I Have Moved to Medium

It's been a long time since I posted here. In the past, I posted my articles in two places: this site and Medium. But that was a lot of work , especially when I found errors and wanted to make minor corrections. So, for a few months, I've been publishing only on Medium. * * * * * I hope you will join me there. I publish weekly newsletters on Medium which are public and do not require an account there. Links to Autistic Widower on Medium List of Autistic Widower's Newsletters on Medium

Road Safety and Changes to the UK Highway Code

Some of it seems common sense, but I have concerns about safety Photo by Annie Spratt on Unsplash In a few days, changes to the highway code are being introduced here in the UK. However, I don’t think some of the new rules have been thought through very well. In some ways, the situation reminds me of the introduction of smart motorways, where they didn’t think losing the hard shoulder would affect safety. Pedestrians Now Have Priority at Junctions If someone is waiting to cross a side road, the new rules say the motorist has to stop and let them cross. Of all the changes, this one concerns me the most — it sounds like it’s encouraging jaywalking! I can understand why people think it’s a good idea. In busy places, it can be hard to cross, even for those who are quick on their feet. My concern is that some people will step into the road, without giving drivers time to react. And what if a driver is being tailgated, when they slam on their brakes because a pedestrian runs across the road

If I Followed the Energy Saving Advice Every Year

Turn down your thermostat by 1 degree, and insulate your loft Photo by Jason Blackeye on Unsplash When energy prices rise, the same advice seems to be rolled out again and again. Two common suggestions are: Turn down your thermostat by one degree. Insulate your loft. I’m not saying there is anything wrong with these ideas — I’m sure they will help save energy, and potentially reduce CO2 emissions. So what’s the problem? If I followed the advice every time I heard it, then by now: My thermostat would be set to -30. My loft would be so full of insulation, that there wouldn’t be room for anything up there — not even my Christmas decorations and suitcases. On a more serious note, I do understand the need to take climate change seriously. It’s just that I’m old enough to have heard most of the energy-saving tips before. And when you’re sitting in a cold house while paying a large proportion of your income for gas and electricity, it gets a bit annoying. * * * * * This Old House Sadly, my

My Favourite Music, Part 1: Britfunk

12 Songs that I love Photo by Lee Campbell on Unsplash This is the first of several planned articles, where I share some of my favourite music. I like a wide range of genres and styles, but music from the late 70s and early 80s has a special place in my heart. I particularly like funky and soulful music, with some elements of jazz or jazz-funk — so Britfunk seems like a good place to start. The first time I heard the term Britfunk was in the 90s, when I saw a compilation CD containing several tracks I loved when I was at high school ten years earlier. All the memories came flooding back, and I just had to buy it. It wasn’t long before I bought another CD from the same series. I’ve tried to rank them in order, but I love all these songs. So if I ranked them next month, the order might be different again. At the end there are some notes, including a YouTube playlist and details of the compilation CDs. 1. Beggar and Co — (Somebody) Help Me Out 1981 There are so many things I like about

Silently Off the Rails

My life is a mess, but few people realise Photo by Claudio Schwarz on Unsplash I mask my anxiety so well, that my relatives think everything is fine. I smile. I talk. I do all the basic everyday tasks. From the outside, everything looks quite relaxed. But in reality, I’m finding things quite hard. This article is more like an entry in my journal. I’m not sure where I was going with it, or if I ever got there. But here goes… * * * * * I Became A Stay-At-Home Dad When I lost my wife, I had to carry on as best I could — I had no other choice. My children were 7 and 8 years old, and I wanted to be there for them as much as possible. A combination of factors meant I had enough money to survive. I wouldn’t go so far as to say I was lucky — losing my wife has been the worst experience of my life so far. But having a small pension, and Widowed Parent’s Allowance, meant that the life assurance money would last a lot longer — so I could get by as a stay-at-home dad. * * * * * Offers of Work The

An Apology About Not Replying to Comments

I'm really sorry I didn't reply to the people who were kind enough to comment on my posts here over the last year or two. I altered some settings tonight, and several notification emails came through! I really wish I'd seen your lovely and supportive comments at the time. I hope you can forgive me.

Not All Autistic People Have a Superpower

So please don’t expect one Photo by Lars Kuczynski on Unsplash Savant syndrome I know of some autistic people with amazing abilities. One is a teenager who can play the guitar astonishingly well. Another can remember the names of everyone he meets. It’s known as savant syndrome, and 0.5–10% of autistic people have it to some degree, according to this Wikipedia page . The media love to report stories about autistic savants, who can do complex mental arithmetic, or perform an entire song after hearing it just once. Perhaps this is why I’m sometimes asked what my superpower is when I say I’m autistic — despite it being statistically unlikely for me to be a savant. Like many autistic people, I have a ‘spiky profile’. This means some of my skills and abilities are well below average, whereas I am well above average in other areas. But I don’t really have a superpower. * * * * * My Abilities Mathematics I did well at mathematics in high school, college and university — but not genius-leve

Do You Take Too Many Photos? I Know I Do.

Having countless digital photos feels overwhelming — it was never like this for my parents… Photo by Antonio Scant on Unsplash Overview My parents’ approach to photography My out-of-control digital photo collection A strategy to get things under control Growing Up With Film Cameras When I was a child, my parents only took around 50–100 photos each year. My dad had a 35mm film camera, and was the main photographer. Many of the images were from our summer holidays. We were only ever away for one week, and it was rare for more than two films to be used, each of which held 24 or 36 photos. Quite often, my parents would ‘use up’ any remaining film when we returned, by snapping pictures of random things around our home. Some photos were taken at other times of year too, such as birthdays. But unless it was an extra special occasion like an 18th party, there weren’t very many. Considering how few pictures were taken back then, it’s not surprising that my parents only had a small number of al

Has Life at High School Improved Since The 1980s?

And are Ofted reports too eager to praise? Photo by NeONBRAND on Unsplash A few days ago, I heard Phil Redmond on BBC Radio 4 Today talking about Grange Hill , which is returning as a movie. Cassie Buchanan was also on the show. She said schools are calmer now than they were years ago — but I’m not sure whether I agree with that. (She went on to say that her schools are calm, safe, focused places of learning.) Hearing that discussion on the radio made me think about my children’s high school experiences, and how they compare to my own. * * * * * Open Evenings A few years ago, when my children were nearing the end of primary school, we attended open evenings at three local high schools. Here in the UK, Ofsted are responsible for inspecting schools, and we only looked at those which were highly rated. During the open evenings, the schools all had very high opinions of themselves. That makes sense of course — after all, they wouldn’t want to tell potential newcomers how bad things are.

The Wall of Star Trek Tapes

Eventually, they moved in with us Photo by Stefan Cosma on Unsplash A couple of weeks ago, I wrote about some of my Christmas memories . Since then, I’ve been thinking some more about the first encounter I had with my late wife’s parents, which I mentioned when writing about the unusual sandwich. The TV was on, and I was sitting on the sofa in their living room. When I looked around, I couldn’t help but notice something. The longest wall contained some shelving. Well, not just some shelving. More like a lot of shelving. About half the wall was filled with VHS videotapes. It was almost like a small library — every episode of the original Star Trek series was there, along with a small selection of other shows. At that point, I hadn’t really watched Star Trek . My sister’s boyfriend had sometimes watched the movies when he was at my parents’ house, and she’d handed him the TV remote. But I was only vaguely aware of it. Back then, I didn’t even know the difference between Star Trek and