Harry Potter and the philosopher’s stone reread part one

Harry Potter and the philosopher’s stone reread part one

Hello and welcome to my blog, if you read my last blog then good news the National Autistic Society hasn’t murdered me with their secret hit man. Bad news I had one of their content creators decide to post about how great relaxed performances are the day after I did a blog about how they can be improved. Coincidence I think not!

I have seen this concept on Tiktok of people rereading the books as adults and picking it apart everything has some hidden meaning due to its plot holes and the controversy with JK Rowling. I don’t stand with her views and trans women are women, just to put that out there. However the Harry Potter books have always had a place in my heart, I grew up listening to them on audio book because I struggled to read when I was younger. I used to spend a lot of time in my room and I would listen to it constantly.

Then when I would sleep I would fall asleep listening to it. The only one I couldn’t fall asleep to was Prisoner of Azkaban and that’s because I would get too into it. I think sometimes you can split the art from the artist. With some of the points I have been seeing on TikTok videos I was surprised like I don’t remember that being so obvious. So the point of this reread is to see is there hidden meaning to the book or is it people just reaching. I am going to do this as a series throughout the series.

I am going to go through the chapters one by one talking about the good, the bad, the plot holes and potential offensiveness if I see it. This blog will be from The boy who lived to the keeper of the keys to avoid it being a 1000000 word blog. I plan to do four chapters per blog. Also to make you aware I am rereading them as someone who has read and listened to them a lot. Reference to future books will be mentioned. Spoiler alert for the rest of the books and movies. So let’s begin.

The boy who lived

This chapter sets up the rest of the series, its the beginning of everything. The books starts in the third person but we as the reader are in the head of Vernon Dursley then once the Dursleys go to bed its third person with no point of view, its supposed to be a normal day. It sets up the Dursleys well as who they are as people. The magic community being reckless is amusing they are all like Voldemort’s gone lets send thousands of letters and send out shooting stars. Vernon Dursley goes to work and notices that there are people wearing cloaks and he is so angry about it which is lightly amusing. Just let people live their lives. Also it negates the head canon that the Dursley were dicks because they were around the Horcrux.

The timeline is a bit messed up so the Potters died on Halloween night which is the 31st of October, Hagrid picks Harry up that night and Sirius was there. He gives him the motorbike and Hagrid goes off. Then Sirius goes off to find Peter Pettigrew. Then the 1st of November is when the parties and stuff are happening and that night or the early hours of the 2nd of November Harry is dropped of at the Dursley’s, so where were Hagrid and Harry for the missing 24 hours. Was Harry taken to a doctor or was he flying around for 24 hours. He mentions that he fell asleep going over Bristol but how long were they flying over Bristol. It makes no sense. Also we know its Hagrid who told McGonigal where to go. When did he have time? Also we know Sirius goes after Peter on 1st of November so news of his arrest would be going around as well.

McGonigal is the only person in this whole book series that has sense, to be begin with she is worried about Hagrid being the right person to bring Harry there. As soon as she found out Dumbledore’s plan to leave Harry with the Dursley’s she knew that they’d end up abusing him. Dumbledore also knew but didn’t care because blood protection. Also Dumbledore asks her why she isn’t out enjoying the parties like three of the students that she liked hadn’t just been

So in the earlier version off the book Hagrid says that Sirius lent him the motorbike, so we know he was expecting the bike back and then later on he say he is going to give the bike back. In the later versions of this book it says that Sirius gave him the bike and that he was going to put the bike away. So she fixes her timeline for Sirius but doesn’t explain the day that Hagrid and Harry are flying over Bristol. Also probably a bit nit-picky but it came into my head when I was reading the books but why does Sirius have a giant sized bike. Sirius wasn’t a giant.

They left a one year old on a doorstep. What if he had been kidnapped by a death eater, stepped on in the morning or just died of Hypothermia it was November in England. What if Petunia randomly decided she wasn’t putting the milk bottles out. Also its harsh that she finds out her sister died through a letter.

The vanishing glass

10 years later and Harry is being neglected and abused. From this moment on it’s mainly in Harry’s point of view but in the third person. The movie does miss out a lot of Harry’s sass in his inner monologue. If they do the HBO series they need to have Harry’s voice over. Harry is locked in the cupboard for days on end, he’s in clothes once worn by Dudley a child twice his size, he doesn’t get any affection and in this very chapter he gets shouted at constantly. Screw Dumbledore for leaving him with the Dursley’s. So James equally died saving Harry and James was apart of the whole pure blood stuff. He could have been given to anyone the name that come to mind Andromeda Tonks she would have enough blood connection to protect Harry.

Harry has a dream about a flying motorbike but if he wasn’t aware enough to notice his own mother dying in the same room enough to see thestrals would he remember the motor bike even in his subconscious. Probably he was on the motorbike for 24 hours. The way they use Harry as a servant is so crap, he cooking for them at age 10.

So, lets address the elephant in the room. Recently there has been debate that the description of the Dursley’s is fat phobic because Vernon and Dudley are overweight. Rereading it though I don’t think that’s the case because there are over weight people in the franchise for example Molly Weasley is described as plump but she is a good person. Also the books are mainly in Harry’s head/point of view so he’ll describe them negatively not because of their weight but because they are mean to him. Nobody hates the Dursley because they are overweight its because they are dicks to Harry. Also Petunia the one that is blood related to Harry that is a dick to Harry and she’s not fat. I think it’s a way to show the audience that you can any size and still be a dick. I can understand though why it is construed as fatphobic but in my opinion I don’t see it.

The way they treat Harry is horrible, with the inner monologue you can see how young he is. Sometimes to easy to forget with all the adventures he goes on. He is so young. He always hears them talking bad about him which wouldn’t help his self esteem and he’s not even upset he’s got to the point now where he’s just accepting of his fate. It’s really cute that he wants to be left at home to watch tv and eat food. They are like and come back and find the house destroyed. He ends up going to the Zoo with them. At the zoo the Dursley’s get him an ice lolly and food at the food place at the Zoo so they know how to act around him outside such an abuse thing acting normal outside but being a dick inside. Anyway away from the Dursley’s I don’t know why but this reread I am more screw you Dursley.

When Harry is speaking to the snake is he hissing or is he speaking English. I forget sometimes that they don’t get stuck in the tank in the book. His early magic was amusing, he’s so sassy in his thoughts.

The letters from no one

So, Harry has been in the cupboard for a month and school is finished, did he go to school. Or was he in a cupboard for all that time. He’s looking forward to going to a different secondary school because he’ll be away from Dudley so he might make some friends. If only he knew.

Harry sass is amazing, Dudley tells Harry that they put peoples head in the toilet at Harry’s new secondary school and Harry says this “The poor toilet never had anything as horrible as your head down it might be sick”. Such sass and in the next page he’s see’s his school uniform in a pot of water and he says “I didn’t realise it had to be so wet”. So much sass.

Harry should have chucked his letter in the cupboard, silly Harry. They think that they are being spied on but then move Harry to another bedroom so that he doesn’t get another letter. Or are they doing it so they can be like look we treat him so good. Isn’t it bad though that Dudley pretended to cry, was sick on purpose and hit his mum because this has probably worked in the past which is just crazy. This reread I am struggling to be annoyed at Dudley as much as I normally would do because he’s a child. I think that my psychology degree is coming to play here so rather than seeing Dudley as this super villain I am seeing him as a product of his nasty parents.

Harry stepped on Vernon’s face to get a letter, his face should be broken. I love how Hagrid is just like not giving up getting these letters to Harry. They are in eggs, they are milk bottles and he even sends some down the chimney. Vernon packing the family up and leaving is so weird. Surely they want Harry to go away they didn’t want him. So they go to a hotel and Hagrid sends a lot of letters to the hotel. Which adds the question is Hagrid following them subtly and if so he could have been a guest at the hotel. But you know plot.

Harry nearly forgets it’s his birthday and that’s sad. He’s counting down from 10 to when it’s going to be his birthday, in the audio books if you’ve stopped paying attention trust me you start paying attention after the first boom. Especially in the Stephen Fry version of the audio books. So many times I would jump.

The Keeper of the keys

First thing first I love Hagrid and no amount of rereads will change my mind. The movies did him dirty because in the book he recognises Harry straight away, there’s no mistaking him for Dudley. He also spells Harry’s name right in the movies because again Hagrid isn’t an idiot. The fact they try to make him more like an idiot in the movies is ableist, the fact he spells Harry’s name wrong is meant to be for laughs, hahahaha a person can’t spell. You know who always can’t spell people with learning difficulties. JKR could have taken that out if she wanted to she had the choices of the movies. So I may not completely see the fatphobia but the ableism is loud.

See how pure Hagrid is, the Dursley’s point a gun at him and he’s straight away making fires for them so they are warm. He also makes enough sausages for everyone to have some. He is such a good person. He gets angry when Harry doesn’t know about Hogwarts. He gets angrier when Harry apologises. It’s amusing that the Dursley’s are trying intimidate a half giant is amusing. Now isn’t the time Vernon!

Harry finding out he is a wizard is so so iconic and the fact he questions it is so interesting. It takes a bit longer in the book to come to the realisation. Him connecting the dots is adorable and we can see him become more relaxed in himself now that he knows he isn’t just a freak.

So, a criticism I see a lot about the books is it’s not planned out and JKR forgets stuff. People say that she didn’t plan a lot of it. I think though Petunia’s rant about magic is dripping in jealousy and years of pent up annoyance. Which will come into play in the Deathly Hallows when we see her write to Dumbledore asking her to go but when she is rejected she gets angry over jealousy and the anger over the years. Could be she sees Harry the child that is her sister’s showing signs off magic and she wants that for herself. Also with petunia the anger could grieve, obviously she wasn’t close with her sister but in the same morning she got a baby and the news her sister died in a letter. She wouldn’t have time to process it because she would have jumped straight into parenting. So that could add to the resentment and her treatment of Harry.

Harry finding out about his parents deaths and how he is famous is interesting. For the first time Harry is being told what is going on by an adult without the adult getting annoyed about asking questions. The Dursley’s interjecting every so often just to remind us they are there is annoying, yes JKR we know they are there they brought the kids to the hut on the rock. The pig tail is so extra. I love Hagrid.

So what have we learnt from the first few chapters, Harry is a sassy kid who is ready to escape his life with the Dursley’s. The Dursley’s are awful people however Petunia and Dudley have reasons behind it. Yet to find a reason why Vernon is a dick other than he hates different people. Though I didn’t see fatphobia in the books there is some ableism in the movie. Hagrid is an amazing person that can do no wrong and deserves better.

If you like this blog give it a like, if you have something to say about the blog comment below nicely if you struggle to comment on here go to my socials. Next blog is going to released next week where we will do the next four chapters so follow so you can keep reading.

autism theatre should it return?

autism theatre should it return?

Well I think NO, wait wait wait stop before you all leave let me explain, I would change it from the way it was being done because wow the autistic version really butchered The Lion King. I didn’t do a review of that one because I worked for the National Autistic Society at the time and I was nervous about saying the wrong thing and getting in trouble for it. But now I have wised up to it in general and know that they can’t get me sacked or affect me in anyway. Hopefully this blog will make them wise up themselves and take some of my advice and critism. House keeping I use autistic person not person with autism. I also use functioning levels don’t like it don’t read.

So for my walking followers or anyone who has no idea what autism theatre is basically its a relaxed performance of a musical the lights are on, people can speak and stim without fear of being judged, they tone down some scenes with noise and sound. For the most part the concept is great I as an autistic individual will sometimes make noises or will speak out when I am in the theatre so I get that. The first autistic friendly experience I went to because I wanted to see what it was like was Aladdin in August of 2017 and it was so good I did have some niggles with it one being I felt like more could have been done to teach the autistic individuals about theatre etiquette rather than letting them wonder around and be a nuisance (one guy just randomly heckled every so often). The Aladdin one was amazing though even with the fire alarm going off (Link to review below). It was a great day overall but it did make me think what else could be done to help Autism meet theatre. When I saw autism friendly Lion King tickets come up I was like lets have a gander and see what changes there are from the actual musical to the adapted musical and wow, just wow.

So, what went wrong well to start off with the lights were on so the things we weren’t meant to see like (spoiler alert); During Mufasa death he landed a bit below the trapped door and scuffled himself onto the trapped door. In a normal performance we wouldn’t have seen that but because the lights were on we saw everything. It didn’t help though I was hearing a child I worked with at the time that targeted me stim/distress noise in the stalls below. You wait until you hear about what happened in act two. So act two started and I know its a bit tense but it felt like the whole of the stalls below were all having meltdowns and screaming. A bit of noise, a small outburst here and there maybe seems acceptable but the noise coming from the stalls was so bad you would think Nala was leaving to die but no she was leaving to find Simba chill guys, the volunteers or the theatre staff should have done something about it. Well they didn’t but all of a sudden we got to a bit I knew was coming and it had been skipped. They didn’t do it but it didn’t make sense for a line later but as it was a few years ago I can’t remember what it was, I just know it didn’t make much sense why they cut it. Don’t cut bits because of the meltdowns in the stalls. Maybe tell the stalls to stop screaming. Then there’s the bit towards the end when Timone and Pumba were distracting the hyenas what is was normally at the time was “What do you want to do, do a river dance” then Timone and Pumba would do a river dance and I was like its coming this will cheer up the stalls who were acting like an actual pack of hyenas had been let loose. It didn’t happen it got changed again and it was basically line for line with the movie and I was like great. A nice moment that could have been a nice laugh was changed. So I was ready to leave but I stayed because the actors had done a great job to deal with the audience.

Here are 5 suggestions I think they should do to improve it before they bring it back properly. The way it was done before needs to change.

5. I would go 50/50 on the lights, I would turn down the lights but not off completely but not on fully either because a lot of the magic of the show is the reason why most people go to the theatre. There is no magic if we see Mufasa shift himself to go on the trap door or if we can see actors in the wings.

4. There needs to be some ground rules around noise obviously it can’t be helped with lower functioning individuals. Maybe make it a rule that you try and keep it as quiet as possible but outbursts or stim noises are fine, take some fidgets and enjoy the evening. I personally think that if someone is having a meltdown they should be taken out of the actual theatre bit, taken to the foyer bit given time to calm down rather than being left to meltdown. Its not just upsetting to individual melting down but its also upsetting to the people around them.

3. If you are bringing your child, sibling or friend that hasn’t been to the theatre before go through with them what to expect. Please tell them they don’t need to boo the villain it’s annoying this is the theatre (as the great Patti Lapone says) not a pantomime there is a time and a place. Go through what they need to do like being as quiet as they can but telling them outburst or stim noise are okay. I think that as we are becoming more an accepting society having outbursts in the theatre isn’t as scary as it used to be not that people are that angry by it. They’ll look at you maybe but nothing completely crazy as it would have been some time ago.

2. At Regents park open air theatre last year they had a section called the yard which was used to help with social distancing and I thought it was amazing because it felt relaxed. After that it made me wonder could there be choice in other theatres to have something similar in the theatre. Maybe in the foyer for people that choose to go in there and have it on a screen. It would add to the relaxed atmosphere because obviously you have to be polite and try to be quiet but there isn’t the same pressure. Also at Regents Park Open Air theatre with the yard you could sit on what you wanted so you lose the aspect of the sensory issue of a seat if that makes sense, so if the foyer had the option of a seat, a beanbag or the floor it would take away from the sensory stuff.

1. I think with this last one its a group effort we make it so that the autism friendly performance is used as a way to educate autistic individuals and for it get build up on. So that autistic people can enjoy the theatre in it’s epic glory. To add more musicals and plays into the relaxed performance so its not just Disney, Wicked and Matilda. Have an autism screening of Les Miserables and more musicals tailored to older children/adults to help build people up so they aren’t relying on autism screenings. As someone that loves the theatre I just think it would be nice for more people access it and if they are learning how to access it then they can also enjoy the magic. Like I said above

Here are my thoughts overall, the idea of autism screening is a really nice one but things are needed to be done to make it less distracting and less annoying in general. If you agree or disagree comment below (if you disagree tell me nicely). Give us a like and if you want to see more theatre/autism/walking content with a dabble in true crime please follow.

Next week I’ll be back with a blog (if you never hear from me again NAS have used their hit man to come get me)

Autistic Aladdin: https://rosebud112.wordpress.com/2017/09/19/autistic-aladdin/

The autistic guide to social distanced theatre: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=r_SVVXoyCoE&feature=youtu.be&ab_channel=rurosietraining

10 Types of challenger you get on challenge walks/jog/run

10 Types of challenger you get on challenge walks/jog/run

From my experience of doing checkpoint work, walking the walks and being observant. I have noticed that there 10 types of walkers that all have their own characters, quirks and things that make me want to kill them in one way or another. obviously there are a lot more than this but if I made 50 types of walkers it’ll not get read properly and it’ll be a long blog. If you enjoy the blog then like it and follow and I’ll do this in multiple parts.

10. The super serious one: This one is a sight to be hold they arrive at the event early in their best running/walking gear, these people are not to be approached unless with some water (they usually forget) and yoga poses. These guys will be seen at checkpoints doing downward dog or they’ll run into the checkpoint grab some water and leave to get to the next checkpoint. These people usually finish 40 miles by 2pm just because they can. They are usually the first one back by a lot due to their pace and their drive to get to the finish. These walkers/joggers/runners are what most people aspire to be or the type of challengers people are like screw that I am happy with my own pace. They don’t see it as fast or anything different they are just see it as normal.

9. The sitter/tourist: These walkers to be honest I have only ever seen them on Ultra challenges, I most definitely didn’t expect to see it. Basically some walkers would sit down between the checkpoints I was so shocked, I saw this happen at 1km in and I was like we’ve barely started yet, get up. They’ll sit down on the route, or they’ll go into cafes and pubs on route. I was like that’s crazy. There also some walkers that will just stop for an hour to take pictures of stuff like tower bridge in London or the views and scenery of the walk which is fine just don’t take too many so that you forget your on a walk. If you must take pictures then get out the way of walkers actually walking.

8. The exhibitionist: This one is hilarious they don’t care they’ll pull their trousers down and pee and not care about people seeing them. They’ll get changed in the main marquee and not care other walkers and the volunteers/staff can see them changing. It’s like please keep your clothes on but at the same time when you got to go you got to go. It’s impressive with how confident they are to just randomly strip or pee on a walk and not care who saw them. I accidentally peed in the open without realising a few years ago on London 2 Brighton and too this day I cringe about the fact some random walkers saw me pee. To be fair when doing the challenge walk/run/jog its hard to keep your dignity so to completely not care about who sees you in whatever state is confident.

7. The grump: This one is annoying because they usually start grumpy they haven’t even started walking yet. You’ll say good morning or a normal human greeting and they look at you like your the scum of the earth and either give you a dirty look and not respond or tell you its not a good morning its a bad morning. It’s like chill out. They act like they are the only person that is awake and walking that day, everything is an inconvenience and they haven’t even started walking yet but they have already decided that they are going to have a terrible time. You ask them normal questions like is this your first ultra challenge or if they doing it for charity and they act like you’ve told them to give up their first born son or you’ve asked if they like to walk 200 miles. You wait till later when they become evolved grump.

6. The maniac: This one is a maniac, they probably have done a lot walks in the walking season, they can be spotted hobbling at the start line, or reapplying blister plasters between the start line and the first checkpoint. Especially in Ultra challenge season I saw people that were doing all the events at either 25km, 50km or 100km and they usually are motivated and have all the medals and are on first name status with every staff members because they are so recurring.

5. The too fast too soon: This one is a sad one because about 50 percent of these have to retire at half way or they retire between stops. What happens is at the start line the adrenaline start pumping and when they set off on their journey they either start sprinting when they are meant to be walking or they are walking at the super serious ones pace and then they end up pulling a muscle or they end up falling over in their excitement. They have high expectations of their finishing time and unfortunately will get upset when they don’t meet their own expectation. Like I said they either retire or they finish later than they wanted to.

4. The evolved grump: This one is the grump from earlier but he’s got worse after doing the mileage. They think they are only person on the course so they are allowed to speak to the support teams they want. I know in real life they are probably a normal person but on a walk day they are so grumpy and at times they are down right rude. I get that they are under strain and stress but last time I checked I didn’t sign you up to do 100km, they signed up themselves. They usually calm down once they are through the finish line and are full of apologies and love. I just think sometimes long walks like 100km, 50km, 25km and 40 miles can bring out different emotions in people.

3. The crier: Talking about emotions being all over the place the crier is something to behold, they’ll cry at the start line, at the checkpoints and at the finish line. They worry me because I am like do you want to walk this or is someone holding you hostage. This one also is hard to watch if they are crying because they have had to retire as someone that has retired from the challenge my empathy for them is high and I always want to go that extra mile to help them. The crier is just full of emotion that sometimes I am not sure if they are crying happy tears, sad tear or tired tears and to be honest its probably all three reason. This one isn’t just for women, if I had a pound for every time I have seen grown men cry while doing a challenge I would a rich woman.

2. The parent: The parent is the walker that is there on their own can be a man or woman and they join up with a group of younger people and adopt them during the walk. I think this is really sweet because the parent will then keep this group of young people and will walk with them for the rest of the challenge. They will also look after group of youngsters by sorting out their water, sorting out their calorie input and just being very parental. Its really heart warming to see.

  1. The lost: This one for some reason, they have either got lost and missed the checkpoint all together, they dropped out and not told anyone or they have ended up in a pub somewhere. Either way they are classed as lost on the paperwork when they haven’t so its a lot of phone calls and a lot of panicking that the walker has gone and got themselves lost. Its a good story tell at the end of the day or the next day with a pint. Even to this day there are stories of people going MIA and everyone has a giggle about it. I was classed as MIA during London 2 Brighton and the summer walk because my withdrawal didn’t go through to the control room.

Hope you enjoyed this blog, comment if you want a part two or let me know of any I don’t know about. If you want to see more of this type of blog then follow and if you like to see this blog go from strength to strength then watch this space. Goodbye!

The diaries of a retiree LSW 2021 (plus quick update)

The diaries of a retiree LSW 2021 (plus quick update)

Yesterday I took part in The louise Smalley Walk or as I called it the LSW 2. The Louise Smalley Walk is a 40 mile walk in Whitwell in Derbyshire, it is done in the memory of a little girl called Louise, she died young. They named the walk after her. This year I was both on walking and then I was checkpoint. This year the walk was for Neuro-care and it was different this year. Normally it would either be a round robin where it would start at one place and you’d have 8 checkpoints between the start and the end which would be the same place the Royal Oak in Whitwell. Or they get mini-buses to drop you off in the middle of the peak district or at a location and you use a route description to get you to the finish line again which is the Royal Oak. Yesterday however it was the shape of a flower with one base which was the community centre. So everything was looped back to the community centre. Due to the restrictions we had different start times based on our pace and past timings. Ruth and I were on the 4am start.

The day before we went shopping and got ourselves ready with an early night. The next day we woke up at 2:30am to get ourselves awake. We got our feet blister plastered up and we vaselined up to avoid rubbing. This was the first year we did it and we were living in Whitwell and it was amazing to get up and walk down. It exactly the reason why I moved back to Whitwell. Anyway we got down to the centre and we waited outside and got chatting to every single person in our start group. We were going to sixes and I knew 5 out of the 6 of them so I was excited all round to get started. I started to feel the adrenaline build up which was good and bad because if it went bad I would end up throwing up in a bush fortunately that didn’t happen. We all signed in and we went outside to set off. Before we set off we did the usual 1 minute silence we usually have for Louise Smalley and for absent friends. It felt like a moment in time as if time stood still even though it was a minute and medical teams were still talking, it felt like such a moment.

It was a lovely morning, it wasn’t raining or it wasn’t too sunny. I had been worrying it was going to be the same heat as the Summer Walk in London. So we set off and I knew from the moment we started I knew something wasn’t right. To start of with my legs weren’t moving fast enough, it was like one of those nightmares where you try to run and you can’t run you can only walk. But obviously I wasn’t trying to run. Local people will know Mallet and Chisel hill is a monster of hill, only a mad man would run up it. So, I decided early on I decided I was going to pull out at checkpoint 1. I wasn’t keeping to pace and I was struggling so early on. I blame the fact that I have gained a few pounds over the few lockdowns and I haven’t been training as much. I was walking behind the group and one of the more seasoned walkers Howard walked with me while Ruth went off ahead. We were overtaken by the fast walkers in the group behind. I found this interesting because we mainly see them at the start so to see them walking/running was interesting. We did the first section and then I transferred onto checkpoint support. This walk was different to the Summer Walk (video linked below) I didn’t feel like I had failed because I had got out of bed and got the start line. I would have failed if I had of not even tried to start and 10 miles is a lot considering the lack of practise. I was worried about letting Ruth down but she understood. She continued for the rest of the walk.

After getting changed, a bacon sandwich, a couple of cups of coffee and sitting under a blanket for half an hour I started to do checkpoint stuff. I was doing a lot of cheering and a lot whooping because my legs ached from the mileage I did. I did a little bit of drink making. I mainly chilled though and did some cheering. Ruth walked with Howard and she would get back into the checkpoint and would have water and food before going off again. I am glad that I could support her through the challenge on the checkpoint obviously I wished I was walking but I didn’t want to cause more grief by causing other people to walk slowly with me. Being on checkpoint and not moving much I did a lot of people watching and I found it fascinating. The checkpoint layout this year was four Gazebos with food, drinks and other miscellaneous items with chairs in a circle around the areas for the participants to sit. The idea was to avoid mass gatherings so having the different stations would mean it would even out a lot more. It was interesting seeing all the people come in and do normal walk activities like using talc or having a chat. It was nice to be back to normal or have a sense of normality. It was also nice to be apart of a community again and not have to worry about lockdown madness. The first walkers to finish finished at around 4pm which I thought was interesting. It was a very different year with the one checkpoint. It was hard to tell sometimes if they were finishing the walk or just walking through. I loved the community feeling of it all. Ruth and Howard were the last walkers in and they got in at about 11:30 and they were fantastic.

So, two walks in the space of a month that I retired from, is it time to decide that I should give up with walking. Well absolutely not, I have decided though I am not going to do anymore organized walks this year except the Halloween walk in October but that’s a nice little 10km. Ruth will be doing Chiltern 50 in September and I am going to support either working the checkpoint or as a spectator. I am going to do some walks of my own practising the potential route for next year and due to the fact I want to be a 100% ready to Louise Smalley Walk next year I have decided to do Thames Path Challenge instead of London to Brighton because I want to be fit and ready to do the LSW. I am going to build myself back up again stamina wise and make sure I improve. I am going to get myself back to my pre-pandemic fitness.

To finish off this blog well done to all the finishers, the volunteers and the retirees. Retiring isn’t easy but it has to be done sometimes. Anyway want to see more walking content like and follow. If you have anything to say leave a comment.

Walking updates 2021/2022

Walking updates 2021/2022

Good morning, good evening or whatever time of day it is when you are reading this. To be fair my walking updates are my least read blogs usually so if you have yourself on here well done for making it this far :). In the early days of my blog I was walking a lot and I would review the walks I did. Then due to life events, lockdown, having Covid and the pesky global pandemic I had to hang the walking boots up and the blog became an advice and musical reviewing blog. At the beginning of April I thought the only walk I thought I was doing this year was the Louise Smalley Walk. Now things are easing and the Jurassic coast last weekend making me want to get back into the Ultra’s and with the death of my god father I wanted to raise money for a transplant charity in his memory. I will structure this with what we are planning on doing this year, next year and then a simple round of what that means for the blog and the vlog.

So lets start with the plan this year, next weekend I am doing the summer walk with Ultra challenge that’s a leg stretcher as a 20km walk. Fun fact the code for this walk is LSW and it make me laugh because the walk we are doing at the end of June which is the 40 miler is called the Louise Smalley Walk but most people shorten it to LSW so Ruth and I are doing 2 LSW’s in June. The Louise Smalley walk in aid of Neuro-care. Then after that we are going to do our own walks until September, then in September we are planning on doing the Thames bridge trek which is 25km and at the end of September we are doing Chiltern 50. Then at the end of October we are doing the Halloween walk which we have picked 40km. The 2021 walks are to ease us back into walking properly only one is for charity which is the Louise Smalley Walk. The 2022 walks are going to be charity based which I’ll be launching in January 2022.

The 2022 walks will be self funded, we plan to do the winter walk full marathon 40km to get us stared for the year, the next walk we plan to do is the Easter walk 50km, then London 2 Brighton which will be done differently this time we’ll be walking continuously throughout the night to avoid us seizing up and sleeping in the tents, after that its the Louise Smalley Walk 40 miles, then we will do our own walks in the summer to prepare us for September for the Thames bridges and Chiltern 50. In January 2022 I am going to launch the fundraise page for London to Brighton but like I did for the National Autistic Society in 2018 I will have the page open for all the walks so I’ll post and be like we are practicing for London to Brighton and here is why. Like I said at the beginning of the blog I am looking at doing a transplant charity but I am unsure which one at the moment I am looking at the Oxford Transplant Trust because doing my research into it and it looks like it does a lot of good but I have until December/January to decide so if you have a Transplant Charity that you can recommend post in the comments below. It has to be a transplant charity and it has to be a registered charity.

So over the rest 2021 added together we are doing 199km or 125 miles that is get ourselves trained up for 2022. Over the whole of 2022 we are 329km or 232 miles and that is for charity one charity over the whole year which is going to be an organ transplant in memory of John Reynor. He was such a big part of my life and childhood it made sense to do it in his memory.

Wait what does that mean for the blog, well it means there will be some walking blogs and I will go back to vlogging the walks again but they’ll be longer and have more content. I will also be reviewing the walks on the blog and talking what how the day went and what to expect. This doesn’t mean that this blog will go become a walking blog, I will still do the autistic guide stuff and I’ll still do the musical stuff.

If you want to see more content like this then follow the blog, if you have something to say or a transplant charity to recommend comment below or give a like if you like it. See you all in a few weeks where I will be reviewing the summer walk.

The autistic guide to funerals

The autistic guide to funerals

Hello, so I had to cut World Autism Awareness Week due to a death of a family friend and my god father, John Reynor. So everything sorta stopped because it was a sudden death to us because to be honest I didn’t know he was even in hospital. Let alone knew he was that close to death, he had a kidney and pancreas transplant about ten years again and he ended up in hospital due to potential rejection and then it turned out the kidney he was given had cancerous cells or something so he died of Sepsis (the explanation will come apparent in later blogs and in the future walking plans). Anyway he died at the beginning of April and his funeral was at the beginning of May. It made me think there isn’t much out there about how to deal with funerals as an autistic individual its a acted like a part of life so they are like get on with it, and I am sure John would love me to use this as a educational thing. He liked of my blog in his life and I can imagine being the same in his death, after life or in heaven. House keeping I use autistic not person with autism and I use functioning levels because it’s how I describe stuff, don’t like it don’t read. Also this blog is more based for autistic individuals not parents but you can also read if you want and you can get ideas from it.

So, what is it about funerals that aren’t autism friendly. Well it can be the emotion aspect of it, the fact everyone is crying around you and if you weren’t particularly with person its like how am I meant to respond. Even if you are close to the person it can sometimes be a minefield of how to deal with people crying. In certain funerals they play the music excessively loud or in the case of my granny Nina’s funeral wave around incense like its running out of fashion. So how are we meant to deal with all of this and stay sensitive. Well I have a few tips for autistic individuals on how to deal with funerals and all the madness that is to do with them going from the decision making, the actual funeral day, the wake and the days afterwards. I will basing this on both pre and post Covid Guidelines.

Before the funeral: Think ahead about it, if this funeral is for someone that you care about then go obviously but its for some like a distant relative and you struggle with aspects of funerals don’t go. If you are going to the funeral, find out as much information as you can, what domination is it what I mean by this for example is it Christian, Catholic or non religious. This will give you an idea of what expect and if it doesn’t then do some googling we are now at the time where we can google a lot so prepare yourself as much as possible but unfortunately know that as much googling won’t prepare you for the actual day. Googling the church as well will help. What helped me recently was googling the funeral guidelines for Covid-19 because at the beginning of knowing I was going to be present at post Covid-19 funeral I was having dreams about being arrested by armed police and being shot. Which I assumed was my brain trying to process the grief and the nervous of the unknown of Covid-19 funeral. Also find out if you have option to watch over video link, which I did for one funeral, it’s easier because you can do your own thing you can sing, cry and reflect in your own way which I did with this (RIP Bex Judge).

During the funeral: Bring fidget toys that are small enough to fit in your pocket, this means you can fidget during the funeral and with it in your pocket, you can do it subtly if your a masker. Also in particular churches you can subtly stim with the stain glass windows. Due to Covid-19 regulations masks are mandatory for you to mask when you are at a funeral in person, you can either wear a mask and stim subtly or you can wear a sunflower lanyard which means you can go without mask without being questioned. I personally used the first option because I had prepared myself for it. It’s important to prepare. So with certain funerals you’ll go in then the coffin goes in, or in other funerals you’ll go in after the coffin. Sometimes you’ll get a random gut feeling that says NO. Ignore it if it is someone’s funeral you actually want to attend then go in, you’ll feel better for it. With John’s funeral I had the nerves when I saw the coffin and the amusement, the man had motorbike Herse so he was basically on a side car. When the funeral man said it’s time to go in I was like nope I don’t want to but then I ignored that thought in my head and went in. But I can imagine him also not minding if it was too much for me either. Point being I went in and was able to sit myself down. I would recommend sitting on the aisle seat so that if you do need to leave or if it does get too much for you. If your with people that know you they’ll understand.

The wake: Aka the after party. This is where you can relax slightly, the crying bit is pretty much over and it’s time for you to sit and chill briefly. Before Covid-19 this was in a function room and would be inside usually with a bar. With the restrictions it’s in a beer garden near the crematorium or church and you are sat at different tables but in your bubble which I think is great because it means you can stick to people that you know and it’s people you probably arrived with so you can share stories together without being too close too everyone else.

I hope this helps, unfortunately funerals are apart of life but if you know how to deal with them better it means you can deal with things better and be able to get through a funeral without feeling too overloaded or deciding funerals aren’t for you.

My next blog will be on a lighter note as I talk about my updated walking plan for 2021/2022.

Autism representation or misrepresentation in media

Autism representation or misrepresentation in media

Hello welcome to day three of Autism Awareness Week. Today I am going to be looking at the good, the bad and the complete messed up of autism being representation in the media. I did do a similar blog in the early days of the blog but that was back when I had no idea what I was doing. Since the late 60s there have been a range of autistic characters in comic books, film and literature. It has been since the late 70s with TV representation and since the early 00s with video games so I won’t be able to cover every single case of autism representation. Autism representation is important because we are apart of the world and when it is done right it can be amazing. When it is done wrong it can degrade us, stereotype us or even put us in danger more of that to follow. I am now going to list my favourite representation of autism, what’s good about it, what can be improved and does it have potential to be harmful. Then I’ll be listing my least favourite representation, what’s bad about it and does it have to be harmful. For this blog I will be focussing on people that are diagnosed autistic not have traits of autism so eating gilbert grape is out of the running. Also there are more least favourites than favourites.

Favourites

  1. Jane from Jane wants a boyfriend: This one because it is very authentic to adult females on the spectrum, we aren’t all rocking in a corner or doing maths equations. We all have wants, hopes and dreams. Sometimes its wanting to find true love and the way that she portrays that is done really well. The actress is neurotypical but she acts it really well. I also like the fact its also about a sister learning to let the autistic sister make her own mistakes and stop coddling her. So in a sense it isn’t just a coming age story for the autistic woman but it is also a coming of age story for the sister. It’s a lovely mix of romcom and drama so a dra-rom-com. From what I watch from it I can’t see where it can be potentially harmful. It portrays an autistic woman as a woman that has wants and needs and flaws so a real person.
  2. Wendy from Please stand by: This one because it shows a coming of age story for an autistic woman with a few twists. Basically she has a fixation with Star Trek and when her sister doesn’t believe in her and she doesn’t get her story in time for a writing competition. As someone that loves to write I can completely relate to her struggles and the fact people sometimes find it weird I can also relate to. The portrayal is done by a neurotypical person. The potential harm it could cause is give people the idea to run away from group homes and everything will be okay in the end.
  3. Sean from the good doctor: What is there to say about Sean from the good doctor, he is amazing and he is a doctor. It shows how an autistic individual can be anything they want to be. The savant syndrome adds to his character and it isn’t to Rain man standards of offensive. He is played by an non autistic actor but he is such a good actor that it doesn’t really matter. The program it’s self is a bit too gory for my liking but the portrayal of Sean is great.

Least favourite

  1. Sam from Atypical: This reason is plain and simple he’s an awful person. He gets really creepy which is put on for laughs, he acts like he has a free pass at being a twat because he is autistic which just isn’t good enough. I have done a whole blog about how this program is problematic will link below. It gives people a reason not to like us and trust me we have enough of that. Its not exactly harmful just an awfully offensive. It could have done with less creepy scenes.
  2. Raymond (Ray) Babbitt from Rainman: Well this character is the reason there is a crap ton of stereotypes about autistic people us being amazing at maths and lots of other things that we are now stuck with forever. The portrayal of an autistic person is very stereotypical and that’s just rubbish.
  3. Brooke Hathaway from Hollyoaks: This one I feel bad about saying but I can’t stand her. I feel like she puts autism in a really bad light. When she first came to the village I thought yay an autistic actress playing an autistic character but then I realised I couldn’t stand her. She was too honest and stuff which she would have been taught at an early age not to be so honest. Then when she had a pregnancy storyline and it was rubbish and she was selfish throughout making out that autistic woman couldn’t be mother which was disgusting and just plain horrible. The way she treated her boyfriend and the father of the child no wonder he went of the rails. It gives out bad autism stereotypes and tells the world that autistic woman or girls can’t be parents.
  4. Last and definitely least is Music from…. Sai’s Movie Music. So where to begin, it can be the fact that her behaviours are literally every single trait of autism ever, it could be that she portrayed more like a puppet than a living breathing person or it could be because they treat restraint like it is the first thing to do when you are dealing with an autistic person putting us at more risk because people are going to assume now that to help someone having a meltdown you pin them down until they stop moving. Even though that is probably them stopping moving because they are dead or just unconscious. It also poor sister has to go and look after autistic sister and oh woe is me which adds to the stereotype that autistic people are a burden and with the statistics recently of autistic children being murdered by their care givers it isn’t the impression we want out there that autism is a burden.

Thanks for reading my blog, if you agree with me give me a like, if you have something to say give a comment and follow if you want to more see you all tomorrow for day four of autism awareness week which will potentially be a bit special because tomorrow is the beginning of autism awareness month.

The autistic guide to Pica

The autistic guide to Pica

Welcome to day two of World Autism Awareness Week. Today’s blog is going to be about PICA, what’s pica I hear you all ask. Well it is basically when you have an urge to eat something that isn’t food. This universal and isn’t just autistic individuals that deal with it. For the sake of this blog I will focussing on Pica in autism. Well from my experience I have known Pica to be mainly lower functioning autism but I also have experienced Pica throughout my life and I started of lower functioning and eventually developed to higher functioning with a lot of work, I still get Pica tendencies but now I just don’t eat the thing. The blog today will be aimed at parents and carers.

For you it will probably be for your child or young person with severe autism. With this one it is hard at times to handle because they don’t understand that the thing that they want to eat isn’t food or is raw and can’t be eaten if its not cooked. With this here are some ideas on how to deal with this in the best way without you tearing your hair out or potentially getting ready to murder your child (This is a joke, more on that in tomorrow).

First things first, avoid having things around that your child can accidentally class as food, it’ll probably make things easier. Keep an eye on your autistic child and make sure that they aren’t getting into things. Something that helps with Pica is sensory tasks because sometimes Pica can be because they are sensory seeking. A sensory activity for example get a pair of old sturdy tights clean obviously and cut them at the knee. Then put rice in the tights and tie a knot into the top. Then they can crunch it in their hands and they can put it against their mouths. They won’t be able to bite through it hopefully and it’ll help with the crunch sensory seeking. Get chewy toys, they help with mouthing issues and they also help with self injurious behaviour so it kills two birds with one stone. You can get them in different shapes in case they are likely to accidentally swallow them. They can also have a lanyard that you can put a chewy toy on so it is less likely to be eaten.

Second thing if your child has some understanding you can do a social story to hopefully teach them the importance of not eating things that aren’t food. Social stories have been proven to be useful however if that doesn’t work there are other ways to educate your child, teenager or young person for example power stories. Don’t give up hope because chances are they will grow out of Pica or if they don’t it will get easier with time.

thank you for taking the time to read this, if you like it give it a like and if you want to see more like it then follow. I am here all week doing weekly blogs.

The autistic guide to university online edition

The autistic guide to university online edition

Hello everyone and welcome to day one of World Autism Awareness Week. This week I am going to be doing a blog every single day this week and probably a ton of Tiktoks to spread awareness for autism because trust me there is a lot that needs awareness being raised. Today’s is a fun little blog to get us started for the week.

Last March we got put into the first lockdown and everything apart from hospitals, some teaching and other key jobs were put online including university. This was difficult to begin with to get your head around but since we have been at it a year and with it looking like we won’t be going back anytime soon unless your doing a health care degree or a teaching degree. It was a lot of changing and a lot of things to process. I feel sometimes doing online university has its strengths and its negatives. This semester in particular I have been struggling with motivation and staying on plan so here are some top tips on how to stay motivated and to navigate during online learning. This blog is for autistic individuals rather than parents, care givers or friends however you are still welcome to read along.

The first piece of advice is to set a routine on the days you have university. Get up around the same time and do things around similar times but give leeway for technical issues and cancelation. A routine will help to keep you grounded and also will be useful. I would also recommend having an end of week treat for example a drink, a piece of cake or just something nice that you like because it is something to look forward to at the end of the week. I would also recommend giving yourself some relaxation time set everyday so that your not getting bogged down with homework whether it is playing a few video games or doing something that you enjoy just do it.

The second piece of advice is to type up when everything is due and put it on a notice board in your house or flat. This is so that you can prepare yourself for when things are due in so that you can do them in advanced if you are able to. Also it means that if you are stressed and need an extension you know when to do it by. Keeping organised is really important the more organized you are the calmer you will feel in general. Avoid leaving your essay and assignments to the last minute. Keep yourself on top of your work no matter how pointless it seems at times. Being at home and doing work from home is weird and goes against most routines and planned schemas in your head which means it will be a struggle to feel motivated or it may feel like you are not a real student but don’t worry you are a real student its just the circumstances at the moment with the pandemic.

The last piece of advice is to write down your goals, the reason why you wanted to go university and why you are working so hard and put it on a notice board in your house. This will remind you why you doing university in the first place especially if you are struggling to find motivation, wanting to quit or just overall fed up with how university is going, you went to university for a reason. Whether it was for the experience, the knowledge, the qualification or a mix of all them you went to university for a reason don’t give up hope because university will go back to normal eventually probably by September so that good news for first and second years. It not so good for people in their third years but remember if things go to plan with the road map you’ll get a normal graduation.

Hope this was helpful or just fun to read. See you tomorrow for day two of WAAW. If you like this blog give it a like, if you want to add something give a comment bellow. If you want to see more about WAAW then follow.

The Autistic guide to moving house plus a quick update

The Autistic guide to moving house plus a quick update

Hello guess whose back, back again. Guess whose back tell a friend. I have just moved into a new house and hopefully it will be the last house in a while until we can save up till we buy a house. That’s the dream which I hope we will do in the next few years. So lets begin this blog will be advice for both autistic individuals and people dealing with autistic individuals so that moving that is a stressful time at the best of times can be made easier. House keeping yes I use phrases such as autistic and I use functioning levels don’t like it, don’t read. So here is some advice to help this time be easier.

Before the move

First piece of advice is give yourself time or give your family member time to process the fact that they are moving avoid dropping it on them at the last minute. Also gibe time for wobbles or meltdowns because it can get very stressful time for people because of the change in routine, the moving things and the atmosphere can cause a lot of problems in an autistic persons mind. To tell them they are moving house if they are lower functioning you can get a social story to tell them that they are moving house. It might also be useful to arrange for your family member to go somewhere else during the move so that they aren’t getting too stressed with the whole move depending on functioning levels. For an autistic person I would recommend preparing yourself whether it reading up on your new area or getting your fidgets toys together so that you have things that will help you get through the move. However don’t over read about the area otherwise you’ll freak yourself out about some kind of murder that happened in the area don’t be that person. Just keep it simple does it have a shop, where’s the nearest pub and where’s the nearest doctor/hospital.

During the move

Keep calm, this tip can be for both autistic people or the people looking after autistic people. Try and keep calm during the move because then it’ll make you feel stressed out. With autistic individuals remember the move isn’t going to last forever it may feel like it on the actual moving day but just remember that during all the lifting and putting things in the van it will end and you will have things settled soon. Its not instant but things will slowly come together. If you are a person dealing with an autistic individual whether your parent, carer, friend, family member, partner or pet donkey be patient with your autistic person because you may be stressed out with the move but trust me they are probably feeding of your stress and the stress of the unexpected change. Attempt to keep it calm but don’t beat yourself up too much if you get snappy because we are all human sometimes things do come out in the moment. Make sure you make time for breaks during the actual move whether it is stopping to eat lunch or just having a quick coffee between the houses that are being moved.

After the move

Everything has been moved from one house to the other house and the old house is clean and the keys are given back or given to the new owners depending on if your buying or renting. Its time to get your new house sorted at the moment the place is a mess and you don’t feel like your in control of the new house. Don’t panic and be like well I wish I had never moved. Arrange everything to how you want it and don’t focus on what has changed. Focus on the positives your in a new house which is hopefully in a lovely location and things will get back to a new normal and as human being we are good at adapting. Think about it like this, this time last year there was a time you could go into shops not wearing a mask and you could hug people and now look at the world. Humans adapted to that and you will adapt to this. For the people dealing with autistic individuals just give them time to adjust to the changes and don’t put too much on them too quickly. Keep positive the place will shape up and will become the new normal and a month or so in it’ll feel like you have been living there forever.

Walking Update

So before I finish of this blog I have some exciting news. At the beginning of the year I was having some health problems after having Covid-19 and then we got put into another national lockdown so I thought great I am going to have to hang my walking boots back up again and not walk this year. Then the Louise Smalley Walk the walk in my local village is on this year. So Ruth and I made the decision to cancel all our walks and focus on training for the Louise Smalley Walk and potential Halloween Walk dependant on guidelines and other rubbish like that.

Thank you for reading today the next blog will be the 29th March because…. its World Autism Awareness Week 2021 and I have things planned for it. If you liked the blog give it a like, if you have something to say then leave a comment be interesting to see how other people get through moving and if you want to see more or are excited to see what I have to say during World Autism Awareness Week 2021 then follow the blog.