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

 

Booking a Trip to Scotland: British Public Transport Daftness Exposed

A combination of an account of the booking of train tickets for a trip to Scotland and an expose of the sheer craziness of British public transport.

INTRODUCTION

My parents have booked a house near Kyle of Lochalsh for a week which includes my birthday. As a birthday present I have been given the wherewithal to purchase train tickets for the journey, which happens to feature one of the most scenic routes anywhere in Britain. To set the scene for the rest of this post and give you a little test here is a photograph of my railway tickets for the journey:

tickets
Can you see what it is about these tickets that even before I go any further reveals an element of daftness in British Public Transport?

BOOKING THE JOURNEY

Those of you who follow this blog with due care and attention will be aware that for some years I have been resident in King’s Lynn for some years, and had I moved I would certainly have mentioned it here. Why then is the ticket above booked as a return from Peterborough to Kyle of Lochalsh and not from King’s Lynn? 

The following screenshots will expose the reason for this and the utter craziness and illogic of pricing on British public transport.

KL-Ky
Note the difference in price between this ticket and the one from Peterborough (almost £60!!)
Peterborugh-Kyle
Given the immense price difference, the booking from Peterborough was bound to leave my up on the transaction (as you will see after these pictures in point of fact to the tune of some £50)
Outbound
My outbound journey.
return
The suggested return journey (don;t worry parents, I can also get back leaving on the later train from Kyle, at 12:08 and arriving home around about midnight)
KL - Peterborough
Even were I to rely on train for the King’s Lynn to Peterborough and back section of the journey two anytime day singles (the max I would have had to pay), would have set me back a mere £24.60 as opposed to price difference on the all-in-one of almost £60, but….

I will actually be travelling the King’s Lynn – Peterborough and its reverse route on the First Eastern Counties X1 bus, which will set me back £6.40 each way or £12.80 in total, making a saving of approximately £47 as compared to the all-in-one booking from King’s Lynn. 

You might think that having cut through all the BS re fares and booked the tickets the daftness would end there, but you would be wrong…

COLLECTING THE TICKETS

The booking accomplished yesterday evening, this morning I set about collecting the tickets. First, as a precaution since I would be needing to keep them safe for a long while I searched out a receptacle of suitable size, shape and robustness to put them in, locating this pretty swiftly:

ticketholder

Having thus equipped myself it was off to the library to print off some booking information that I was going to need to collect the tickets.

library

Then with the information printed it was on to the station to pick up the tickets. This is usually done via ticket machines, of which King’s Lynn station has two. Here are pictures of both machines, showing precisely why I could not use them…

DSCN5103machineoo

I fully understand the desirability and indeed the need to replace old ticket machines with new, but why take both out of service simultaneously? Why not take one out of service and keep the other operational until the first new machine is ready, then take the second old machine out of service and replace it, thereby keeping at least one machine operational the whole time?

Fortunately, there were staff present, and I was able to get my tickets printed at a ticket office. While waiting I bagged an image of the station plaque:

plaque

Although the process took longer and entailed more frustration than I had anticipated, I have the tickets and other info safely stowed, and am looking forward to my visit to the wilds of northwest Scotland. It will not be my first visit to Kyle of Lochalsh – back in 1993, before the opening of a swanky new toll-bridge and consequent removal of ferry services to maximise said bridge’s profits, I passed through Kyle en route to the Isle of Skye, returning to the mainland by way of the southern ferry crossing to Mallaig. 

I conclude this post with two more photos, one showing all the printed material I have for the journey, and the other ending our journey back where we started (a lot more straightforward in a blog than in a journey on British public transport!)

traveldocstickets

 

 

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

Public Transport (and more Spring Photos)

More spring photographs following on my last post, likewise some appropriately themed music, some stuff about public transport, some autism related links and some other links.

INTRODUCTION

This is a follow up to my previous post, but after the photographs I will be sharing a number of links as well. Here is some appropriately themed music once again – Igor Stravinsky’s “Rite of Spring”.

THE PHOTOGRAPHS

Immediatelty I had put up the previous post I set off on another walk. Although I did not manage to capture any more butterflies I did get plenty of splendid pictures.

Corn Exchange
The Corn Exchange

HG

St Nicholas
St Nicholas Chapel
Cats
Cats on a pipe that crosses Bawsey Drain

DrakeMoorhen1sparrowsblackbirdDrake headMoorhen2

sunlight
sunlight on water and exposed mud flats
Waterfall
The upper Purfleet following much needed clean up work.

AN EXAMPLE OF THE DAFTNESS OF BRITISH PUBLIC TRANSPORT

This too has some photographic content. I made passing mention of a daft situation involving public transport in Norfolk in my post “Network Autism”, and now I am following up on it.

bus
A return journey from King’s Lynn to Norwich on this style of bus, going by way of Fakenham, Lenwade, Hellesdon, Taverham and Drayton costs £5.50…
X1
A return journey from King’s Lynn to Norwich on this type of bus, going by way of The Hardwick Industrial Estate, Middleton, Narborough, Swaffham, Dereham and Easton costs £11 – twice as much as in the other style of bus.

Although the routes taken differ, the distance covered and the time taken to cover that distance are similar, and therefore so too is the fuel consumption of the bus. The First Eastern Counties X1 route is available almost the whole day, whereas the Stagecoach X29 route is more restricted timewise, with the first bus leaving King’s Lynn at 6:28AM and the last return bus leaving Norwich at 5:20PM (and the other way around the restriction is greater because the depot is in King’s Lynn. 

This is the sort of nonsensical situation that can arise when public transport is in the hands of greedy profiteers rather than being publicly run and publicly accountable. There is no rational justification for the same journey costing twice as much by one route as by another like this.

LINKS

For today this section divides into two subsections, starting with…

AUTISM RELATED STUFF

I start with a link to a post on Mamautistic, titled “Not an Excuse”. This post is liberally laced with links of its own that I recommend you to follow up. Click on the picture below to read it in full.

My remaining links in this section are to posts on thesilentwaveblog. First up is a post titled “Asperger’s / autism may not be a disability only (but we *do* need to treat it like one)”. Please click on the image below to read this post, which is detailed and well reasoned, in full.

Next comes a post with the title “When an “official” Asperger’s / autism diagnosis is just a formality”. This one is is super-detailed but very well worth the read. Once again, there is an image that I can use as the link.

Finally, to end this subsection, although I reblogged the magnificent ‘put the boot on the other foot’ type post “The Hitchhiker’s Guide to Neurotypicality: a handbook on the rest of the world for Asperger’s / autistic people” earlier today it is so good that I feel another plug is in order, so if you have not already read it please click on the image below to rectify the omission.

OTHER LINKS

I start this section with a horrifying story from The Canary about how some girls in Britain in 2017 are missing school because they cannot afford sanitary products. Click the image below to read this piece.

Girls are missing school because they can’t afford sanitary products. In Britain. In 2017.

My last two links go together – not only are both to pieces on Skwawkbox, both are to pieces about Tory election fraud:

  1. The first one is titled “#TORYELECTIONFRAUD JUSTICE REQUIRES FULL RECKONING, NOT #MCKINLAY AS SACRIFICIAL LAMB” – as usual I am using an image as the actual link.
    mckinlay
  2. The second piece deals with a ‘tactic’ that the Tories are using as a supposed form of defence, and is titled “TORY ‘NO INTENT’ #ELECTIONFRAUD CONFIDENCE IS A NON-STARTER. HERE’S WHY”. Click the image below to read the piece.
    newsnight intent.jpg

 

 

 

 

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

Super Sharing Saturday – Transport and the Environment

Some links relating to transport and the environment and some pictures.

 INTRODUCTION

As my first post of today indicated I have a lot of stuff to share, and I am breaking it into sections. In this post I deal with stuff that relates to transport and the environment (linked by the fact that how one handles the former can have huge effects on the latter). 

TRANSPORT

I start this subsection with two links from the…

CAMPAIGN FOR BETTER TRANSPORT 

The first of these links, to a piece titled “What is the chancellor’s plan for transport” provides some detail on what the recent spring budget offered in terms of transport. Please click on the Campaign for Better transport logo below to read this piece in full.

CBT

The second piece from the Campaign for Better Transport is titled “show the love to transport”, which gives some detail about both the actual and potential threat posed to Britain’s transport system by climate change. Please click on the image below, which shows those London Underground stations under threat from flooding to read the article full. 

Image of tube map with green hearts to show stations at risk of flooding

To finish off the section, a link to the TFL “report it to stop it”page about unwanted sexual behaviour on public transport, which I have already posted about on my London transport themed website.

THE ENVIRONMENT

Three pieces in this little section as well, starting one from Sian Berry titled “Mayors Guidance Won’t Stop Estate Demolitions”. To read this excellent piece in full please click the image below:

Sian Berry with residents at Central Hill Estate

Next comes a piece from livescience.com titled “Carbon Dioxide is Warming the Planet (Here’s How)” which includes a short video, as well as the excellent text and the image below which I am using as the link.

My final piece in this section comes from the Guardian on how climate change battles are increasingly being fought and won in court. To read it click on the image below…

Campaigners outside South Africa’s Pretoria high court during the country’s first climate change lawsuit

PHOTOGRAPHS

Here are some pictures to finish…

1251
This is lot 1251 in our March auction (27th, 28th and 29th).
975
Lot 975, same auction (two images)

975-a

967
Lot 967, same auction
HH
Hanse House as viewed from the riverside.
HHplaque
The explanatory plaque.
Piedwagtail
A pied wagtail neatly framed by yellow painted lines.
Moon
The moon in an early evening sky (taken on Thursday).