#VirtualDogWalk This afternoon’s walk was like an allegorical version of my life. I went much further than I intended to, and I wasn’t properly equipped. The melted snow has made the fields very muddy and it gets even deeper, high up on the track.
There came a point when the thought of carrying on and going back were equally awful. I stood there for a bit, having a think and sinking deeper into the mud. Izzy seemed keen to press ahead, so onwards and upwards it was. This meant crossing a stream and walking the plank...
Spurred on by the thought of going back through all that terrible mud I inched my way across the plank. After a short uphill climb we reached a clearing and I looked up and realised how blue the sky was. At some point soon we needed to head downhill to get home before sunset.
I had bears on my mind because when I’m on a muddy walk I always recite @MichaelRosenYes’s poem. So when we reached the snow-line and I found a giant footprint I wasn’t that surprised. My size 6/39 walking boot is in the photo for scale.
4/ Giant paw print in snow next to size 6 walking boot.
Izzy pressed on up the hill like a Sherpa, with me trailing a little way behind. She’s quite fearless now, except when she sees another dog. The sunlight through the trees was entrancing. I tripped up a couple of times due to looking at the view, instead of where I was going.
Just when I was thinking I had misjudged things and might end up needing to be rescued I found a foot path sign. Izzy was grazing on grass occasionally. I was regretting the lack of refreshments, but that might have turned my walk into a picnic.
Time to head towards home.
Heading back down the hill, enjoying the pale winter sunshine we met some horses having their supper. That made me feel even hungrier. Izzy trotted up and down, taking a good look at them. They looked back, seemingly unimpressed.
Beyond the field, where the horses were eating, was an old farm. And opposite the farmhouse was an even more desirable residence. A caravan parked on the far margin of a meadow, in splendid isolation. Ideal for a solitude-loving pylon fan like me.
As we approached the main road the sun was low in the sky. I avoided taking a short cut across the field that had cows in it during the summer. No sign of them now, but better not to risk it. The traffic on the main road was heavy. Not sparse like it was in the March lockdown.
The best adventures are often the unplanned kind. The company of a small dog was emboldening. When I thought I’d lost my way I saw a sign. I took time to marvel at the beauty of nature. The journey was harder than I expected, but I got home safely in the end.
10/end View along a muddy frosty woodland path with trees in shades

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More from @NortherlyRose

14 Jan
Why I love learning.
Personal reflections from an #ActuallyAutistic perspective.
I realised I loved learning at nursery school. I pressed my painted palms onto sugar paper and slid smooth wooden beads on an abacus. I sat on a vintage tractor in the grounds and marvelled at its mechanics. To learn was to wonder.
I loved the fabric of the building. A small human sized door set in a large wooden gate. My coat peg with its sunflower motif. The canvas and metal camp beds we slept on after lunch. Collaborating with my cousin David, who helped do up my buttons, while I tied his shoe laces.
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13 Jan
When we rest we often feel guilty. Society values effort, productivity and achievement above everything. But for me resting isn’t doing nothing, it’s an essential part of preparing to do something, and recovering afterwards. It’s how I survive.
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At nursery #school #rest was factored in. We napped on camp beds with scratchy blankets after lunch. Even at primary school we were given the opportunity to lay our heads on our hands on our wooden desks while the teacher read to us. Short interludes in otherwise hectic days.
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The thing I remember most about secondary school is rushing. We were always hurrying from one place to another, at risk of being late, but not allowed to run. My only restful moments were in the art room, library and garden, or walking up to the playing fields to do sports.
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11 Jan
What you might notice if you communicate with me.
A #thread about how being #autistic affects #communication (I can’t speak for anyone other than me).
I’m quite likely to dive straight into the topic under discussion without any social niceties. I may try hard to remember something that’s going on for you, but hold back from mentioning it in case I’m wrong.
If we meet somewhere noisy or busy I’m likely to hop about a bit trying to work out the best place to sit, so I can see and hear you, without getting too close or the light in my eyes. If it’s a virtual meeting I’ll be fiddling with the camera angle in a dimly lit room.
Read 25 tweets
11 Jan
This is such a tricky thing. Even before the pandemic I always took health and safety at work really seriously. This had a lot to do with a sense of moral obligation to protect others, as well as a preference for following procedure.
It took me a very long time indeed to realise that following health and safety policies and procedures at work is not, in most cases, what you’re actually supposed to do. It was one of those confusing unwritten rules.
This unwritten rule was finally made explicit when I was told off for making an entry in an accident book. I was supposed to deal with the incident by having a word with my manager “off the record”. The policy hadn’t told me to do that, I was just supposed to know.
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10 Jan
Every day is Sunday for me at the moment. No going “out out”. Just immersed in being at home with occasional walks.
I thought it was Sunday most of yesterday. That’s how marginal the distinction has become.
When I was a child most shops were closed on Sundays. It was often a welcome break in an overwhelming week. A pause, a punctuation mark. There was a familiar and predictable routine. Church, Sunday School, roast dinner, homework, afternoon tea and TV. Essential downtime.
In the police I worked shifts which included Sundays. We’d often get called to check on elderly neighbours, catch up on paperwork, and visit unoccupied premises. Sunday was less intense than the rest of the week, a welcome lull after the uproar of Friday and Saturday nights.
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1 Jan
Something autistic people often get accused of is “over sharing”. This is a curious example of a positive characteristic (openness) being pathologised. “Over sharing” is generally presented as someone failing to understand and comply with appropriate communication boundaries.
The first time I remember being conscious of “over sharing” was when my periods started at the age of 13. My mother’s friend had called round for coffee, and I mentioned this, excitedly. Her reaction was embarrassment. Clearly this information was not supposed to be shared.
It was sad that something I saw as a cause for wonderment and celebration had to be concealed because it was connected with human biology. As #autistic people we learn that “over sharing” all kinds of things: insights, objections, facts, truths, can lead to us being shamed.
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