Aside from a few years here and there, I am a born and bred Teessider. I love our fabulous region and all of its natural beauty and industrial heritage. There are loads of beautiful beaches along the NE coast but in terms of accessibility, local facilities and the expanse of the sandy beach, Redcar is my favourite. And I can satisfy one of my autistic compulsions with a trip to to the beach – collecting and organising stuff.
Collecting things is one of my life long autistic special interests. I didn’t realise the significance of this behaviour until the last few years when I was diagnosed with autism. Before that I would say that I probably hid a lot of these interests from people outside of my immediate family out of embarrassment. I still feel a physical stress response when I think about the time I mentioned Minecraft to a group of mums outside Brownies one evening.
However, one of the few positive aspects of social media is that I have found plenty of other individuals who have similar interests to me and I don’t feel quite so alone with my unusual hobbies. I could talk endlessly about knitting and Minecraft, and have somehow managed to shoehorn both into my working life. I very rarely discuss how much I love collecting things. Its probably not as obvious to everyone, but two of my hobbies – playing Pokémon Go and bird watching are entirely based on my need to collect things. I have a substantial collection of stamps in my attic from the summer when I was on my first maternity leave. From my childhood, I still keep my collections of erasers (super 80s hobby!), stamps, thimbles, Wedgewood, Garbage Pail Kids stickers, Garfield stuff and New Kids on the Block memorabilia. I was a pretty weird kid to be honest. I’m also a completionist gamer – I have to collect every object, tick every achievement and finish every side task. If you add a dose of ADHD hyperfocus to this mix then I can end up doing some pretty awesome, but also quite random, things.
The process of placing items in order is as important as the process of collecting them – its something my brain is compelled to do. I find this whole process incredibly relaxing – perhaps this is how some people feel after a long run or session at the gym? It is like all of the loose threads in my head get smoothed out and tied together. Or maybe it just keeps my brain busy for a while to stop the ADHD hyperactivity?
Anyway, back to Redcar and my current hobby of collecting shiny pebbles 😊. I can’t leave without a bag of rocks. Anything that looks unique or interesting. And I’ll clean them up, try to identify them and organise into little groups. And my brain is super happy in this space ☺️. Here’s a piccie of today’s haul:
And finally, I have the perfect piece of knitting for this post. It’s one of my favourite pieces from the last year. It’s a first and only draft and certainly needs to be rejigged and remade. Do you recognise it?? It’s Redcar blast furnace at night 🌙 ✨️ 😍.