Monthly Archives: March 2013

Did Livingstone have Asperger’s?

livingstoneSpending a year with David Livingstone while writing his biography, I got the definite impression that he had Asperger’s Syndrome. I didn’t mention this in the book, or anywhere else much, for the sensible reason that I don’t know anything about it. My knowledge of Asperger’s comes mainly from a number of not very close acquaintances, and The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time.

Nevertheless, it was quite a strong impression – something I suppose to do with him being hugely focussed and independently minded, but not so strong on personal and emotional  communication.

So I was fascinated to come across a blog by Andrew Basden, who has read the book and has Asperger’s himself, asking David Livingstone – Did he exhibit Asperger’s Syndrome?

As well as discussing Livingstone directly, he writes in the about the “pain and problems of Asperger” in a way which sounds very familiar:

“…little attention to what people expect and accept…speak seriously…intensely annoyed and irritable when things don’t go as we expect…ideas out of the ordinary…find meaning in all…getting things [supposedly] out of proportion…don’t know what’s important in others’ eyes…”

That sounds uncannily like Livingstone to me. Perhaps my hunch was right.

The sun shines on the just


The cover of the Sun – trying to avoid regulation by invoking Churchill and claiming to be the most dangerous foe of tyranny and the most vigilant guardian of the rights of the ordinary citizen – on the day that the paper was forced to apologise for hacking Siobhain McDonagh MP’s phone, and pay £50,000 in damages.

Cut it out

We’re working on the news pages today, and sadly will not be able to find room for the story of a Welsh school teacher who was suspended from work after being filmed at break time with a lifesize cutout of the Pope, as the the Times puts it, “thrusting his body against the cardboard figure”. He was apparently doing the Harlem Shake.

Seeing double

Screen shot 2013-03-08 at 17.05.23

An interesting pair of articles on the Telegraph website this week. One reports that the BBC is courting controversy again by broadcasting an Easter message in which the gay activist Benjamin Cohen likens his experience of prejudice to the crucifixion of Christ. Christians are complaining that it is blasphemous, we are told, and the BBC is pandering “to a liberal politically correct agenda”.

The other article, published on the same day in the same paper, is by the gay activist Benjamin Cohen, and likens his experience of prejudice to the crucifixion of Christ. Whether the Telegraph is pandering to a liberal politically correct agenda, we are not told.

It’s another sign

003This is what’s happening at the end of my road.

It seemed like a good illustration for the What Will the Church Look Like in 40 Years? piece – considering the four-part harmonious grimness of the four writers’ assessments.

But all’s not quite as it seems. At least not in the picture.


Here’s the sign from another angle:

So that’s a London phone number, and a Welsh noticeboard.

Depending on how good your Welsh and/or eyesight are, you might see that the church for sale is Lewisham’s leading Welsh-speaking Presbyterian church.

In fact the church that’s closing isn’t the one with a spire in the picture, it’s the Tudory building immediately next door. So the question isn’t so much why it’s closing but how it ever came to be there, and how it lasted so long.


In the 13 years I’ve lived on this road, this church has had an endless fascination for me. I’ve never seen any congregation coming or going, or heard anyone singing Pantyfedwen, though I have sometimes seen someone cutting the grass.

If you know anything about Lewisham’s premier Welsh-speaking  Presbyterian church  - such as who, when, how and above all why – do drop us a comment.