Today is World Autism Awareness Day. I presume you are now sufficiently aware. Good. Acceptance is the thing, not just awareness. I’ve been thinking for days about what I can write about this year but the words haven’t come. Instead I just want to write and see where it goes.
It’s Thursday and as I write there are moving white fluffy clouds in an otherwise blue sky. I am listening to Tide Lines. For the first time in weeks I’ve felt up to listening to music. I’m about to have breakfast and later I’ll go out for my daily exercise. I’m thinking of a walk through the cemetery. My local cemetery is ten minutes walk from here and it’s particularly overgrown and atmospheric. I’ve been there a couple of times since this started. There have been others and social distancing has been the order of the day, even in that place. The cemetery sustains the historian in me as much as it does anything else. There are war graves and big families, Russian Orthodox, Jewish and many others besides. Plus it’s spring and there are plenty of daffodils, my favourite flowers. It’s quite near the motorway and the railway so traffic still passes. There’s still a world going on outside its confines.
The last patch of blue sky is being shielded by bigger clouds. Since this has started, I’ve not read a lot. I started to re-read The Living Mountain by Nan Shepherd last night. Robert Macfarlane has started a book group on Twitter with The Living Mountain as its subject so a whole new cadre of people are getting into Nan Shepherd, which is never a bad thing. To be fair I already recruited someone to the cause a few weeks ago. I’ve also read a Scottish football history book which really annoyed me. It was too-Old Firm centric, too many mentions of the national team, with only token acknowledgement of the other clubs who play in Scotland. On a nicer note, and appropriately for today, I read Funny, You Don’t Look Autistic: A Comedian’s Guide to Life on the Spectrum by Michael McCreary, which is a memoir by an autistic stand up comedian. It was very relatable, variously a guide to autistic adulthood and stories of his life.
Since travelling is not essential, I have watched a whole lot of train videos on YouTube, virtually exhausting the works of Geoff Marshall and Vicki Pipe (who do All The Stations) as well as the iPlayer’s stock of Michael Portillo programmes. Some of the Portillo programmes have audio description as well as being signed. They actually describe whatever lurid abominations he’s wearing. One said his clothes were ‘uncharacteristically restrained’ when he wore a grey suit. Excellent.
There’s now a blue sky above the clouds. Hurrah. I’ve been reading about one of the inadvertently positive aspects of the current time, which is that there’s less pollution. We can smell the earth and goats can apparently roam a Welsh seaside town, according to the news the other day. Last night was too cloudy but one night soon I’m going to step out after dark and see if I can see stars. That’s normally not possible in my part of suburban Glasgow, only on very cold, clear nights. There was one a few months ago when I stood on the railway bridge and saw stars. I’ll report back if I manage to see anything.
Before I go, I wanted to mention The Late Late Show in Ireland which featured the beautiful song, ‘The Parting Glass’, sung by Hozier. Watch it if you can.
That just leaves me to say stay safe, heed the government advice and look after yourselves. Take care.