petition that is so important that I feel I must share it and ask my followers to sign and share it as well. Also, the imminent approach of April has prompted me to think once again about…

AUTISM AWARENESS, UNDERSTANDING AND ACCEPTANCE

I am more than a little ambivalent about ‘autism awareness month’, and my misgivings are twofold:

  1. To be worth anything awareness must be the most basic of starting points, and needs to lead on towards understanding and ultimately acceptance (see the quote from includedbygrace in the introduction). 
  2. If you consider autism during ‘autism awareness month’ and not for the rest of the year that is simply not good enough. Autistic Spectrum Conditions affect those who have them every day of every month.

This leads on the role of…

AUTISM CHARITIES/ ORGANISATIONS

As someone who is both #actuallyautistic and involved in the running of a local branch of an autism charity I am obviously supportive of some of these organisations. However I am very firm in saying that such charities or organisations must be dedicated to improving the lives of autistic people, and that they should make conscious efforts to include #actuallyautistic people in the running of the organisation. 

There is one very large organisation based across the Atlantic from me which I shall not name (both because I am not a fan of naming and shaming, and also because I do not wish to give them any more publicity) who promote themselves as an autism charity but are in actuality nothing of the kind. They did fairly recently amend their homepage to remove from it references to seeking a cure for autism, but it did not require much scrutiny for it to be obvious that this was not a leopard changing its spots but a leopard trying to con people into believing that it had changed its spots.

I conclude this section by re-emphasing that awareness is not a final goal, it is merely the starting point on the following path:

AWARENESS – UNDERSTANDING – ACCEPTANCE

SOME AUTISM RELATED SHARES

I am now moving to sharing some other stuff I have found, starting with…

A VERY IMPORTANT PETITION – HARRY’S LAW

This petition, calling for an urgently needed change in the guidelines used at hospitals when dealing with autistic children, to be known as Harry’s Law, contains a video as well as a lot of explanatory text. I shall embed the video below the screenshot that I am using as a link. I urge all of you to read the text, watch the video and sign and share the petition. 

Harry's Law

UNASHAMED

Here I am linking to a post on elephantsneverforgetsite, and I am using a screenshot of the end of the post as the link.

elephantsneverforget

THE SILENT WAVE

It is hardly news by now that I am a big fan of thesilentwaveblog, and there have been several excellent posts from that quarter of late. We start with a post titled “Conformity does *not* make life “less difficult” for Asperger’s / autistic people”, which I link to by way of the splendid picture that heads it.

My next share from this splendid blog is a collection of autism related online quizzes. I sampled one of these quizzes, and may check out others in due course. The language used to convey the implications of your result is not always well chosen. I was told at the end of the one I did that I almost certainly “suffer from an Autistic Spectrum Disorder”. No – I have an Autistic Spectrum Condition – what I suffer from is the attitudes of people like whoever deemed that an appropriate form of words. Once again, I use an excellent graphic from the original as the link.

My third link from this source is to an excellent post about being diagnosed with an Autistic Spectrum Condition in adulthood. The title of the post is “Relief and grief ~ the reality of adult Asperger’s / autism discovery”. It must be stated that of the two emotions referred to in the title of this post relief comes first in more ways than one – it is the more significant, the more constructive, and certainly in my own case was very much the dominant one. Once again I am able to link by way of a headline picture:

I complete both the silentwave tribute and the sharing section of this post my once again pointing readers of this blog to the marvellous “The Hitchhiker’s Guide to Neurotypicality: a handbook on the rest of the world for Asperger’s / autistic people” which you can visit by clicking the link below:

SOME PHOTOGRAPHS

I end this post with a few of my own photographs, which in terms of what is relevant to this post the following in common:

  • All were taken by an autistic person (me), and
  • All feature one of that autistic person’s special interests.
967-a
All of these pictures are in fact close-ups of parts of lots that will be going under the hammer in April, and the special interests to which they relate are public transport, science and nature. All of the lots that these images relate to are numbered between 968 and 985.

 

976-a976-b982-a983-a983-b983-c

984-a
As one of my favourite science blogs says “It’s an amazing world of science…let’s go exploring!” You could start by clicking this image to visit them.

985-a

 

Protecting Nature

Some stuff about nature, with a sidelight on public transport. Links to several nature/ transport themed posts and many appropriately themed photos.

INTRODUCTION

This is the first of several posts I will be putting up today. Two of the links I shall be sharing are to posts that have already appeared on this site as reblogs, but which I consider so important, that I am going to link to them again. There is also among my links a piece relating to public transport for which I make no apology, as transport policy can have a big impact on nature, whether positively or negatively depending on the nature of the policy. As usual plenty of my own pictures will feature as well.

TAKING THE LOCAL AUTHORITY TO TASK

Two pieces in this section:

  1. Anna’s searching questions of her local authority as part of the ongoing campaign to save Trosa nature. For those who have not already seen the piece, please click on the magnificent infographic/ meme that Anna created based on a comment I made on one of her previous posts.
    Nature Meme
  2. A cabal of Tories seeking to force through the building of an expensive and environmentally damaging incinerator is all too familiar to a West Norfolk resident. This time the dodgy dealing is going on in Gloucestershire and again it is a Tory controlled County Council that seeks to force through the building of the incinerator. The Skwawkbox have picked up on the story, for which I am very grateful, and I urge everyone who reads this to visit this post by clicking on the image below.

    javelin park.png
    Illustration of GCC’s planned Javelin Park incinerator

     

     

BADGER CULLS AND BIOSECURITY

This one appears on Chris Packham’s website, and consists of a brief introduction to a person by the name of Anna Dale, and then an essay by this same Anna Dale titled “Below-par biosecurity should mean no badger cull licence”. To read this detailed essay please click on the graphic below.

Badger

BUSES IN CRISIS

This comes to you courtesy of the Campaign for Better Transport. Contained within this worrying piece is a bit of good news – an infographic relating to the achievements of 2016. To read the full detail on the crisis with Britain’s buses please click on the shocking graph below.

Graph showing decreasing funding for buses since 2010
These figures do not speak so much as shout for themselves about Tory attitudes to public transport.

PHOTOGRAPHS 1: WORK

In this, the first of two sections of this post devoted to my photographs, I share some nature and transport related pictures from yesterday and Thursday at work. The first of these is of an item in the March auction, which I therefore use as a link to our online catalogue, while all the rest are from lots in our April auction.

1255945-a947-a

948-a
Part of lot 948 in our April auction
950-a
Part of lot 950
951-a
Part of lot 951
953-a
Part of lot 953
956-a
Part of lot 956
961-a
Part if lot 961
962-a
Part of lot 962
963-a
Part of lot 963
964-a
Part of lot 964
GT1
This image and the next relate to lot 948

GT2

GLTW
Likewise this image and the next relate to lot 934

VRR

PHOTOGRAPHS 2: LEISURE

To end the post here some photos from in and around King’s Lynn…

CP
Several other species besides Cormorants enjoying “Cormorant Platform”

CP2MoorhenBB

Spring

Celebrating the arrival of Spring…

INTRODUCTION

By way of an introduction to this post, which is celebrating some welcome good weather here is a video recording of Spring from Antonio Vivaldi’s “The Four Seasons”. 

If you enjoy classical music you might like to visit young singer and Royal College of Music student Charlotte Hoather’s website by clicking here.

SPRING ARRIVES

Since the epic storms I wrote about a while back, the weather has been gradually improving. Within the last few weeks I have been able to leave the flat without a coat, and then yesterday I switched the heating off. Today, for the first time in 2017, I am making use of my outside space:

OSS

Also today, although they have been in evidence for a few days now, I managed to photograph some butterflies, again for the first time of the year.

Butterfly1
This was the first one I captured.

Butterfly2Butterfly3

Butterfly4
The fourth and best of the four butterfly pictures I was able to get today.

Where did I locate these little beauties? All within walking distance of my little town centre flat – two near Hardings Pits and two near Bawsey Drain, gained during…

A WALK

It being bright, sunny and reasonably warm I set off on a walk just after 10, and was out for over two hours in total. Here are some of the non-butterfly related pictures I took while out and about.

CP1
The first seven pictures in this set are not actually from the very beginning of the walk – it has been a long while since I saw this many cormorants on what I call “Cormorant Platform”

CP2CP3CP4CP5CP6CP7DSCN4868DSCN4869

DSCN4870
This buoy is not in its regular position – there is only one seal living in the Great Ouse, and no sand to be found. Norfolk does have one big seal colony, at Blakeney Point, which although part of the mainland is accessible only by boat – there is no road link as it is quite rightly a fiercely protected area.

DSCN4871DSCN4872DSCN4873DSCN4874WLCDSCN4886DSCN4893DSCN4896DSCN4898

 

Network Autism

An important autism related meeting in Dereham plus a few shares and some photographs.

INTRODUCTION

As well as my title piece, which as promised yesterday, is about the meeting in Dereham organised by Autism Anglia and ASD Helping Hands that I attended this morning. Karan and I were a little late arriving as she could not leave before the person who would be looking after her son had arrived and I had arranged a meet up point at The Gatehouse since while I was definitely up for the meeting I was not up for forking out the £11 it would have cost to me travel there and back under my own steam (at some point I will be putting up a post on public transport that will highlight why this particular shortish journey is so extortionate – for the moment suffice to say it has nothing to do with logic, reason, meeting passenger needs or anything else that has any place in the proper running of a public transport system). This meant that although we were able to introduce ourselves we missed most of the other people’s introductions. 

THE MEETING

The meeting had been arranged to discuss amendments to an autism strategy document which as it stood was laughably incomplete. Autism Anglia and ASD Helping Hands were effectively doing the kind of outreach stuff that Norfolk County Council should have been doing but weren’t. The County Council’s own meetings about such matters are invariably in Norwich, generally with a requirement that one arrive by 9:30. Before moving on to NAS West Norfolk’s role in the events of this meeting I will mention two things from the preliminary talk that caused hackles to raise. First, Norfolk County Council’s person responsible for co-ordinating matters relating to autism appears to have his fingers in a suspiciously large number of pies, and extending from this seems to be overly averse to scrutiny (as a West Norfolk resident who has the incinerator debacle seared on his memory I am naturally inclined to be mistrustful where Norfolk County Council are concerned – although we eventually won that one and the thing did not get built). Secondly there is the role of Norfolk Steps, who seem to have a monopoly on training provision for parents and carers and to be very reluctant to see that change – one person at the meeting had tried to use their materials to provide training and was told to desist. Another strike against Norfolk Steps from our point of view is that their training is not autism specific.

The key pages of the inadequate document that we were trying to improve were pages 16-19, and there was little we could do about what was on page 16, so as we seated around three tables each table was assigned a page to look at and make additions to. Ours was page 18:

P18

I have already covered a lot of the problems with Norfolk Steps, but there is one extra point – they have recently had their funding reduced, and no longer offer “steps plus” to parents. 

There were a few additions to point 5, which started our page. Point 6 was the single most inadequately expressed point in the whole sorry document. For this point to be worth the ink and paper it has to contain chapter and verse – the specific Act of Parliament and the specific clauses contained therein that are of most relevance. 

Anne Ebbage of Autism Anglia will be passing all the points raised at this meeting on to the council, and if the final version of this document is not massively changed and enlarged there will be trouble.

This was a very useful and productive meeting, and I hope it will play a role in dragging Norfolk’s approach to autism and autistic people out of the dark ages wherein it seems to have been stuck for some time.

A SEGUE LINK

The first part of this post has been about autism, and so I introduce the remainder of it by way of a link to an interesting piece by The Inked Autist. My views are rather different to those expressed in this post, but I recommend that you read it here.

A BUSY WEEK FOR DPAC

That title is no overstatement – this section contains a link to a post on the DPAC website and two embedded videos. 

The post, which gives this section of this post its title, can be accessed by clicking the DPAC logo below. Then you can find the two videos, which are both about a protest outside Parliament. The first video was created by Let Me Look TV, the second by Steve Topple of The Canary.

DPAC

PHOTOGRAPHS

I had planned to include more stuff in this post, but a malfunction has prevented that – I have just lost a large amount of stuff that was in here and have no way of getting back, so here are the photographs.

blackbird2WLC

magpie
A magpie near the pick up point in Lynn this morning

MNR3MNR2

MNR1
Three shots featuring a stretch of the Mid-Norfolk Railway in Dereham
Ecocity
One of the “Ecocity” towers near Swaffham – even in this picture, and still more so in the further edited version the observation room near the centre of the propeller is clearly visible. The original shot from which this picture and the next were both obtained was taken through the window of a moving car.

Ecocity - Editedblackbird4blackbird3propelleaf

 

More on Public Transport

Some public transport related links, accessible by means of appropriately themed photographs.

INTRODUCTION

Several of the interesting pieces I wish to share with you are related to public transport (no great surprise there). In the case of each piece that I share the link will be in the form of a picture that appears I have introduced the subject matter. In this particular post all the pictures I am using are appropriately themed ones that I have taken myself (if the post I am linking to is illustrated I will use a picture from there). More detail about where these particular pictures come from will appear in my next post.

BUSES IN CRISIS

This section links to a post from the Campaign for Better Transport detailing the way in which British bus services have been slashed since 2010. If you are ready to read the full, grim detail, please click on the picture below, which features a 505 bus on it’s way into Lynn from Spalding.

Bus1

My second link, accessed by clicking the picture of the bus depot that ends this section, is to the Campaign for Better Transport’s  response to the House of Commons Bus Services Bill Public Bill Committee. 

busdepot

TRAINS

Given the scandalous state of Britain’s railways, it is not terribly surprising to read the horrors contained in David Hencke’s latest piece, titled “Why millions of passengers will face years of overcrowded trains because of a staggering electrification blunder”, which you can read in full by clicking the picture of a train framed by willow trees.

Train

WWW.LONDONTU.BE

In addition to this blog I am the creator of the website www.londontu.be on which I today posted a piece about Greenwich. To see this piece please click on the map section below:

Greenwich statfions close up