Politics, Nature and Autism

A mix of politics, nature and autism.

INTRODUCTION

This is a collection of interesting things I have seen on the internet recently. They are grouped broadly in three categories, the second of which includes a few pictures I took today.

POLITICS

I start this section with an important open letter from Make Votes Matter. Below is a screenshot of the beginning of the letter. This is formatted as a link so that you can add your name to the open letter should you wish to:

Open Letter

My only link in this section, which forms a natural segue to the nature section, is to a thunderclap organised by Team4Nature and tagged #VoteForHopeVoteForChange. Below is a screenshot which also functions as a link:

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NATURE

I am going to start this section with another thunderclap, before sharing a couple of recent posts from Anna that caught my attention and finally ending this section with some of my own photographs. 

THUNDERCLAP: 30 DAYS WILD

This one has been launched by The Wildlife Trusts and the screenshot below links to it:

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ANNA’S POSTS

The first of the two recent posts from Anna that I am sharing is titled “Which Future Do You Wanna Give The Next Generation?“. This post contains both Swedish and English text, and is in particular focused on the campaign to Save Trosa Nature. Here is Anna’s picture from that post:

The second post from Anna is titled “Old Tjikko” and starts by introducing us to the world’s oldest tree (9,500 years old since you ask). It concludes with a marvellous tree infographic which is reproduced below:

Time now for some…

PHOTOGRAPHS

These were all taken today…

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Other than moving the tree pic to the top of the pile (see the end of the previous section for clarification) these are in the order in which they were taken (tree pic was no 6 originally).

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This one is a bit blurry because it was taken very quickly.

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AUTISM

I saw this article on www.independent.co.uk today and knew I would have to share it. It is titled “People with autism can hear more than most – which can be a strength and a challenge“, and the content lives up to the title, more of it being devoted to pointing up the strength than the challenge. I offer both a screenshotted quote and a picture by way of aperitif:

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I end this post with yet another reference to the rainbow coloured infinity symbol that Laina at thesilentwaveblog introduced me and many others to. The version below is an envisaged centrepiece for the front cover of the 2018 Calendar (see this post for more on my calendars) and features my name in white text incorporated into the symbol and the addresses of this blog and my London transport themed website in each loop:

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Upcoming Local Elections

Politics and nature combine to form one YUGE blog post!

INTRODUCTION

In my part of the world there are local elections happening on May 4th, so I thought I would use some thoughts about them as the starting point for this blog. I will go on from that to sharing various interesting and important stuff, and of course there will be some of my own photographs.

LOCAL ELECTIONS

Although my polling card is safely in my possession I have yet to receive any communication from any of the candidates, and can therefore talk only in general terms. I will definitely be voting. Since I became of voting age more years ago than I care to reveal I have only once failed to vote in an election I was entitled to vote in, and that was in the first election for Norfolk Police Commissioner. I will not be voting for any right wing parties or individual candidates. After their massive betrayal of those who voted for them (myself one of them) in 2010 the Liberal Democrats have much ground to make up and at this moment the odds against me putting my cross in that particular box are of the “write your own ticket” variety. While it is possible that I will be impressed by someone standing as an Independent candidate it is not very likely. This leaves me looking at two options:

  1. Labour – if the candidate is of the right type and not someone who will use their entire campaign to bash their party’s  twice elected leader I may be induced to vote for them.
  2. Green – this party stands for many of the things that I  believe in, and I am not going to hold the entire party to account for a mistake made by one of its co-leaders (Jonathan Bartley endorsing “light it up blue”, which readers of this blog will realise is an absolute guarantee of an entry in my bad books). If they can find a candidate with the qualities shown by Sian Berry in her campaign for London Mayor and subsequently in her work as a Greater London Assembly member I will certainly by influenced in this direction.

I will probably be voting Green because I see the way forward as being in a red/green partnership, and I think the Green side of that partnership needs strengthening. Also, a Green vote has the merit of being a vote cast unequivocally in favour of Proportional Representation. 

After this start it is time for some…

POLITICAL SHARING

I start with a piece by Richard Murphy titled “Time For a New Political Party?”, in which he looks at a suggestion originally made by Richard Dawkins in a piece in the New Statesman. While I would say that the launch of a new political party should be delayed until FPTP is replaced with PR (under FPTP the Tories have a built-in advantage that would only be strengthened by the addition of a new party) I believe that Professor Murphy is pretty well on the money with his suggestions about this new party. Please click on the screenshot below to access this post, and if so inclined add your voice to those commenting on it:

TRUK

Next, from the Skwawkbox comes the most recent piece on the story I have dubbed Coynegate – the massive breaches of the Data Protection Act by right wing candidate for Unite general secretary Gerard Coyne. To read this story, titled “EXCLUSIVE: COYNE TELLS BBC HIS LABOUR DATA USE ‘CONCLUDED’. IT ISN’T.” please click on the image below:

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My next link is to the homepage of the We Own It Campaign’s website. To find out for yourself what they are all about click on the screenshot below:

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Next, courtesy of DPAC comes a public service piece titled “Important information on how disabled people can enforce their right to travel on buses“. Although the title is on this occasion set up as a link, I also provide a screenshot below on which you can click to get to the original:

DPAC

The focus, including my photographs is about to shift to Nature (note to my many  fellow autistic bloggers although you do not feature in this post I have some of your finest stuff bookmarked for use in the very near future), and the turning point is a campaign against the large scale felling of trees in and around Sheffield. I have two links in connection with this. First, for the benefit of those of you who use social media, a Thunderclap, which you can boost by adding your own connections on facebook, twitter and tumblr. I link to it by way of the screenshot below:

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The second link on this subject is to the page that lists all the campaigns in and around Sheffield that are now grouped under the umbrella of Sheffield Tree Action Groups (STAG). I link by way of a screenshot once again:

Sheffield Tree Action Groups

The last piece of shared content for today before moving towards my photographs comes to you from Sweden, and has a section to itself:

ANNA INTRODUCES EMMELINA

Anna is a Swedish blogger who needs to no further introduction to readers of this blog. As for Emmelina, that will have to wait for the moment. Yesterday Anna put up a post about a very curious little creature she had photographed on her door, which she called “Who’s This?” I thought that the little creature was a stick insect, but the reveal when it came today was far more interesting. It turns out that the creature is actually a moth that resembles a stick insect. Here is a link to the piece in which Anna reveals the identity of the creature. Finally, revealing the Emmelina part of the title, here is Wikipedia on Emmelina Monodactyla.

PHOTOGRAPHS

To end the post here are some of my own photographs…

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The first bee I have caught on camera this year.

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Using a derelict shop front to explain the importance of King John to King’s Lynn’s history is sensible. My main quibble with the new statue of him being…
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That is bad quality work, not that it is of a bad quality human (though he was certainly that, in spades).

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The first ducklings of the year. I hope that some at least of them survive the marauding Herring Gulls (this is NOT a joke btw)

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I have bagged a number of peacock butterflies of late, but these light coloured ones fly both faster and for a greater percentage of their lives, so for the third time today this is a first of the year.

 

 

 

Beer Mats, Buttons and a few Other Bits

An analysis of my newly acquired collection of beer mats (complete with photos), a unique LNER display and some other stuff.

INTRODUCTION

This post features some stuff I have bought at auctions and some stuff I have been given, and features some links at the end.

BEER MATS

I mentioned in my post about James and Sons’ November auction that I had purchased a box of beer mats. Well I have just finished sorting through them and categorizing them, taking photos along the way.

MACALLAN

There are seven mats that relate to Macallan Scotch Whisky. Macallan are sposnors of one of the world’s most prestigious bridge tournaments as well as purveyors of whisky.

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HEINEKEN AND ICE HOCKEY

I have 12 Heineken mats, one circular and 11 athletics track shaped. These latter 11 feature Ice Hockey Heroes – I have a run of numbers 2 through 9 of the original series of 10 and duplicates of numbers 7, 8 and 9.

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RANDOM FOREIGN

Five mats referrg to foreign drinks.

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COCA COLA AND COMPETITIONS

I have three mats advertsiign coca cola, two of which are duplicates, a schweppes mat and mat advertising a Holsten Pils competition.

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The two central mats are duplicates – I have shown different sides of each.

GENERAL SCOTCHES

Four mats advertising scotch whiskies other than Macallan.

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PRODUCE OF THE APPLE

Five mats where the focus is on drinks created from apples:

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THE IRISH CONTINGENT

I have nine mats featuring products of the Emerald Isle.

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The two big Guinness mats are duplicates, as are the three Murphy’s mats.

UNCATEGORIZED

Four mats that I could not think of a category for.

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BEER MATS GENERAL

We now come to the best bits of the collection. Starting with nine mats featuring a range of beers from around the country.

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The Webster’s mats at the top are duplicates save that they have different heroes on the back, as you will see later…

BEER MATS – EAST ANGLIA

There are ten beer mats in this group, all with a connection to East Anglia.

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You have now seen every beer mat in the collection, but I was not quite finished yet…

THOMAS’ TOP THREE

This is an image of my three favourite beer mats.

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THE RAILWAY CONNECTION

Some mats that are specifically railway oriented.

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The Samuel Whitbread connection is a little tenuous, and I took the opportunity to show the Amy Johnson profile.

THE BUTTONS

One of my colleagues recently gave me some LNER buttons (LNER stood for London and North Eastern Railway), and had previously given me an LNER badge. I also had some other LNBER buttons and an LNER themed postcard from previous purchases, and assembled this into an LNER display.

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The three buttons that set me thinking about the display – without using the flash
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the same buttons with flash
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close up of the locomotive button
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Close up of an LNER button
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Buttons, the badge and the postcard mounted ready for display.
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The top of the display.
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The bottom fo the display
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The badge.

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The display (it is housed in a plastic wallet).

LINKS

I start with some interesting pieces about the byelection that has surely spelt the end of Zac Goldsmith’s political career:

  1. David Hencke, who usually blogs on legal matters offers his take here.
  2. The Skwawkbox blog offer this view.
  3. Mike Sivier of Vox Political has this to say.

My final link is to a petition which can be accessed by clicking the screenshot below.

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A TWITTER FIND

If you are interested in trees then the following, tweeted by a certain James Rees, will certainly appeal:

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A COUPLE OF KING’S LYNN PICS TO FINISH

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A gull using the flagpole at the top of Clifton House tower as a perch.

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Midweek Mishmash

Pictures from the last few days, an important video and petition link.

INTRODUCTION

I have a variety of pictures and links to share with you.

IMAGES FOR THE NOVEMBER AUCTION

These images are from yesterday.

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I took two lpictures of this fort, lot 419, onje with the drabridge down and one with it up. It also disassembles readuly, with a drawer in the base for putting the bits in when it is not in use.

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Lot 598 – a selection of interesting beer mats – I made a display of the best ones, keeping the box with the rest inside it in shot.

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NEW SEAT DESIGN CELEBRATES PIONEER AUTOBIOGRAPHER MARGERY KEMPE

Margery Kempe was born and raised in King’s Lynn (one of her former abodes was on the site now occupied by 117 High Street. For more about her check out this link. The seat design is for the Saturday Market Place, which happens to be pretty much on the doorstep of the formed abode of hers mentioned above. Here is a picture:

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TIMES CARTOONIST NAILS IT

The picture below is The Times cartoonist’s take on our current Prime Minister:

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A PHOTOGRAPHIC WALK

These are a staple of this blog, and I offer you these pictures from Monday:

CAMPAIGN FOR CLEANER AIR IN BRISTOL

Bristolians are campaigning over pollution levels in their city, and deserve wider support. Below is a video, followed by a link to a 38 Degrees petition:

//platform.twitter.com/widgets.js#

Sign the petition

 

 

 

Drama in Dhaka and a Photographic Walk

A personal account of the opening day’s play in Dhaka, and a photographic walk concentrating on trees. Some interesting links at the end.

INTRODUCTION

As well as my view on the opening day’s play in Dhaka which I listened to earlier this morning this post contains details of a walk around King’s Lynn that I took after play had finished and some interesting links.

DRAMA IN DHAKA

A wonderful opening day in the second Test Match between Bangladesh and England in Dhaka has finished with England 50-3 in response to Bangladesh’s first innings 220. When Tamim Iqbal and Monimul Haque were speeding along at four an over Bangladesh seemed to be headed for much for than 220, but Tamim’s dismissal shortly after completing a sparkling century triggered a collapse from the high water mark of 171-1 to 220 all out, Moeen Ali picking up five cheap wickets. The loss of Cook (captaining the England test team for record equalling 54th time), Duckett (just starting his international career) and Ballance (who has not been batting long enough lately for anyone to see what kind of form he is in) meant that by the close Moeen Ali was batting, and with some assistance from the weather he and Joe Root managed to hang on.

In some ways this match has similarities with Old Trafford 1902, when a lightning century from Victor Trumper (who reached the landmark before lunch on the first day) gave Australia a strong start which was then hauled back. Australia had a brief mid innings revival on that occasion and reached 299. England lost early wickets but then two middle order batsman, Len Braund and Stanley Jackson steadied the ship, the latter reaching one of his five test hundreds (all scored against Australia in England), and England were a mere 37 behind. A magnificent second innings bowling performance from England saw Australia all out for 86, and when England in pursuit of their target of 124 reached 92-3 the game appeared to be done and dusted, but then England panicked and started losing wickets, Clem Hill took a spectacular catch along the way, and suddenly debutant Fred Tate found himself going out to bat at 116-9 – he snicked one four, survived two further deliveries and was then comprehensively bowled to give Australia victory by three runs. If this match is as close I will be delighted, and as I stated in an earlier post, I will be particularly delighted if said close result goes against England because I believe that a victory against top table opposition for Bangladesh will be good for cricket as a whole.

To finish this section, although Bangladesh are pretty new to international cricket, Dhaka under its old name of Dacca has a much longer connection to the game, being one of the few cities to have hosted home games for two different countries. Going back further still, Bransby Beauchamp Cooper who played for Australia in the first ever test match in 1877 was born in Dacca.

A WALK FEATURING TREES

I got the idea for doing a walk in which I focussed mainly on trees at this transitional time of year from Anna, who put this post up recently (I recommend that you check the comments as well!). This then is my version of a tree walk…

SETTING OUT

As this first set of pictures, taken from my outside space show I don’t have far to go to be able to see trees:

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Heading across Baker Lane Car Park towards the Purfleet which I was then going to follow the Great Ouse provided these pictures:

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A SOUPCON OF HISTORY AND ALONG THE RIVER

Since I wanted to be in  that vicinity to photograph trees on the other side of the river anyway I took one non-tree related photograph before heading along the river, and this set of pictures actually features a second. This stretch ended with a brief diversion from the river front to skirt Bole Quay.

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The second non-tree related photo.
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The view along Millfleet

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SKIRTING BOLE QUAY AND LEAVING THE RIVER

After skirting Bole Quay I briefly rejoined the river front, before leaving it by way of a path through Harding’s Pits.

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HARDINGS PITS TO SEVEN SISTERS

From Hardings Pits I headed by way of the South Gate to Seven Sisters where I entered the parkland area.

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THE PARKLAND

I headed from Seven Sisters to the Band Stand, and the from the Band Stand to St John’s Walk, which I followed until I left the parkland heading in the direction of the train station:

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HOMEWARD BOUND

Even after leaving the parkland there were a few more photographs:

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Decorative brickwork above a pair of shops on Norfolk Street.
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The upstairs portion of the building that houses an imaging business – I have never used it, but you can get digital photos printed here among other things.

LINKS

My first is a little gem from travel vibes on twitter, introducing the word thalassophile (not all readers of this blog are on twitter, and this is a goodie).

First the definition: Thalassophile (n): Lover of the sea, ocean. Here are the real reasons for posting this, the accompanying pictures:

 

Next come two autism related links:

  • As NAS West Norfolk Branch Secretary I am delighted to publicise NAS’s latest campaign “Close the autism employment gap”.
  • My second concerns the Kevin Healey petition calling on Brentwood County High School to expel a gang of bullies who have been preying on an autistic student. Since I put up a link to this petition in a previous post details have emerged of a second shocking case of bullying at the same school. For more details, please click here. As a coda it is sadly abundantly clear from the comments that bullying has been a major problem at this establishment for a long time and that the head teacher in particular and other senior staff have been taking the ‘ostrich’ approach to the problem.

My next link is to a campaign to secure better working conditions for Uber drivers (and now is a particularly good time to pile on the pressure as Uber have just taken a hit in court). Click here for more details and to support the campaign.

I give the final word to Britain’s youngest MP, Mhairi Black, here hammering Concentrix – and managing to be very funny in the process:

 

 

 

 

 

Sunday in Uppsala – The Botanic Gardens and Carolina Rediviva

The latest installment in my series about my recent holiday in Sweden. This post covers the botanic gardens and Carolina Rediviva.

INTRODUCTION

Welcome to the next installment in my series of posts about my recent holiday in Sweden. This post deals with the start of the full day I had at my disposal in Uppsala.

PREPARATIONS

Although I was booked in for a second night in my dorm room I still had to do some sorting out before setting forth to continue my explorations of Uppsala – I stowed my larger bag in a recognized storage slot and put everything else I did not wish to carry with me, including most of my books, on my bed, which as I would be using it again the cleaning staff would not need access to. Having thus ensured that the staff would be able to do their jobs with no obstruction it was time to set off. My initial target was the Linnaeus Museum,the former home of Carolus Linnaeus, but that was closed when I got there.

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My next target was the…

THE BOTANIC GARDENS

The Botanic Gardens in Uppsala have an entrance just opposite the Carolina Rediviva which features later in this post and at their other extremity abut on to the grounds of the Evolution Museet.

THE START: FORMAL GARDENS

If you enter the gardens (admission free) at the Carolina Rediviva end you are first greeted with a very formal looking and generously spaced garden which reveals nothing of what lies ahead.

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The first two pictures were taken just before I entered the botanic gardens

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The view from the entrace.

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THE SECOND SECTION – A VARIETY OF GARDEN TYPES

The second section of the botanic gardens offers much more by way of variation. I did not venture into the greenhouse like building that houses the tropical plants, but everything else that was there to be seen I did see. Here are some photographs from this area…

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Deep within this second section of the botanic gardens is a real treasure…

A SMALL EDUCATIONAL SECTION

I was drawn towards this subsection by the only indications of its existence to be visible at a distance – two information boards and a very distinctive sculpture. As I soon found out, these were just the tip of the iceberg…

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The first two pictures show the information boards

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This is the sculpture – a giant model of DNA, as revealed by the work of Watson, Crick AND Franklin (Rosalind Franklin’s work was shown to Watson & Crick without her consent even being sought, much less given, and enabled them to complete their own work, so at the time she did not receive the credit she was due).
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On the ground in front of the sculpture is this mosaic showing the chemical formula.

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There are also several other mosaics.

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Viewed from the outside this is what this little subsection looks like.

I concluded by visit to the botanic gardens with…

SOME FINAL PHOTOS

Here are the last of the photos I took in the botanic gardens…

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THE EVOLUTION MUSEUM: A PLEASURE DENIED

I had been looking forward to seeing what the Evolution Museum had to offer (a natural history museum in the home town of Carolus Linnaeus – surely it must be good). Unfortunately, I discovered that it was closed for renovations, so I missed out on seeing exhibits that include the largest collection of dinosaur skeletons anywhere in the Nordic countries. Making my way back towards to the town centre to visit the old home of the aforementioned Linnaeus I paid a visit to…

THE GREAT LIBRARY OF UPPSALA

The Carolina Rediviva to give it its proper name is home to 5,000,000 volumes. On the ground floor is a small exhibit of its greatest treasures, the centre piece of which is the ‘Silver Bible’, a 1,500 year old bible which was captured by the Swedes from Prague in 1648. A 17th century Swedish goldsmith crafted the cover that now adorns it and gives it its name. I do not have a photograph of it because after I had taken three photographs of the exhibits I was told that photography is not allowed due to the potential damage done by flashes (I never use the flash anyway, but it was clear that I could not win the argument). However, while I fully accept the argument for banning flash photography in such a place, a blanket ban on photography seems excessive (the Uppsala University museum, which I covered in this post, takes the sensible course of banning flash photography but permitting photography without flash). Here are my photographs from the Carolina Rediviva…

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These last three photos were the ones i took inside the Carolina Rediviva before being stopped from taking photographs.

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Gaywood & The Rookery

An account of a walk that took in Gaywood & The Rookery. Also some mentions of autism related matters to top and tail the post.

INTRODUCTION

Those of you who read my post on Wednesday about preparing for the Positive Autism Awareness Conference that NAS West Norfolk are having on April 15th will recall that I noted the entrance sign to Gaywood & The Rookery. Today I got back there for a proper look…

GETTING THERE

I followed the same route as I had on Wednesday, but this time with no time constraints. I caught a glimpse of a Muntjac (thank you Helen for the ID) but this one proved too elusive for me to photograph, although I did see a few things worth photographing…

GAYWOOD & THE ROOKERY

I ventured in, and was delighted by the place. I will let the photos tell the story of this amazing little piece of woodland that is within walking distance of the centre of Norfolk’s third largest town…

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HOMEWARD BOUND

I had left Gaywood & The Rookery by a different path from the one I entered it by, and now headed home by a different route, save for a very short stretch of path to the bridge over the railway, and thence through the Hardwick Estate, and ultimately on this occasion back to the town centre by way of the river (I could also have gone by way of the cemetery and the parklands).

AUTISM AWARENESS

A bit disconnected from the rest of this post I know, but I have an infographic to share to remind everyone that April 2nd – 8th 2016 is World Autism Awareness Week (courtesy of patienttalk.org)

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