Category Archives: All

Professionals

Employ autism network

Ambitious About Autism are looking for people to sign up.       They are seeking employers, educators etc.       Click icon to find their Employ Autism Network page.

Finished at school

Ambitious About Autism published a guide at the end of their Finished at School (FaS) campaign.       The learning it captured is intended to support colleges in developing effective practice to support learners with autism to make a successful transition from school to college and into adult life.        Click icon for guide.

See also:  www.ambitiousaboutautism.org.uk        Menu > Who we are > Campaigns > Finished at School       Twitter has a link to the website at the top of its display.

Team Around the Child

As a guide, a TAC is required where two or more support services are involved.        Click icon for Lincolnshire Council guidance and assessment portal.

Here is a one stop resource for those in need of Teams Around a Child: Early Help Lincolnshire       Here is the TAC website establised by Peter Limbrick who developed TAC.       This link gives a feel for how things might work: TAC meetings

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This is a page for professionals who may be quite new to autism.        See also:  Autism awareness        SEN/EHC Information         Sensory sensitivity for Sensory Processing Disorder under SPD.

TEACCH

Treatment and Education of Autistic and related Communication Handicapped Children (TEACCH) is another broad brush approach to working with children or adults with autism.        It has more to do with values and priorities than specific techniques.        Click icon for more detail.
The NAS Early bird programme draws on the TEACCH approach.        See also:  Autism UK       Wikipedia

Training courses

Supporting inclusion

Click icon for Lincolnshire Council pages about supporting inclusion.       It covers aspects of special educational needs & disability for professionals.        They also has a specialist school support services page in  EduLincs            (new)

Lincolnshire has four integrated locality teams.       SENCOs from all early years providers, registered childminders and out of school club managers can request Early Years inclusion support.        See Early years support         It has an inclusion support referral form at the bottom of the page and email addresses.

Working together team

The Working Together Team offers support to schools and academies for students with a wide range of social communication and / or learning needs.        See also:  detail          SEN Support – Scroll down to Social communication outreach.

Flash Cards

Sparklebox offer free teaching aids for children with special educational needs.          Here is the Speech page.        Their terms of use are brief.

Co-ordination

Early years can extend as far as the age of 18 with ESCO.       This is short for Early years Support Care & Co-ordination,

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GAIN logo - thumbnailPlease be aware that we, at GAIN, are not qualified to give advice.              See disclaimer.

Tips & issues

Easy News

This is a downloadable news magazine for people with a learning disability.       Scroll down to download latest issue.           (updated)

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Contact

Contact – for families with disabled children – was founded by parents.      They seem to know what is what.       Click icon to get to the point.

The podcast university

What to do if you are at a loose end?       This is basically a plug for a number of BBC podcasts that might pique your interest.       Click icon to view.

Thinking styles

  • Temple Grandin says that there are three autistic thinking styles:  visual thinkers, verbal specialists and pattern thinkers.       See post.       It links to a detailed article by another writer.
  • Autism Toolbox, a resource for Scottish schools, offers a more science based analysis.         See article.

Facbook small iconAutism Discussion

Autism Discussion Page is the title of this Facebook page.       It contains brief articles with comments.       Anyone registered with Facebook can add their own comments.

Making your child happier

This article offers Eleven ways you can make your autistic child’s life easier.

Temple Grandin’s FAQ’s

Temple Grandin is a lady with high-functioning Asperger’s who has made an academic career for herself.       Click icon to browse her Frequently Asked Questions page.       The Ask Temple link, in the top left corner, gives you a form for asking your own question.

Ellen Notbohm

This Facebook page offers a handy starting point for several topics from the author Ellen Notbohm.        The award-winning author is known for her popular books and columns on autism, published worldwide in more than twenty languages.        See the Notes option on the Facebook page for key topics.         She also has a website.       The Blog and Articles menu options might be worth a look.

Facbook small iconAutism on The Mighty

We have a number of links from The Mighty on our website and Facebook page.        This page picks out autism related material from their website.       Click icon to browse.

NetmumsDoc icon

  • The Netmums site has quite a few pages  under the Autism/Asperger’s heading.      Clicking the icon to browse.
  • A number of mothers post a description of their situation on this  site – see:  Preschool        School age         Older children / teenagers.
  • To simply browse Netmums use their search box at the top right corner of the page, but for information about the members’ only areas see their registration page,

Evidence-based optimism

The thinking person’s guide to autism is a forum intended to encourage visitors, To think, ask questions, question the media, and learn from each other.        The people behind it say, Autism misinformation clouds and is perpetuated by the Internet.     We want to make accurate information about autism causation and therapies visible, accessible, and centralized.

Christmas 

Ambitious About Autism is publishing a few tips for Christmas under the heading: Include autism this Christmas.       Click icon to view.

Coping skills

Six types of coping skills.        An array of graphics.

The best activities

Ideas about activities for special needs.        After-school and weekend activities for children with disabilities can build self-esteem, skills, friendships and a sense of belonging.

What autism mums do not want to hear

This will ring a few bells for parents of a child on the autistic spectrum.      Things not to say to an autism mum .

Re-charging the batteries

‘Society has programmed us to think, “What kind of mother is she, taking care of herself before her child?”  but that’s completely wrong.’       Here are 10 must dos for parents of children with special needs.

ShoesShoes-left-right

For all those new school starters or those like my son, who is obsessed with his shoes being on the wrong feet, try this.       Cut a sticker of their choice in half and secure it into there shoes to help them identify which shoe goes on which foot.
FB/Rainbow Stars.

Scope

Netbuddy has merged with Scope now.

  • It has  Autism blogs  with real life stories from people with experience of issues around autism.        Scroll down to get an idea what is there.
    You can post your own stories.
  • They offer  Support and Information  divided into quite a few categories.
  • They have  Community champions  make sure the community is a safe, supportive place to be.
  • It also has an  On-line community on which you can post questions and comments.

Surviving Asperger’s Syndrome

This on-line publication takes the form of brief bullet points divided up into chapters.        See:  Survival guide

Tips for married couples

This is for the partner of someone with Asperger’s:  Chat website

Fear busting

Here are some tips on  tackling fear .

Soap Operas

These can provide a handy way to improve emotional literacy and people skills.      Soaps focus on emotional issues and lay it on with a trowel.      For example, see  Roy Cropper  from Coronation Street.

Moving House

Children on the autistic spectrum can find the idea of moving house unsettling, but there are things could do that might help.

  • Tell him obvious things, repeatedly, e.g. that he is moving too.
  • Tell him what familiar things you are taking, e.g. items of furniture.
  • Try to re-create his old bedroom from day one.      This is not a good time for a revamp.
  • Use the same bedding & PJs for continuity.       If necessary leaving them unwashed would be even better.
  • Get PC running in new home from day one.       Buy that computer game he has always wanted and give him free access to the PC around the time of the move.

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GAIN logo - thumbnailPlease be aware that we, at GAIN, are not qualified to give advice.        See disclaimer.

Save

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Schools

Springwell Alternative Academy

Springwell Alternative Academy, in Grantham, provides education for children and young people who have been excluded from mainstream school, or who are at risk from exclusion.       They cater for Special Educational Needs.        See:  map

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Here, and  in Lincoln and Peterborough schools pages, are many of the special schools in Lincolnshire.       They may be of interest for pupils and students with additional needs.

To look for more schools try the Good Schools search facility:

See also Education – it includes Grantham special schools.

Ash Villa School 

Ash Villa School caters for students aged 11 – 18 who are admitted to the Adolescent Mental Health Services Inpatient Unit.        See:  prospectus         map

Bourne

Willoughby School “is an all age (2 – 19) Special School, for pupils with profound, severe and complex learning needs”.         See: website

Boston

The John Fielding Special School is in Boston.       They cater for students aged 2 – 19 with a severe leaning disability.        Some are on the autistic spectrum.

Gainsborough

Mayflower Specialist School Academy Trust is made up of Aegir and Warren Wood schools.        Click icon for their admissions policy.

Aegir is a specialist academy in Gainsborough for students aged 11 – 19, with moderate to severe learning difficulties.        These may include autism and/or dyslexia.          See:  welcome       website

Warren Wood is a specialist academy in Gainsborough for pupils aged 2 – 11, with a pervasive or complex difficulty.       They could include autism and/or or dyslexia.        See:  welcome           website

Lincolnshire Wolds Federation

The federation is made up of St Lawrence, Horncastle and St Bernard’s, Louth.             They cater for students aged 2 – 19 with moderate to severe/profound learning difficulties and complex needs.       Most are on the autistic spectrum.

North Lincolnshre

Options Group accepts referrals for specialist autistic services in North Lincolnshire.         Click icon to see their map.         They have a school in Humberside for 8 – 19 year olds.           See also Colleges.

Spalding

Gosberton House Academy is a specialist primary school, near Spalding, that caters for children with an Autistic Spectrum Disorder.        See website

The Priory School and the Garth School are part of the Spalding Special Schools Federation, which caters “for pupils between the ages of 2 to 19 with wide ranging special educational needs”.

  • The Garth School is a “day special school for boys and girls with Severe Learning Difficulties (SLD), Profound and Multiple Learning Difficulties (PMLD) and Autistic Spectrum Disorder (ASD)”.             
  • The Priory School is “A special state school for pupils aged from 11 to 16”       It has a parent/carer support group

Spilsby

Woodlands Academy is a specialist school in Spilsby for SEMH pupils – Social, Emotional, Mental Health, aged 11 – 16.        See:  welcome       website       map        review

Eresby Special School, in Spilsby, caters for pupils aged 2 – 19, with a wide range of special educational needs.         See:  directory        website

Pilgrim School

A pupil in Lincolnshire who meets the criteria may be referred to The Pilgrim School.        This school provides educational support for children and young people with medical and/or mental health difficulties and who are too unwell to attend their own school.       The intention is for pupils to be supported during the time they are unable to attend their own school and to be helped to return or to make a successful transition to another placement…

Click icon for an introduction.         See also:  Website         Prospectus        SEND        Locations    e.g.  Lincoln

Types of school

SEMH needs
Severe Learning Difficulties

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GAIN logo - thumbnailPlease be aware that we, at GAIN, are not qualified to give advice.        See disclaimer.

Related Calendar – Corona updates

The Groove

The Guildhall Arts Centre has closed for the time being.      Click icon for their Coronavirus update.

Lincoln Castle Explorers

Click icon for the Council Coronavirus update.       Next exclusive Explorers session may be in the evening.

Dysart Park Fun Day

If  the Dysart Park Fun Day is on this year, on Sunday 5th July 2020, 11am to after 4pm, GAIN will have a stall.        See:  Facebook      map.

We would be grateful for any donated tombola prizes – old toys, books, food/drink, plants, trinkets, toiletries, teddies, etc (we won’t turn anything down).        Please contact GAIN at (01476) 855 070 to arrange to drop off or collect. 

Family dog workshops

How  pet dogs can help families that have a child with autism.       Dogs for Good has workshops planned for 2020.
Click icon for locations and dates e.g.  10 Jul Lincoln21 Jul Leicester.      Check again nearer the time for Coronavirus updates.

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The events on this page are chosen because they may be of interest to a child and/or adult on the autistic spectrum.         See also Local Groups for autism support groups in the South Lincolnshire and beyond.        They put on events in their area.

Makaton course

The Makaton course for Friday 20 Mar at Belton Lane Children’s Centre, Grantham has been cancelled

Messy

Zoo Co presents a visual story with original music, puppets and tap dancing.        Performed by a deaf and hearing cast.       This relaxed performance, created in partnership with ADHD Foundation, will be at the Guildhall Arts Centre in Grantham on 17 Feb.       Click icon for web page or poster thumbnail.

Signposting

Lincolnshire Parent Carer Forum (LPCF) will be putting on a general signposting event on Fri 31 Jan in Hubberts Bridge, near Boston.
It will be free to parents and carers.         Click icon and scroll down for details.        See map

Mental health engagement

Give Lincolnshire NHS your feedback on mental health community rehabilitation.         Click icon  for dates in January around the county.

Cinderella

Polka Dot Pantomimes are performing another season at the Guildhall Arts Centre theatre in Grantham.       Click icon for information about relaxed performances.        They are scheduled for 2nd Jan 2020 at 2pm & 6:30pm.         Phone the booking office using (01476) 406 158  or click picture for available seats at:  6:30pm       (2pm  seats sold out.)

Farm quiet hour

Rand Park Farm, near Lincoln, will be putting on a quiet hour for children with additional needs and their families.        Date: 14th Dec, 9 – 10am.        See map        farm layout

Making sense of the senses

Free conference with Dr John Biddolph on Wed 4 Dec at The Fleet, Peterborough.       Click icon for more information including booking details.

Autism Conference

PAACT is taking bookings to attend and for information stands for annual conference in Lincoln on Tuesday 19th Nov 2019.
The venue will be The Showroom, Tritton Road, Lincoln, LN6 7QY.        Click icon for poster.        See also map

Lincoln Castle Explorers

An exclusive opportunity outside of opening hours for children and adults on the autistic spectrum to visit with their families.        Lincoln Castle Explorers, 2nd Nov, 9am – 10am.        Click page icon for event details and to book or castle icon about autism-friendly opening.        See map.

Makaton course

An early years specialist will be running a Makaton course on Friday Oct 4th at Belton Lane Children’s Centre, Grantham.       It will run from 9.30 – 12.30pm and then 12.30pm until 3.30pm with a working lunch.       She will cover Level 1 in the morning and Level 2 in the afternoon.      The cost is £15 per level payable to the trainer on the day.        Morning session recommended for parents.       If you would like to attend contact: ella.mayfield@lincolnshire.gov.uk         See Speech & language about Makaton.

Signposting

Lincolnshire Parent Carer Forum (LPCF) will be putting on a general signposting event on Wed 30 Sep in Market Rasen,        Click icon for details.        See map

Harrowby football match

Harrowby vs Cottesmore football match on Saturday 14 Sep at Harrowby United’s Dickens Road Community Stadium, Grantham, NG31 9QY.       Free entry for under 16’s and carers with Carer’s Allowance letter.         Click icon for poster.        See also map.

Dysart Park Fun Day

GAIN will have a stall at The Dysart Park Fun Day again this year, on Sunday 7th July 2019, 11am to after 4pm.       Click poster thumbnail for official information.        See also:  Facebook      map.

We would be grateful for any donated tombola prizes – old toys, books, food/drink, plants, trinkets, toiletries, teddies, etc (we won’t turn anything down).        Please contact GAIN at
(01476) 855 070 to arrange to drop off or collect.        Thanks to everyone who has already donated prizes, including:  Poundland, Home Bargains, The Works and Subway.

Makaton course

An early years specialist will be running a Makaton course on July 5th at Belton Lane Children’s Centre, Grantham.        It will run from 9.30 – 12.30pm and then 12.30pm until 3.30pm with a working lunch.        She will cover Level 1 in the morning and Level 2 in the afternoon.       The cost is £15 per level payable to the trainer on the day.

Healthy Conversation

The NHS will be holding public engagement drop in sessions around Lincolnshire during May and June.       They want to take soundings about the future of local  health services.

Family dog workshops

Workshops for families with children diagnosed with autism in Lincoln on 7 Jun.       Click icon for details.        See Growing up about Dogs for Good.

Signposting

Lincolnshire Parent Carer Forum (LPCF) will be putting on a general signposting event on Wed 22 May in Lincoln,

Overcoming trauma

Hesley are putting on a free event for parents about overcoming trauma and building resilience for people with autism.        It will be on 8 May in Nottingham.        Click icon for details and to book.

Easter Quest

An exclusive opportunity outside of opening hours for children and adults on the autistic spectrum to visit with their families.        Alice in Wonderland Easter Quest at Lincoln Castle.        Follow the white rabbit and seek out the clues to solve the Mad Hatter’s riddle and claim your chocolate reward.        Sat  20th Apr, 9am – 10am.        Click icon for more information.

East Midlands events

Workshop for parents of special needs children – Coping with Challenging Behaviour.       Wed, 3rd Apr, 10am – 12pm.        25 FREE places available for parents.        At Voluntary Action Rutland, Rutland Community Hub, Oakham, Rutland, LE15 6RB.         To book your free place email westmids.office@contact.org.uk with your name, address and telephone number.        Please also state the age of your child with special needs, and the nature of his/ her disability.        Click poster preview to view.

Using Facebook

GAIN events

Simply click on the Facebook icons on this website’s home page to view Facebook posts for specific GAIN events.        No need to register or log in unless you want to do more than have a look at that event post.

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How private can it be?

If you do not want to make friends on Facebook it is possible to be pretty private.

  • Users  do not have to give their real name.         It is OK to make one up.
  • They  do not have to give their real date of birth and it can be changed.
  • It is possible to use Facebook without answering most of their questions.         You may see a box on the screen urging you to “complete your profile”.         It is OK to ignore it.
  • Users can also join Facebook without displaying any photos.
  • This should be enough to enable browsing public Facebook pages freely, e.g. GAIN Facebook page.       Many Facebook users post pictures about their family what they have been doing but some hardly post anything at all – which does a lot to protect their privacy.
  • If a user wants to join a group it would be good post something to help fit in.       For example with the GAIN events group something from the GAIN Facebook page would be an idea.

Privacy Settings

Some people are particularly keen to protect their privacy and stop people bothering them.         So they may feel need to pay quite a bit of attention to Facebook privacy settings.           Here are some guides that might be worth a look:

Getting started             Tips            Detailed guide

Auto-playfacebook-settings-options

It might be worth having a look at the video settings on Facebook.         Switching auto-play off might make your browsing experience more tranquil and reduce broadband usage.

On the Settings page, it is the last option in the left margin.                Click thumbnail for quick how to guide.         See also  detail for more information.

Facebook opportunities

People on the Autistic Spectrum, including Asperger’s Syndrome, tend to have restricted social lives.         It goes with the territory.         Facebook may offer opportunities for the  high functioning  to develop their social lives and skills, though.

  • You need a couple of real life friends to whom you can send Facebook friend requests, in order to get you started.       Your Facebook friends need to be sound people that you can trust.        If you do not know why then ask someone you trust about it.
  • On the plus side, with Facebook you can look around to see what people are saying.          This may help you to build up a picture of the social landscape around you.
  • On the other hand some may need supervision – if it is suitable at all.        For one thing, the official minimum age for Facebook is 13.        So it not considered to be suitable for everyone – click play button.       Also, with some  Parents own comments,  opinion is divided.
  • In case it helps, Facebook offers tools for parents.

Click icon above for a detailed guide to Facebook for Aspies,  containing discussion and tips.

Mark Zuckerberg

As a matter of interest, Mark Zuckerberg, founder of Facebook,  is said to have a touch of Asperger’s.         See article

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GAIN logo - thumbnailPlease be aware that we, at GAIN, are not qualified to give advice.              See disclaimer.

Diagnosis

Ambitious about Autism

For a richer presentation, Ambitious about Autism offers an excellent array of pages.       Have a look at their website:  www.ambitiousaboutautism.org.uk        Twitter has a link to the website at the top of its display.        Once there, the pages can be found at: 
Menu > Understanding autism > Diagnosis

Difficulties

  • Many people find it difficult to come to terms with the possibility or reality of an autism spectrum diagnosis somewhere along the line.
  • When a child has a relatively subtle version of Asperger’s Syndrome it is more difficult to spot the signs – for parents and professionals alike.
  • Getting a diagnosis of autism often seems to be difficult.        Professionals may try to fob you off to begin with suggesting that things might sort themselves out – perhaps partly because they do not see your child at home.        Parents often find waiting lists frustrating.

Ambitious about Autism has a lot of on-line discussions about diagnosis.        Look for the magnifying glass icon on their site to search.

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Introduction

The National Autistic Society has a page about diagnosis for children.         Click icon on the left to view.

The pathways

The National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) illustrates pathways in the form of flowcharts.        This one shows that threshold between children and adults for diagnosis is 19.        They also produce detailed guidelines which set out the way things should work in England.        The guidelines link above covers recognising, referring and diagnosing autism in children and young people from birth to 19 years of age.

The basis for deciding whether someone is autistic can be found in a large document known as ICD-10 for short.         See profiles & criteria

News

Lincoln support group PAACT has published a letter, dated August 2017, about diagnosing in Lincolnshire.           It mentions an audit of the process and pathway.           It also touches on referral by a doctor or school.

A diagnostic mystery

This article starts with Jayne.        She is described as having severe and sustained impairment in social interaction, but without the clinically significant delay in language acquisition characteristic of autism; also distinctive is the presence of restrictive, highly idiosyncratic interests.        The article goes on to discuss diagnostic criteria for Asperger’s syndrome.

News

Late diagnosis is failing children on the spectrum.       (April 2016)

Key words

Pervasive Developmental Disorder (Not Otherwise Specified)            description

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GAIN logo - thumbnail Please be aware that we, at GAIN, are not qualified to give advice.                     See: disclaimer.

Independent living

On-line safety

Ambitious about Autism has produced a guide to staying safe on-line.       Click icon to browse.

Adult life

The National Autistic Society has several pages about adult life with autism.        Click icon to browse.

Parent’s guide

Ambitious about Autism has several pages aimed at parents who want to support their son or daughter in gaining independence as an adult.        Twitter has a link to their website at the top of the display.        Find these pages at:  Menu -> Understanding autism -> Indepenence.

Promoting independence

The Promoting Independence project is for young people aged 16 – 25, who have profound or complex needs.        Click icon for more information.

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See also:  Preparing for change         College

Total Voice

Total Voice Lincolnshire provides a free, independent and confidential advocacy service for adults with disabilities.         It aims to to help you to understand and be fully involved in important decisions about your life.        Click icon for an introduction or visit their website

Advocacy is helping people to say what they want and to get what they need, or at least what they are entitled to.

  • The National Autistic Society has a page about Advocacy and autism
  • Mind, the mental health support people, offer an introduction to Advocacy in mental health.        Autism is a developmental condition, not a mental health condition, but this article might add something of help to people with autism.

Everyday Aspergers  

This is a community group with a Website and a Facebook page with a lot of insights presented in an Asperger-friendly way.

Mate crime

Mate crimes happen when people with learning disabilities are befriended by someone who uses the relationship to exploit or abuse them.             Click icon for article and play button for video – Making plans for Nigel.

Safe phone use

1. A genuine cold caller will usually tell you who they are and why they are phoning you.        If the very first thing they do is to ask you to confirm your name it may not be a good sign.       They might ask, “Hello.  Is that John Doe?”, for example.        If the voice, or something else about the call, does not sound at all familiar think about disconnecting the call pretty quickly.

2. When you are looking for a contact number for a company or organisation look for a land line.        That is 01…/02…/03… numbers.         They are more likely to reputable companies.        They should also have a postal address.          A mobile number (that is 07…) might be OK for someone who does not charge much, though, like a gardener.

Unsure of yourself?

Perhaps you could talk it over with someone you know well, and trust a lot.           See if they are confident that you know what you are doing.

Guide to safe living

Parties, Dorms and Social Norms:  A Crash Course in Safe Living for Young Adults on the Autism Spectrum.         “The late teens and twenties are exciting times, but filled with potential pitfalls as young people navigate the transition into independent adult life.”          This book was written by Dr. Lisa Meeks, an Assistant Professor of Medicine and Director of Medical Student Disability Services at The University of California.         See Amazon.

Musical memory aid

Here is a hand idea for you to help yourself to remember something important.            Watch this video.

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GAIN logo - thumbnailPlease be aware that this page is only gives you a few pointers really.

GAIN events update

Government 

On Fri 20 Mar the government announced additional restrictions to curb the spread of Coronavirus.       When infection rates come down, the government will remove measures when it is safe to do so.       See also the complete up-to-date government Coronavirus  guidance.

GAIN 

GAIN events are now cancelled until further notice due to the Coronavirus outbreak.

We will review the situation on a monthly basis.       For details about the venues see The specifics.

Special Interests

Hydrogen fuelled

What is the future for hydrogen fuelled transport?        It will fill the gaps where battery power cannot compete.        It looks like these will be for larger vehicles and long distances on tight schedules.        Click icon for more detail.       Happily, hydrogen and electric power complement each other.

London’s fleet of hydrogen powered busses has been under development for some years.        Their first permanent hydrogen bus service was introduced in 2010.       They have set out their vision for hydrogen fuel cell technology in the UK capital.

Here is a video introduction to hydrogen fuel cell technology.

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Is there anything here that looks interesting.       One or two new interests could be worth having.

How do you like your guitar?

  • Here are some rock guitar tracks.        Imagine a huge outdoor rock concert.       Now listen to Arena Rock, by Steve Morse.
  • Then there is the more thoughtful  Turn the Page by Metallica.           Going back further, there is Eric Clapton’s classic rock song Layla.        This recording features the drummer, Phil Collins from the band Genesis.
  • A new generation of young ladies has started playing rock guitar.      Here is The Trouper by Iron Maiden.    It is fast and furious, and it is played for us by a couple of guitarists from the all female tribute band  The Iron Maidens.
  • This one might sound more technical, Morning Star by Vinnie Moore, played for us by a teenage boy.         He has even managed to make up a little bit himself.           Here is The original, in case you want to compare.
  • Have you heard of classical/rock crossover?        This track is called April Sky.       Guitarist, Vinnie Moore has brought a couple of classical pieces up to date.         Sky is also the name of a band.        They have crossed over a bit further with their version of Toccata.        (new)

The bigger picture

If you like to find fresh thinking then these might be worth a look.

  • Stumbling and mumbling – thoughts about current affairs.       Well considered opinion with links to intelligent analysis.
  • Science of the soul – about Daniel Dennett.        Perhaps he could be described as a curious rationalist with a love of life.         Also, click play button for his thoughts on the nature of consciousness.

Synthesizer tracks

The synthesizer was invented by Robert Moog.       Click icon for a video history of the Mini Moog.         (new)

John Michelle Jarre did a lot to popularise synthesizer music with his first album Oxygene.       This is the signature track, that many people will have heard, even if they do not have the album.        It has a catchy tune.

Genesis‘ progressive rock featured synthesized keyboard on a big scale.        You can hear the keyboards particularly well one of their instrumental tracks.

Giorgio Moroder is probably less well known, but he was producing synthesizer music at that time too.       Would you believe that From here to eternity came out in 1977?         It sounds very futuristic, even today.        He has recently released a new album, called 74 is the new 24.        Here is a video clip with fun graphics.

Rick Wakeman has been producing sythesiser music since 1969.          Here is Anne Boleyn.

Comet landing

A space probe robot, named Philae, landed on a comet in November 2014.        The space craft that carried the probe was the first to orbit a comet as well as the first to land something on a comet’s surface.        It has sent back many photos.       The aim is to find out more about what comets do in space.          The landing did not go to plan, though.        The probe bounced and ended up in a dark valley, so it could not get enough energy from the sun to carry on working after the battery ran out.       Here is a short video about the landing.       The video on this page provides an update from the following day.          A few days later scientists announced that carbon, vital for the creation of life, had been detected on the comet.

The lander re-established contact in June 2015 after the comet moved nearer to the sun and Philae’s  batteries recharged sufficiently.              In February 2016, however, scientists gave up hope of re-establishing contact.              See farewell to Philae.

Asteroids are like comets but you can see a tail trailing behind a comet.           Asteroids do not have a tail.

Chernobyl aftermath

Have you ever wondered what has become of the area surrounding the Chernobyl nuclear
disaster?

  • The Chernobyl accident in 1986 was the result of a flawed reactor design that was operated with inadequately trained personnel
  • The damaged reactor is now enclosed in a large concrete shelter which was erected quickly (by October 1986) to allow continuing operation of the other reactors at the plant
  • In the early 1990s, some $400 million was spent on improvements to the remaining reactors at Chernobyl, considerably enhancing their safety.
  • New safe confinement is due to be completed in 2017.           It is being built next to the reactor and will be moved into place on rails.
  • In the last two decades there has been some resettlement of the areas evacuated in 1986 and subsequently.
  • Since 1989, over 1000 nuclear engineers from the former Soviet Union have visited Western nuclear power plants and there have been many reciprocal visits.
  • See official World Nuclear record for more information.                It is the source for the bullet points above.
  • Burying Chernobyl  –  Can the site of the Chernobyl nuclear disaster in April 1986 be made safe without risking the health of those involved in the task?               Listen via BBC iPlayer.

See also  Recovery & development.

Catherine TateCatherine Tate

Catherine Tate is a very popular comedian.             Chances are you have seen her on TV.             In this video clip, Lauren, one of Catherine’s characters, takes her bad attitude into her  French Exam.             Another of her characters then appears in Albert Square for a Children in Need  Eastenders Special.

She is actually quite well adjusted in real life, which goes to show what a good actor she is.          See an interview in her dressing room, or maybe just a bit of it.          Here are a few  pictures  of her, too.           Some aspies may like doing performance art.

High Speed RailHS2 map01

A new railway line from London to Birmingham and beyond is planned.         It will be called, High Speed 2 (HS2).        Click map to enlarge.

High Speed 1 is the line from London to the Channel Tunnel (HS1).         See below under
Eurostar.           Since the HS1 line was built, commuters from Ashford, not far from the
tunnel, have been able to get to London in a fraction of the time they could before.

Local news for Leicestershire covered a story about HS2 in 2013.          See video clip and click on picture of train to watch.          They say that the effect of HS2 on Leicestershire might be similar, when the new line is in use, to that of HS1 on Kent.           The Birmingham station will not be very far from Leicester.

Not everyone is happy about spending a great deal of money on HS2 to get more people to their work in London, but HS1 has helped to make homes more affordable for commuters.          The Chancellor of the Exchequer, George Osborne, says that the new line will also help to make the north of the country more prosperous, though others say it will not do much to help with this.          See the Chancellor’s article for links to articles that question the wisdom of the HS2 plan.

Kevin & Perry

Have you seen Harry Enfield’s teenage pair Kevin and Perry?        Teenage characteristics are exaggerated for comic effect.

In one sketch Kevin’s parents try giving him a taste of his own medicine, in  Reverse psychology, but it backfires badly.         Another sketch features Kevin’s school Parents’ evening.            Kevin’s attitude to his teachers could be both interesting and entertaining.

Shine on you crazy diamond

Pink Floyd’s song Shine on you crazy diamond was a tribute to former band member Syd Barrett.          It starts quietly and showcases the band’s keyboard and guitar work.         Click play button to hear it.

Barrett wandered into the studio while the band was recording Wish You Were Here, the album that features this piece.          He had drastically changed his appearance, and the band members did not recognise him for some time.          When they eventually did, Roger Waters was so distressed he was reduced to tears.           Perhaps you could say that with this escapade he lived up to the line in the song, You outstayed your welcome with random precision.         Click Information to find out more about this piece.

Here is an introduction to Syd Barrett’s contribution to the early years of Pink Floyd, including some of his best songs. 

Is Formula 1 going green?

This year things have changed more than usual.     Under the  2014 rules  there is a fuel limit.     Cars are using hybrid technology, which helps them to work within that fuel limit.      An electric motor helps to slow the car when braking, which  generates electricity  to be stored in a battery and re-used when accelerating.      This makes the cars  more responsive when accelerating and saves fuel.       Less fuel means less weight, which saves more fuel.

The Red Bull team has won the past 4 years’ Constructor’s Championship titles, but this year  Mercedes  is leading.    Here is a  video explaining the secret of their success.       Don’t worry if you do not understand everything very well.      It is not all that easy to follow.

Red Bull’s James Newey is critical of F1’s new green credentials.        Also Mercedes’ Sebastian Vettel says that the noise of the race is not as good as it used to be.        Many fans agree .

The wedding of the year!Wedding

After nearly ten years together, Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt finally tied the knot on the 23rd August 2014 at their French country house.       It has been reported that Brad and Ange used the opportunity of their wedding to raise some serious cash for good causes.

Brad and Angelina knew there would be tremendous interest in their wedding pictures, and decided to
donate the money to their charitable foundation.      The couple have done this numerous times in the past.      The pair previously sold the first photographs of their 6-year-old twins for $14million back in 2008, and donated every penny of that too.

They really are just the perfect couple, aren’t they?        Her gown was made by Atelier Versace and bore more than a passing resemblance to a classic Disney princess gown.      The satin gown featured a ruched top and corseted bodice over a full skirt but it was her veil that stole the show.        It’s little surprise that the Jolie-Pitt kids played a huge part in their parents’ big day but mum Ange went one step further by letting them design her veil.

Eurostar

Do you know much about Eurostar?        It is a high speed train that takes passengers from London to Paris and from London to Brussels, in Belgium.    It goes along a new line called High Speed 1 from central London to the Chanel Tunnel.   When the Chanel Tunnel opened Eurostar had to use the old line to Waterloo station.   It was much slower and more congested than the dedicated high speed line linking Paris to the tunnel.

A Eurostar train set a new British speed record of 208.0 mph on the first section of High Speed 1 shortly before it opened on 30 July 2003.

The second and final phase was opened in 2007.     It allows trains to travel at speeds of 186 mph.  The combined effect of both phases was to cut Eurostar journey times by 40 minutes.   It is now possible to travel from London to Paris by train in 2 hours 15 minutes.

It now carries more passengers to Paris and Brussels than all airlines put together.     It does this with about 90% less carbon dioxide emissions than the airlines.

For more detail see  Eurostar  and  Eco-Express .       For more pictures see  Pictures .