Broadwas Customs

My first post

Wooden box

This page is going to be a mix of the things I make, and my journey through aspergers syndrome.

The two are more closely related than it first appears……

In this blog, I hope to share my experience to bring awareness, not only for others but, for me too.

Featured post

Me, myself and I 

I’ve been reading a couple of posts from AnonymouslyAutistic and This field was intentionally left blank regarding different personas. So here’s my two pence worth.

I, like many of our kind spent most of my formative year in isolation. A ghost walking the hallway. How could I feel so alone when surrounded by many.

I developed several people for different situations, some with their own accents! Some of them still reside within me. They were a complex amalgamation of thoughts and emotions that came to life. It got to the point where they would take over more often than when needed. 

The quiet one:

A thoughtful, compassionate introvert who never wanted confrontation. Just to help

The “normal” one:

Slipped into the crowd and blended in with a fake “can do” attitude that got him through a day.

The angry one:

Leave me alone. Not interested, don’t know don’t care. Get in my face and you are going down. This fella was the result of frustration and confusion, both internal and external. This one hung around for quite some time too. 37 years in and he still makes an appearance. I’m 6 foot, 300 pounds with a shaved head and a beard. It was, and sometimes still is a useful tool. Stay away. Bombastic, beligerant, judgemental the whole nine yards. 

Now to the people who really know me, the way I look is just me. I’m not a bad person. I do care. I’m compassionate and caring. A gentle giant as my friend calls me.

I have control over this motley crew now, which is something I never thought I would. And I can draw from their positives, not drown in their negatives.

Hope everyone has a beautiful day, and as always. Thanks for reading.  

Time off

It’s all got a bit too much at work lately. Bad decisions, bad planning and just general day to day flapping has been mounting up for a while now. I am part of a 2 man area that’s quite large and we need to keep on top of everything on a daily basis to keep on top. So when someone decides they think it’s a good idea to change things comes along, it goes against my inner aspie.

So….. A week off next week to just spend time at home with my wife and boys is on the cards. I need mental breathing space from general life fairly often. The major difference is that I now can recognise that I need that disconnect, rather than it being allowed to spiral out of control.

I’m going to be a busy boy though. I have had several orders for handmade stuff so I get to indulge my inner woodworker and make a few quid too.

I do get funny reactions sometimes when I choose to give things away. But, it’s not always about money for me. For instance, I’m making a pen for a lady who’s son really has problems holding normal pens so he shys away from writing. She doesn’t know it yet that she won’t be paying for it. 

Some say it’s altruistic, I say it’s compassion. I remember the trouble I had at school with writing due to my poor grip and fine motor skills, so if I can help one child not go through that feeling of being useless , even if it’s only a tiny amount, then I will and sod the money.

Thanks as always for reading.

Wood. I love the stuff

….. Really love it! It’s something I discovered about ten or so years ago. I can’t remember precisely how, but it’s as important to me as breathing  now.

I love how tactile it is. You can make pretty much anything out of the stuff. Just add imagination. And that’s thet key for me, imagination. It allows me to focus and do what I want, how I want. No corners cut ( excuse the pun ).

I have primarily been turning for most of that time. Bowls, rings, pens etc. But I’ve always wanted to try my hand at using just hand tools for flat work. The idea of being able to create something by hand. 

It’s something I’ve always done in a way. I’m an engineer and have always worked with my hands. Weather it’s welding a plate to a truck of making a fountain pen. 

So, I have started my new path of learning. I’ve got some old tools, learned the correct way to restore them and now I’m using them.

The thirst for knowledge and my intense mind for detail, kindly given to me by aspergers, has allowed me to have an outlet for my creativity. I’ve even started to sell some stuff too. There’s always a positive to draw upon if you look hard enough.

Thanks for reading. 

Some of my restored hand planes.

Some wood and resin pendants I make

A box I had featured on the Woodworkers institute site 

It’s not all about the bad side

Now, I’m not trying to paint a bleak picture I’m just being honest, something I do often.

My life isn’t all doom and gloom anymore. I got married 11 years ago and we have 2 beautiful boys.

The eldest was diagnosed with aspergers at a very early age. This is where my page started to turn.

I began to notice and identify with some of his difficulties. I did initially not understand what aspergers was, I’d never heard of it before. But it got to a point where I couldn’t deny it was more than similar to my childhood.

The difficulty interacting and reading people, problems with fine motor skills etc…. The full shebang. He’s ten now and although he still has trouble with things in his day, he’s not ashamed to be autistic. He sees it as a gift and chats to anyone and everyone about it.

My wife runs local support groups for people with children with aspergers, including an autistic friendly cafe organised with the very kind help of a local landlady.

They see aspergers as a thing to be embraced, not hidden. 

This has made me think about how, and indeed what I’m doing towards it. That’s something I’m trying to work out. I’d like to combine my woodwork and awareness, but I’m still very socially immature. I can’t handle groups of people and the human noise they generate. I just don’t have the coping mechanism for it yet. So, for the time bring I’ll help in other ways where I can.

We’ve got our first aspergers friendly dining evening next week which should be a belter. I’ll post about that after.

Thet most important thing I’ve learned is that aspergers is not a curse and it can be managed and that’s given me something good. It’s given me hope.

Focus focus focus….

….. Something I’m finding hard to do lately. Y’see to me, my job has always been an important thing. I’ve been on the tools since I was able to. As I’ve said before, me and school we’re not good friends and the end of that was a relief.

” At last ” I thought to myself. I’ll get me a job and I’ll feel better.

This did work for a number of years. I trained as an HGV mechanic as I’ve always tinkered with cars, even when I was a kid. This was a good if not rather unforgiving job, but I was in for the long haul. That is till I threw my back out big time lifting a bloody big prop shaft one day!

So I couldn’t realistically carry on while I was going through tests/rehab etc.

MY next job, and still my favourite to this day was working dad. He was a highly skilled mechanical and electrical engineer, and together we worked on big old oil fired boilers you walk around inside, electrical work, plumbing, all that good stuff. That ended abruptly as our big contract looking after the whole of the Police training center went pop.

Back to bloody square one again. This time with a sodding house to pay for too!

Then, I fell into the world of refrigeration, and I’ve been in it ever since. Personally it’s not the trade it once was but that’s a very long convoluted story.

My work has always been central to my identity. It was to answer to all of my questions and my comfort from all of my fears. I’ve paid the price both physically and mentally as I’ve always worked in physically demanding jobs putting my size to good use. Masking my fears and anxiety behind a belligerent wall. People stay away from a 6′ 20 stone bearded angry man. He became my safety mechanism in a very confusing world. He didn’t want to deal with people, so he made sure they stayed away.

He spent most of his (my) life keeping it that way too until something changed one day, and that page was finally starting to turn.

My sanctuary 

I do love my woodworking. It’s my passion, my resetc and at times my sanity. 

My love of all things creative has always lurked beneath the surface. I have always been musical, and woodworking arrived to join the party along the way. Although I can’t draw to save my life. I could balls up a stick man!

I make many thing, mainly wood but metal and other media’s crep in from time to time too. 

For me the creative process gives so many things. It’s a true personal expression and the calm and focus it gives is a vital part of my life. 

The phot above is the most honest thing I’ve made. It’s a reflection of how I felt at the time. Something I’ve not done before. It’s a snapshot of time, and was featured on the Woodworkers institute forum. Only one person got it, and the rest were fairly scathing in their comments, but I don’t let things like that bother me anymore.

I suppose what I’m trying to get at is, it’s part of learning what aspergers means to me. It’s ok to feel bad, but I manged to turn that negative energy and anxiety into something. I can look at it and understand what it represents. A moment of clarity if you will.

Now, I try to put more of me into my creations more often which in turn gives me added peace in my foggy head.

Thanks for reading

Where to start? If there is such a thing.

I’m probably not going to post some things in any kind of order. My head focuses on what’s relevant at the time, so instead of trying to put things in “order” as many of my daily routines dictate, I’m winging it. 

A little more about me then….

I’ve only recently found out that I’m on the spectrum. My eldest boy was diagnosed with aspergers  at an early age, and as we as a family have gone through the process of learning about I’ve had alarm bells going off left right and centre.

I grew up in Longbridge with the Rover car factory in my back garden. It was thet place where most of my friends ended up working by proxy.

I never fitted in at school. Socially, I had 2 friends and academically I had no chance. You were either a bright prospect, or a dirty secret as far as my school was concerned. 

I couldn’t bloody wait to get out. It became my prison very quickly. I wasn’t frightened of anyone as I was twice the size of most, but the feeling of dread I had in the pit of my stomach was huge.

I crapped out in my exams big time, which in hindsight was inevitable really. I didn’t learn the way schools taught. I ended up thinking I was a thicko and feeling even more out of sync with the world around me……

Fast forward a few years, well more than a few, and here I am finally getting to grips with the reason behind it all. 

Now I do have a tendency to ramble somewhat, so I’m going to continue a little later.

Thanks for bearing with

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