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  1. I have stopped blogging.

    I used to enjoy it. I used to think I had something to say.

    I think I deluded myself that people would be interested or, at the very least, feign interest in what I had to say.

    I read other blogs and tried to work out why they had readers and I didn't. Wasn't I good enough ?. Did I use the wrong style ?. The wrong topics ?. Was I simply too....depressed ?. Perhaps I didn't have the credentials or the academic prowess; the qualifications that impressed people ?.

    I thought I wrote some okay stuff. Some poetry, lots of travel stuff, some Autistic insight from a personal point of view..

    They say blogging can be a cathartic process. They say you should write for yourself.

    But if you blog and nobody reads it, do you even have a voice ?.

    I think not.
  2. C0306CDC-1E7C-4781-8F9D-AB058F59B5BA.jpeg A balmy evening.

    A soft breeze blowing in from the ocean bringing with it that salt tang in the air.

    A night of utter stillness. Such quiet broken only by the gentle murmurs of the crew as they prepared dinner and the soft footfall of those of us who, by the light of a diminishing sun as it welcomed a silvering moon, trod the well worn path beside our tie up.

    I stood awhile watching the colours of evening. From inky blackness emerged a warm purple, then, in a line Amber was stretched brilliantly across the sky, carrying with it the warm yellow upon its broad back.

    Purple diffused, violet into mauve.

    The thinnest band of red, like a line of cotton, pulled itself into view; a divider, separating dark from light.

    Trees on the far bank were swathed in rainbow hues before being swallowed whole in the dark, yet standing firm, so it seemed, against the myriad of colours that crept up on them from behind, highlighting their beauty in deepest blacks.

    The night descended like a warm blanket upon a child; it's softness touching us all with a gentle caress, enveloping is in a bath of warmth, security and love.

    The final colours dissipated before the blanket of darkness as it swept through this ancient, wonderful landscape.

    What a night.

    What a place.

    For calm reflection.
  3. I rarely lie in.

    I would like to but find that fibro aches and pains, with accompanying stiffness, compel me to rise.

    Feed the cats. They’re quite fussy but if you leave food out then, eventually, they will eat. Go downstairs to let them out. They won’t usually but will take a quick peak or, at most, rush outside, sit down for a second, sniff the air and rush back in.

    And use the litter tray!. That’s them, not me!.

    As it’s still early(ish), about 6.00am, it’s a little early to check my fasting sugar so I spend the next hour or so checking the overnight news, answering emails and doing a bit of weight training.

    About 7.00 I check my sugars. Being needle phobic I always fear the jab and approach it with foreboding, whoever he is!.

    But then it’s done and a bright bubble of blood appears, albeit reluctantly. Gosh, that’s almost an armful!...Visions of Tony Hancock abound.

    About 7.45 I make my lunch for the day and Karen’s morning coffee. I rarely eat breakfast so normally half a cup of tea is my limit. Karen gets coffee and breakfast in bed 4 days a week. I don’t work on a Friday so she gets a long weekend to lie in.

    Leave the house at 8.40. Its about 15 minutes to my job depending upon traffic in this rural backwater. The car always has to be warmed as Karen feels the slightest chill and now, in the Winter, she really suffers.

    Work at 9.00(ish), to my desk, lunch into fridge, headphones out, iPod on, computer on.

    I work for a charity that employs about 20 people. We get a few lulls but generally, due to the nature of our work, we are busy and the phone rings from 9.00 until 5.00.

    I do the email enquiries and, particularly on a Monday, there are a host from over the weekend. My priority is them as well as checking documents sent in by our field volunteers.

    In between I will get asked to ring people or answer internal emails, check our literature and generally research stuff for other people. Apparently that is my Autistic talent, “finding stuff”!.

    Lunch at my desk between 1.45-2.15. catch up on the day’s events, read the Law Reports and see whether my football team are still in existence!. Yep, its been that dodgy at times.

    Afternoon drags. I don’t enjoy my job and well, let’s just say there has been some bullying and general unpleasantness in the past. Communication is very poor here and I constantly feel undervalued. Ho hum.

    4.30 is my finish time. Karen picks me up and by 5.00 we are home.

    My routine is then to check any post, shower, change and decide on dinner which, generally Karen prepares but she relies on me to cook chops or steak because she trusts my knowing when they are done. I like my steak medium-rare.

    Settle down. Watch the News, Local news and I have to endure Eastenders which, at least to me is a load of tripe with a bunch of nasty people in it. Can’t stand that programme. Then it really depends what else is on so we may watch a film on Amazon or Netflix instead.

    About 10.15 I go to bed. I like to read for 30 minutes before I go to sleep. Karen stays up till 2.00 or later as she can’t sleep if she goes to bed too early.

    Then its lights out..

    Until the next day..and we go again..
  4. I wonder what inspired you to travel?.

    Did you have that lads holiday to Ibiza?. Did you have your gap year?.

    Mine came from growing up in a house with my grandparents (Mums parents) who had lived in India, My Mum having been born in Calcutta, so there were always tales to be heard of living there, the exotic and the mysterious.

    But money was an issue in that I couldn’t afford to travel. I didn’t have any savings and, even after commencing my Civil Service career, my wages barely covered the rent I paid to my parents and books/CDs, the usual stuff.

    And then, out of the blue, I received a £10’000 inheritance and the stage was set.

    I was 24 when I announced to my parents that I was going to India to see the Taj Mahal. I recall the thrill of my first flight, the chaos of India, the heat and, above all contracting Amoebic Dysentery and being off work for two months as I struggled with huge weight loss due to all sorts of unpleasant bodily functions!.

    My parents fondly imagined that, being so sick, my travelling days were ended as surely I wouldn’t put myself through it all again ?.

    So I told them I was going to Egypt. This was my Fathers fault!.

    He had started to collect a series of books about world wonders and had received book 2, the Taj Mahal, but we never had the first in the series, The Pyramids. So, if I couldn’t read about them I would just have to go and see them, in person.

    I went at the height of the Gulf War. Egypt was virtually deserted and at one stage I was on a cruise boat which could hold about 150 people, with just 10 others!. From Cairo to the amazing Abu Simbel then a full ten days cruising the Nile back up into Cairo.

    I was totally hooked.

    Mexico followed two years later; Teotihuacan, Chichen Itza, the Maya and the wonderful hugeness of Mexico City.

    I walked through the Siq and stood in awe of Petra in Jordan, spent some time in Wadi Rum where Lawrence of Arabia whom my grandfather had served under, had spent some time.

    Becoming bolder I announced to work colleagues that I was going to Iran. One of the most welcoming places I have ever been with people so grateful we had ignored the political posturings and had come to see for ourselves what the country was like. A country of dodgy hotels, enormous kindness, incredible mosques, incredible scenery and dinner with the Minister of Tourism.

    From Iran I turned my attention to Burma, a country mired in turmoil under a military dictatorship. A country it was, technically, illegal to visit. A country quite staggeringly beautiful with dodgy electrics, pagodas sheathed in gold, gentle people, a very bad case of food poisoning and a sexual assault by an Army officer.

    Sri Lanka beckoned and I answered the call. A tour group that fell apart, a tour guide who refused to talk, being mistaken for the Tour Leader because I knew what was going on, an exhausting clamber up Sigirya and a Krait joining me for lunch in my hotel. Wonderful!.

    When I married we honeymooned in Thailand. Then we took the step-children to Menorca. We managed a week in Luxor, Egypt.

    After I divorced I didn’t travel for 6 years but, after meeting my current partner (who had never flown) I booked us a two week trip to Egypt. A week on the Nile where I could now read Hieroglyphics and a week in a hotel in Luxor from where we could get out and explore.

    I expanded both our horizons by taking us to Thailand, Cambodia and Vietnam. The hustle of Bangkok, walking across the border into Cambodia, the sensation that is Angkor Wat, crossing into Vietnam on the mighty Mekong and the grim reality of the Vietnam War.

    Back to India. Back to the North. Touring Rajasthan with its wonderful forts, desert scenery and protecting the women in our group when they were groped in the Taj Mahal crush.

    And then to South India. Temples, heat, Jungle, the most extraordinary coincidence and the most beautiful day of my life ever, on the backwaters of Kerala.

    And that’s it. So far.

    Oh the tales I will tell. I may even throw in a few photos from time to time.

    Catch you soon.
  5. Wow!. Where to begin ?.

    A bit about me I suppose.

    I was born on 13th March 1966 at 11.30am. It was a Sunday morning and I was just in time for lunch. Good timing, eh ?.

    I weighed 11lb 7oz so was a pretty chunky chappy.

    I had an elder sister. I say “had” when I should say “have”, through gritted teeth!. It’s not that we don’t get on its just that …we don’t get on. At one point we didn’t speak for almost 20 years and it was only our Fathers quite rapid descent into Dementia, his death and then Mums suicide 7 months later that forced us together.

    And trust me when I say these aren’t the circumstances you want to be forced into when attempting to communicate with someone you barely know.

    I am Autistic. I had a diagnosis of Aspergers on 13th February 2009. I very much suspect the whole family is/are on the spectrum.

    How does it affect me ?.

    I find I mask almost continually and that’s exhausting. I blend in with neurotypicals and feign an interest in small talk and gossip and try to act “normally” when I really want to tidy everything up, apply logic, work in an office on my own and do crazy stuff like stim continually or leap about and dance.

    I loathe phone answering, spontaneity, noise, people, various sensory assaults and my life in general.

    I have been with Karen, my better half for ten years now. She’s an amazingly talented creative person who loves crochet, embroidery, sewing, making stuff and you can’t move in our kitchen without falling over one of her four…or is it five, sewing type machines!.

    She is my carer, my chauffeur, a disorganised muddle who can never remember addresses or phone numbers which is where I come in. I do her accounts (she is self-employed), answer her crossword clues, tidy up after her and remember stuff for her.

    And that’s how we work, each compensating for the other. Oh, and she can talk for England, she comes from Newcastle and is very chatty and sociable. I am from Devon and the strong (Ha Ha!), silent type.

    Two cats. Amy is 12 and Katie is 8. I am very much a dog person but, living in a rented flat with no garden, it’s impossible to have one at the moment.

    I don’t have any hobbies as Anhedonia has removed any pleasure in things. Quite a contrast to Karen.

    I do read or force myself to read. I listen to music, mainly at work to block out NT gossip but much of it is just general background noise. Can’t really watch TV (Karen watches EastEnders which I think is an abomination lol) or Films as I get so restless.

    I spent several years studying Egyptology but not formally. Well, actually I did but the college where I studied was later exposed as being fake so all my diplomas were worthless. I can still read hieroglyphics though, if I really concentrate.

    Partially trained Counsellor. Having been told that being Autistic meant I wouldn’t be able to do the job I excelled on the courses and in the role-play when I was “in the zone” but funding led to cancellation of the courses I needed to actually qualify. That’s life.

    And that’s probably enough for now..in case you’re bored. Are you ?.

    Catch you soon. I hope.
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