Martin’s Personal Independence

Please help me rebuild my life and regain my independence while I’m young enough to enjoy it:

I would be very grateful if you would spread the word of this and I would like this to get around as far as possible. I know many other people have bad situations but yet others have homes of their own and are settled in life; I wasn’t so lucky. This dammed Government got things wrong even by its own standards and have let me down time and again.

As for going public with some of my inner demons, as I intend to in due course, it’s about time somebody did. We, those with Asperger Syndrome, are the forgotten of god. Many of us are nearly normal, but not normal enough to get by nor get help until things really go wrong.

Some of you will have seen my Facebook and Twitter posts of birds or cats or science and think I’m doing OK. Well, I’m not. I put on a brave face because I must try to survive and have as much of a life as I can. You don’t know the mental hell I have every day because I am shy about such things. But I am fed up with the lack of understanding from the world and it’s about time somebody talked about it.

What happened to me is like spending most of my life in prison for a crime I didn’t commit and then being acquitted, but with no compensation money to rebuild with. I know somebody at a former workplace who lost his house, job, wife, kids, but he said to me that he had been an alcoholic and it was in some way a strange comfort that he only had himself to blame.

Well I didn’t ask to be disabled. I didn’t ask for my disability to seem like other things that were my fault because it wasn’t understood. I didn’t ask for it to wreck my career and destroy my life. I didn’t ask for it to be relatively obscure.

To the general public, we’re an obscure and expendable minority at best and evil Machiavellian computer hackers at worst. To the general public, most of us are just “loonies, weirdos and freaks”.

Many of us don’t even get as far as a career or life to lose, as even those diagnosed as children get nowhere near the help they should get. The Government is heartless, much of the medical profession is ignorant and with few exceptions, the DWP and its contractors couldn’t organise a fire in a blast furnace.

So please spare a moment to read my story on GoFundMe and also spare a thought for the thousands of others like me who are forgotten by the media except as saddos and nutters.

You wouldn’t believe how many of us, and this is official, are so traumatised that they are content to sit back quietly and accept a second-class citizenship, on a low salary if they aren’t on the dole, live with relatives or in desperate rented accommodation, fade quietly away on a state pension and die in anonymity.

Well damn it, I’m not content.

I am ANGRY at what happened to me. I am ANGRY that the Government has let me down at every turn. I am ANGRY that there is no help for me to get my life back before I am too old to enjoy it. I am ANGRY that to find a compatible partner will probably cost £30+ per month via online dating. I am ANGRY that many others like me haven’t even got at least the half a life that I have. I am ANGRY that the Government couldn’t care less about them either.

So after all that, if you are still reading this, thanks for listening. And if you sympathise, please share this far and wide on social media. It’s about time somebody spoke up for us and it might as well be me.

Oh yes, and I will keep posting photos of birds and wildlife on Facebook when I have calmed down; but just remember, I have to put on a brave face and focus on something I enjoy because sometimes I despair of a future of living, but not having a life.


An appeal for filing cabinets!

Dear supporters of Asperger East Anglia …

Do you have any filing cabinets to spare?
Yes, you read that right: filing cabinets :)

We are seeking to obtain three or four filing cabinets, wood or metal construction, but that are lockable with keys that match.

If anybody is clearing out or refurbishing an office and would like to save taking lockable filing cabinets to the tip, please would you consider donating them to us? If so, then please call us on 01502 715500.

1/1a Market Street, Beccles, NR34 9AQ

World Autism Awareness 2015

Autism awareness is high, but we need to increase public understanding.

New figures released to coincide with World Autism Awareness Day, show that more people in the UK are aware of autism than ever before (99%). But 87% of people affected by autism think the general public do not have a good understanding of autism.

Increased awareness of autism has not yet led to the changes that would allow people on the spectrum and their families to lead the life they choose within their communities. If we’re really going to improve the world for people with autism, we need to ensure we are building fuller understanding of autism and the different ways it can affect people.

Find out more about the survey results here:
WAAD 2015

A nice evening out at Seething

As many of you know, I work for Asperger East Anglia; I sell books, operate the Society’s social media feeds and run the “Adults with Asperger” social group at Beccles.

I am also a member at Norwich Astronomical Society and have been for over four years, joining not long after I started attending the social groups. During that time, I have progressed to being part of a group of volunteers at Norwich Astronomical Society who help out and give talks at public outreach events. We host cub scout packs, schools and various special interest groups, so it seemed only logical to take the Asperger group along on a group visit.

I would like to thank my fellow club members Paul Webb, Andy Robertson, Steve Hubbard, Jeff Simpson, Paul Brocklehurst, Chris Greenfield and Shaun Reynolds for their help on Wednesday evening. In fact in all three capacities – Norwich Astronomical Society club member, Asperger East Anglia employee and adult with ‪‎Autism – I was please with support from my fellow group visit volunteers. It’s SO nice to see people who care turning out to further the Club’s aims of outreach to various groups as well as the general public 😀

I would also like to thank the group members who provided transport for those without it and for those of my colleagues and fellow service-users who were involved in the planning of this visit. It shows that having Asperger Syndrome does not have to mean being isolated and also how we can organise events as well as anybody else.

And a reminder for people living in or near Beccles: if you are over 18 and have Asperger Syndrome or HFA and would like to meet others like yourself, why not come to our group meetings? A formal diagnosis is not required. We meet twice a month and have a stay-in-and-chat meeting at the end of the month and a go-out-and-do-stuff meeting at the beginning; there is a similar group for the Norwich area. Details can be found on the Asperger East Anglia website.

Andy Robertson talking on telescopes and equipment
Equipment Talk

The helpers who made the visit possible
The helpers who made the visit possible

Me – with both badges around my neck :)

A small telescope, close-up
A small telescope, close-up

Setting up for the talk
Setting up for the talk

Paul Webb talking an introduction to astronomy:
An introduction to astronomy

Images courtesy of Chris Greenfield (@chris_greenf)

(By: Martin Howe)

Birds of Beccles Marina and other Stories

I had a very interesting walkabout on Wednesday 14th January in Worlingham and Beccles. I saw many things, especially a huge flock of various birds having a feeding frenzy at Beccles Marina and even photographed some swans in flight at Worlingham!

There are far too many sets and images to post here and they’re on Facebook if you want to see them in full, so links to the posts on Facebook are given below, along with some preview images.

I haven’t enjoyed myself so much in years 😀

The Underworld of the Stars!

Final call for anyone interested in astronomy:

Tonight and tomorrow night at Norwich Astronomical Society at Seething in Norfolk: The Underworld of the Stars. Hear how stars died so you could live and maybe see some dead stars!

A public talk at Norwich Astronomical Society

Supernova over Happisburgh Soon
Beccles has no astronomy club of its own but many of us go to Norwich Astronomical Society at Seething, near Ditchingham. Did you know that they have public lectures and observing sessions during the winter? The next one is 6th and 7th February at Seething Obervatory (address below).

If you ever wondered what happens to stars when they run out of fuel, you can find out then and if the weather is clear, observe some dead stars that very night!

  • Why is it that some stars end their lives in huge explosions and some fade away, yet both leave behind beautiful clouds of gas with in some cases very intricate patterns?
  • How is it that a dying star can simply vanish into a hole in space or leave behind a radio beacon more accurate than a digital clock?
  • How do dead stars create the components for organic life or become the seeds for entire galaxies?
  • And how are some stars stillborn, never to shine at all?

I talk through the lives and deaths of stars, why we wouldn’t live unless stars died and about the future of our own Sun as it goes gentle into that good night.

Oh and it’s my first public talk, so I hope you like it :)

Seething Observatory, Toad Lane, Thwaite St Mary, Norfolk, NR35 2EQ.


First Light

Well, after wanting to improve my terrestrial photography and start astronomy imaging as well, I finally bought a DSLR camera: Olympus E410 with Zuikon 17.5-45mm lens, £95 on eBay including P&P. I would have been quite happy with a bridge camera, if it wasn’t for the astronomy angle.


My first images were of cats, of course :)

Seething Obervatory
Seething Observatory 1/3
Seething Obervatory
Seething Observatory 2/3
Seething Obervatory
Seething Observatory 3/3

That’s it for now, but here’s hoping for many more in the future.

Oh and I forgot to mention the good evening on Thursday demonstrating a telescope at a group visit to the Observatory: saw Orion Nebula and Comet Lovejoy through multiple instruments 😀 The visitors were pleased too.