Scotland – Getting There

Post 2 in my Scottish holiday series (there will be more later today). This post describes the journey there.

INTRODUCTION

Welcome to the second post in my series about my holiday in Scotland. This one focusses on the first day, when I travelled from King’s Lynn to Kyle of Lochalsh and then walked across the bridge to Isle of Skye, where I stayed the night at Saucy Mary’s Lodge. 

THE FIRST LEG OF THE JOURNEY-
KING’S LYNN TO PETERBOROUGH

With my envisaged train for the next leg of the journey leaving Peterborough at 9:46 and the bus journey reckoned at 1 hour 20 minutes or thereabouts I decided that prudence dictated being on the 7:34 rather than the 8:04. The journey ran fairly smoothly and I arrived at Peterborough Train Station at just after nine o’clock. 

PETERBOROUGH TO EDINBURGH 

The 0:946 to Edinburgh Waverley, scheduled to get there at 13:20 arrived in time and was not absolutely packed, although it is clearly a popular service. I got a window seat in a designated quiet coach (both parts of which represent significant bonuses to me – the latter even more than the former). This was the start of the portion of the journey that is not so familiar to me, and also therefore represented the point at which the camera got pressed into service…

Spire
Taking photos through the windows of moving vehicles can be frustrating (and all bar a few taken when the train was at rest were taken thus)

ChurchVillage viewed from trainView from Virgin Train 1Wind TurbinesP1000114ViewCooling Towers

York Model Railway
On the approach to York, the first stop after Peterborough

York Model Railway2York Model Railway3Church2P1000125Approaching YorkYorkYork2York3York4York5Old Train

Darlington1
At Darlington, one terminus of the world’s first passenger carrying railway, the Stockton & Darlington.

Darlington2Darlington3Stately homeVillage2Road BridgeBridge and riverViewfrombridge1Riverview1Riverview2Riverview3Newcastle buildingNewcastle1Newcastle2Newcastle4Church, NewcastleChurch, Newcastle2River TyneRiver Tyne4River Tyne 4

North Sea 1
A first glimpse of the sea just north of Newcastle

North Sea2North Sea 3North Sea 5North Sea 6North Sea 7Wind TurbineNorth Sea 8North Sea 9North Sea 10North Sea 11Lighthouse, near Scottish border

Edinburgh Waverley
Edinburgh Waverley

EDINBURGH TO INVERNESS

A slightly late arrival at Edinburgh meant that I had to move fairly fast to make the change to the train to Inverness. A combination of the fact that some idiot at Scotrail (part of Abellio, the profit-making subsidiary of the Dutch state railway company) had deemed three carriages sufficient for this train and the heat of the day made this leg of the journey like travelling in an oven on wheels. However, neither of these factors kept me from taking photographs…

Edinburgh AirportEdinburgh Airport 2Bridge1Bridge2Bridge3Bridge4Bridge5Bridge6Bridge7Bridge8Scottish VillageScottish FactoryChurch - ScotlandCowsRenewable EnergyRenewable Energy2RiverRiver2River3River4River5PitlochryPitlochry PlaqueRiver through treesStony RiverRiver6River7River8River9River10River11River12River13River14River15River16River17River18River19River20River21CottagesRiver22Scottish TownScottish Town2

INVERNESS TO KYLE OF LOCHALSH

Arriving at Inverness over half an  hour late I then discovered that the train I had expected to catch to Kyle of Lochalsh was being replaced by a bus service. There were two different buses, and there was some confusion of who should go on which, but we set off at the appropriate time. I continued to ply my camera…

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P1000266
My first sight of the Skye Bridge, and a by then very welcome sign that the journey was nearly complete. When I first travelled this way in 1994 there was no bridge, just a regular ferry crossing.
P1000267
The approach to Kyle of Lochalsh, with Kyleakin visible in the distance.

THE WALK TO SKYE

It was still pretty hot even at 8:45PM as I began the walk to Saucy Mary’s, which according to my instructions was 2.5 miles. The reason for this is that the bridge to Skye actually starts a good half-mile beyond Kyle of Lochalsh, is itself a longish crossing and then on the other side one has to go back along the Skye shore to Kyleakin which is directly opposite Kyle of Lochalsh. I arrived at Saucy Mary’s thoroughly exhausted and went straight to reception. There I was greeted with news that I had been relocated from my dorm bed to a room normally used only by staff. The reason for this was that the people who had booked the other four beds had revealed at the 11th hour, having not mentioned it while booking, that they were travelling with two babies, and the manager had decided that it was unacceptable to put me in the dorm room in that circumstance (absolutely right, and thankyou very much). 

Autism and Ableism

Some thoughts on autism and ableism, and some links relating to the same, topped off with some photographs.

INTRODUCTION

I have a few links to share, and of course some photos will be included, but this post starts with some of my own thoughts before I start sharing links. I have decided that all of my own text in this post will be #RedInstead as it is themed so much around Autism. Links will be underlined and in bold, and any images from other blogs will also serve as links to the posts from which they were taken (these blogs will also have a text link). 

THE LINK BETWEEN AUTISM & ABLEISM

I am #ActuallyAutistic and have experienced mental health issues over the years. Do I consider myself disabled? The short answer to that question is no. However I do consider that the way in which neurotypical society views my condition (please note condition, not disorder) does disable me. To give just one example of this, 74% of all autistic adults in the UK, my country, are unemployed, and that percentage rises to 85% when underemployment is factored in. I am in the 26% who are actually in paid employment but not the 15%. These statistics are shameful ones (if they differ significantly in your part of the world feel free to comment further). They are based on the pathologizing of autism and indeed a more general societal pathologizing of difference. Anyone who has seen at work can confirm that I am more than capable of being a useful employee (indeed I cannot be considered as other than essential to my current employer).

Therefore, although I do not identify myself as disabled as I do identify myself as sharing some of the problems experienced by people with disabilities. 

ABLEISM

I start the sharing sections of this post with the latest in Erin Human’s series of posts about ableism. The piece is titledWhat causes ableism?”, and I offer you the infographic/ meme which heads it as an aperitif:

Next, courtesy of disabledgo comes what can only be described as a ‘good news with a massive asterisk’ story. West Yorkshire Police have confirmed that they are willing to launch criminal investigations into bus drivers who refuse to allow wheelchair bound passengers on to their vehicles without good cause. The massive asterisk of course is twofold: the fact that this has to be rated a good news story at all rather than being standard, and following on from that the fact that other police forces do not as yet appear to have made the same commitment. The full piece appears under the title “Police force pledges to investigate bus drivers who ignore access laws” and I urge you to read it in full.

AUTISM

There are a total of four links in this section, with the opener and closer both courtesy of thesilentwaveblog. The opening link is titled “Yeah I’m walking for autism“, and it is her response to yet another campaign to raise funds for purposes that are quite clearly at variance with the actual needs of autistic people. She also her explains how she uses walking. I urge to you to read the full piece, and present the picture that heads it for your further edification.

Some of you may recall that I recently reblogged two posts titled respectively Autism Speaks No Longer Seeking Cure; This Autistic Person Couldn’t Care Less and Autistics Against Autism Speaks | A Civil Rights Movement – Share & Reblog Version. Well the story being told in different ways in those two posts has moved forward with a new post from boycottautismspeaks titled “Autism Speaks Hurts. Real People Speaking.” I offer you this header graphic by way of further inducement…

My penultimate link is to a post on No Stereotypes Here titled “Words are Words“, and taking the form of an open letter to the organisation targetted in the graphic above. I present this site’s header image below.

No Stereotypes Here - Neurodiversity activist blog

My final link is to thesilentwaveblog’s most recent offering, which tackles the subject of eye contact, under the title ‘“Look me in the eye.” (No.)‘, and below is the image which heads it.

Now it is time to conclude this post with some…

PHOTOGRAPHS

ASCormorants and gullsCormorants x 3CormorantsouseDSCN5733ducklingsducklings1merulapurfleetstarlingstortoiseshell

 

 

James and Sons March Auction

An account of James and Sons’ March auction with lots of photographs. Also a brief mention of the theme of my next blog post.

INTRODUCTION

James and Sons’ March auction took place on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday of this week, with the first two days taking place at our premises on Norwich Street, while the third took place at Fakenham Racecourse.

DAY 1: LOTS 1-500

I arrived at the shop at 8:30AM, the setup was accomplished with no serious hitches, and the sale got underway at 10AM as planned. The first lots to go under the hammer were coins, and a few of them sold well, with a large internet presence making up for the fact that we had very few people bidding live. After coins came banknotes and related epehmera, including the first Traveller’s Cheques to feature in a James and Sons auction. Here are some pictures of lots in this part of the sale…

25
This was lot 25
140
Lot 140.
254
Lot 254 (two images – the first Travellers Cheque lot)

254-a255-a

255-b
Lot 255 (six images, the other Travellers Cheque lot)

255-c255-d255-e

The remaining lots to go under the hammer on day 1 were cigarette cards, Liebig cards and match attack cards. None of these fared especially well. I therefore end this section with a picture of one lot that did sell and will feature in much more detail in my next post…

369

Lot 369 went to me. My next post on this blog will be about what I shall be referring as Autism Acceptance Month in preference to the older, less expressive and misappropriated (I won’t name the culprits, but if you want a clue think blue jigsaw pieces) Autism Awareness Month, and I shall display these pictures in the context of talking about special interests. 

DAY 2: LOTS 501-950

This was in many ways the most stressful of the three days, because in addition to the middle part of the auction it featured the setup at the racecourse to enable people to preview the third day lots in advance. The auction part of the day was very quiet, although there was one brief moment of excitement around lot 696, a Chinese stamp for which I do not have an image (I rarely do stamps these days because they are easy to scan and my time is better spent doing the more difficult imaging). 

After the auction part of the day finished I helped with the unloading of items of the racecourse to be set up for the morrow, took some close up photographs of a couple of items that were needed to enable me to answer last minute queries and walked back to the shop (it takes about 15 minutes from the Prince of Wales Suite, the part of the racecourse where we hold our auctions) to edit the images and answer the queries. I also got a small amount of April imaging done before closing time (having arrived early to ensure that I had time to do the IT setup, and given the day that I knew to lie in store for me on the morrow I was not going to burning midnight oil, and when the last of my shop based colleagues finished his day at 3PM and I had seen him out I called it a day myself. Here are some pictures of the lots I was answering 11th hour queries about…

DSCN5315
The first five of these images relate to lot 1142.

DSCN5316DSCN5317DSCN5318DSCN5319

DSCN5320
The remaining images relates to lot 1117 – a gun stock without the barrel which would have been stored inside it. Both these items sold for good money in the end.

DSCN5321DSCN5322DSCN5323DSCN5324DSCN5325

DAY THREE: LOTS 951-1560

In view of the fact that the catalogue advertised viewing at the racecourse from 8AM I decided to get the first bus of the morning to Fakenham, which leaves King’s Lynn at 6:28AM. I was therefore outside the Prince of Wales Suite at about 7:30AM, and had to wait for someone else to arrive with a key to open it up. Still, while waiting I did get this picture:

lbs

With the setup accomplished, and knowing that all was working properly I could get some pictures from the venue (the first had actually been taken the day before):

After a fairly quiet start to the day the militaria sold well and the toys/ collectors models also fared well. As on the first two days it was the online bidders (who by the end of the auction numbered some 350) who were responsible for most of the action. The auction finished, it remained to dismantle the sale, load the goods up and transport them back to the shop. This was accomplished just quick enough for me to get the 3:35 bus home. The third day more than made up for the comparative quietness of the first two. James and Sons next auction is on April 24, 25 and 26, with all three days happening at our shop on Norwich Street. Here are a few final pictures to conclude.

951
This was the first lot under the hammer on day 3.

951-a951-b

1110
This lot was the subject of query that led to the taking of a number of extra images (the sale price justified the extra work many times over)

1110-dea1110-m1110-m11110-m21110-m3

1301
This was the first of toy/ collector’s model lots.
1458
This little thing did not make big money (I will be collecting it and paying for both lots that I won when I go back to work on Tuesday).

Booking a Trip to Scotland: British Public Transport Daftness Exposed

A combination of an account of the booking of train tickets for a trip to Scotland and an expose of the sheer craziness of British public transport.

INTRODUCTION

My parents have booked a house near Kyle of Lochalsh for a week which includes my birthday. As a birthday present I have been given the wherewithal to purchase train tickets for the journey, which happens to feature one of the most scenic routes anywhere in Britain. To set the scene for the rest of this post and give you a little test here is a photograph of my railway tickets for the journey:

tickets
Can you see what it is about these tickets that even before I go any further reveals an element of daftness in British Public Transport?

BOOKING THE JOURNEY

Those of you who follow this blog with due care and attention will be aware that for some years I have been resident in King’s Lynn for some years, and had I moved I would certainly have mentioned it here. Why then is the ticket above booked as a return from Peterborough to Kyle of Lochalsh and not from King’s Lynn? 

The following screenshots will expose the reason for this and the utter craziness and illogic of pricing on British public transport.

KL-Ky
Note the difference in price between this ticket and the one from Peterborough (almost £60!!)
Peterborugh-Kyle
Given the immense price difference, the booking from Peterborough was bound to leave my up on the transaction (as you will see after these pictures in point of fact to the tune of some £50)
Outbound
My outbound journey.
return
The suggested return journey (don;t worry parents, I can also get back leaving on the later train from Kyle, at 12:08 and arriving home around about midnight)
KL - Peterborough
Even were I to rely on train for the King’s Lynn to Peterborough and back section of the journey two anytime day singles (the max I would have had to pay), would have set me back a mere £24.60 as opposed to price difference on the all-in-one of almost £60, but….

I will actually be travelling the King’s Lynn – Peterborough and its reverse route on the First Eastern Counties X1 bus, which will set me back £6.40 each way or £12.80 in total, making a saving of approximately £47 as compared to the all-in-one booking from King’s Lynn. 

You might think that having cut through all the BS re fares and booked the tickets the daftness would end there, but you would be wrong…

COLLECTING THE TICKETS

The booking accomplished yesterday evening, this morning I set about collecting the tickets. First, as a precaution since I would be needing to keep them safe for a long while I searched out a receptacle of suitable size, shape and robustness to put them in, locating this pretty swiftly:

ticketholder

Having thus equipped myself it was off to the library to print off some booking information that I was going to need to collect the tickets.

library

Then with the information printed it was on to the station to pick up the tickets. This is usually done via ticket machines, of which King’s Lynn station has two. Here are pictures of both machines, showing precisely why I could not use them…

DSCN5103machineoo

I fully understand the desirability and indeed the need to replace old ticket machines with new, but why take both out of service simultaneously? Why not take one out of service and keep the other operational until the first new machine is ready, then take the second old machine out of service and replace it, thereby keeping at least one machine operational the whole time?

Fortunately, there were staff present, and I was able to get my tickets printed at a ticket office. While waiting I bagged an image of the station plaque:

plaque

Although the process took longer and entailed more frustration than I had anticipated, I have the tickets and other info safely stowed, and am looking forward to my visit to the wilds of northwest Scotland. It will not be my first visit to Kyle of Lochalsh – back in 1993, before the opening of a swanky new toll-bridge and consequent removal of ferry services to maximise said bridge’s profits, I passed through Kyle en route to the Isle of Skye, returning to the mainland by way of the southern ferry crossing to Mallaig. 

I conclude this post with two more photos, one showing all the printed material I have for the journey, and the other ending our journey back where we started (a lot more straightforward in a blog than in a journey on British public transport!)

traveldocstickets

 

 

Public Transport (and more Spring Photos)

More spring photographs following on my last post, likewise some appropriately themed music, some stuff about public transport, some autism related links and some other links.

INTRODUCTION

This is a follow up to my previous post, but after the photographs I will be sharing a number of links as well. Here is some appropriately themed music once again – Igor Stravinsky’s “Rite of Spring”.

THE PHOTOGRAPHS

Immediatelty I had put up the previous post I set off on another walk. Although I did not manage to capture any more butterflies I did get plenty of splendid pictures.

Corn Exchange
The Corn Exchange

HG

St Nicholas
St Nicholas Chapel
Cats
Cats on a pipe that crosses Bawsey Drain

DrakeMoorhen1sparrowsblackbirdDrake headMoorhen2

sunlight
sunlight on water and exposed mud flats
Waterfall
The upper Purfleet following much needed clean up work.

AN EXAMPLE OF THE DAFTNESS OF BRITISH PUBLIC TRANSPORT

This too has some photographic content. I made passing mention of a daft situation involving public transport in Norfolk in my post “Network Autism”, and now I am following up on it.

bus
A return journey from King’s Lynn to Norwich on this style of bus, going by way of Fakenham, Lenwade, Hellesdon, Taverham and Drayton costs £5.50…
X1
A return journey from King’s Lynn to Norwich on this type of bus, going by way of The Hardwick Industrial Estate, Middleton, Narborough, Swaffham, Dereham and Easton costs £11 – twice as much as in the other style of bus.

Although the routes taken differ, the distance covered and the time taken to cover that distance are similar, and therefore so too is the fuel consumption of the bus. The First Eastern Counties X1 route is available almost the whole day, whereas the Stagecoach X29 route is more restricted timewise, with the first bus leaving King’s Lynn at 6:28AM and the last return bus leaving Norwich at 5:20PM (and the other way around the restriction is greater because the depot is in King’s Lynn. 

This is the sort of nonsensical situation that can arise when public transport is in the hands of greedy profiteers rather than being publicly run and publicly accountable. There is no rational justification for the same journey costing twice as much by one route as by another like this.

LINKS

For today this section divides into two subsections, starting with…

AUTISM RELATED STUFF

I start with a link to a post on Mamautistic, titled “Not an Excuse”. This post is liberally laced with links of its own that I recommend you to follow up. Click on the picture below to read it in full.

My remaining links in this section are to posts on thesilentwaveblog. First up is a post titled “Asperger’s / autism may not be a disability only (but we *do* need to treat it like one)”. Please click on the image below to read this post, which is detailed and well reasoned, in full.

Next comes a post with the title “When an “official” Asperger’s / autism diagnosis is just a formality”. This one is is super-detailed but very well worth the read. Once again, there is an image that I can use as the link.

Finally, to end this subsection, although I reblogged the magnificent ‘put the boot on the other foot’ type post “The Hitchhiker’s Guide to Neurotypicality: a handbook on the rest of the world for Asperger’s / autistic people” earlier today it is so good that I feel another plug is in order, so if you have not already read it please click on the image below to rectify the omission.

OTHER LINKS

I start this section with a horrifying story from The Canary about how some girls in Britain in 2017 are missing school because they cannot afford sanitary products. Click the image below to read this piece.

Girls are missing school because they can’t afford sanitary products. In Britain. In 2017.

My last two links go together – not only are both to pieces on Skwawkbox, both are to pieces about Tory election fraud:

  1. The first one is titled “#TORYELECTIONFRAUD JUSTICE REQUIRES FULL RECKONING, NOT #MCKINLAY AS SACRIFICIAL LAMB” – as usual I am using an image as the actual link.
    mckinlay
  2. The second piece deals with a ‘tactic’ that the Tories are using as a supposed form of defence, and is titled “TORY ‘NO INTENT’ #ELECTIONFRAUD CONFIDENCE IS A NON-STARTER. HERE’S WHY”. Click the image below to read the piece.
    newsnight intent.jpg

 

 

 

 

Network Autism

An important autism related meeting in Dereham plus a few shares and some photographs.

INTRODUCTION

As well as my title piece, which as promised yesterday, is about the meeting in Dereham organised by Autism Anglia and ASD Helping Hands that I attended this morning. Karan and I were a little late arriving as she could not leave before the person who would be looking after her son had arrived and I had arranged a meet up point at The Gatehouse since while I was definitely up for the meeting I was not up for forking out the £11 it would have cost to me travel there and back under my own steam (at some point I will be putting up a post on public transport that will highlight why this particular shortish journey is so extortionate – for the moment suffice to say it has nothing to do with logic, reason, meeting passenger needs or anything else that has any place in the proper running of a public transport system). This meant that although we were able to introduce ourselves we missed most of the other people’s introductions. 

THE MEETING

The meeting had been arranged to discuss amendments to an autism strategy document which as it stood was laughably incomplete. Autism Anglia and ASD Helping Hands were effectively doing the kind of outreach stuff that Norfolk County Council should have been doing but weren’t. The County Council’s own meetings about such matters are invariably in Norwich, generally with a requirement that one arrive by 9:30. Before moving on to NAS West Norfolk’s role in the events of this meeting I will mention two things from the preliminary talk that caused hackles to raise. First, Norfolk County Council’s person responsible for co-ordinating matters relating to autism appears to have his fingers in a suspiciously large number of pies, and extending from this seems to be overly averse to scrutiny (as a West Norfolk resident who has the incinerator debacle seared on his memory I am naturally inclined to be mistrustful where Norfolk County Council are concerned – although we eventually won that one and the thing did not get built). Secondly there is the role of Norfolk Steps, who seem to have a monopoly on training provision for parents and carers and to be very reluctant to see that change – one person at the meeting had tried to use their materials to provide training and was told to desist. Another strike against Norfolk Steps from our point of view is that their training is not autism specific.

The key pages of the inadequate document that we were trying to improve were pages 16-19, and there was little we could do about what was on page 16, so as we seated around three tables each table was assigned a page to look at and make additions to. Ours was page 18:

P18

I have already covered a lot of the problems with Norfolk Steps, but there is one extra point – they have recently had their funding reduced, and no longer offer “steps plus” to parents. 

There were a few additions to point 5, which started our page. Point 6 was the single most inadequately expressed point in the whole sorry document. For this point to be worth the ink and paper it has to contain chapter and verse – the specific Act of Parliament and the specific clauses contained therein that are of most relevance. 

Anne Ebbage of Autism Anglia will be passing all the points raised at this meeting on to the council, and if the final version of this document is not massively changed and enlarged there will be trouble.

This was a very useful and productive meeting, and I hope it will play a role in dragging Norfolk’s approach to autism and autistic people out of the dark ages wherein it seems to have been stuck for some time.

A SEGUE LINK

The first part of this post has been about autism, and so I introduce the remainder of it by way of a link to an interesting piece by The Inked Autist. My views are rather different to those expressed in this post, but I recommend that you read it here.

A BUSY WEEK FOR DPAC

That title is no overstatement – this section contains a link to a post on the DPAC website and two embedded videos. 

The post, which gives this section of this post its title, can be accessed by clicking the DPAC logo below. Then you can find the two videos, which are both about a protest outside Parliament. The first video was created by Let Me Look TV, the second by Steve Topple of The Canary.

DPAC

PHOTOGRAPHS

I had planned to include more stuff in this post, but a malfunction has prevented that – I have just lost a large amount of stuff that was in here and have no way of getting back, so here are the photographs.

blackbird2WLC

magpie
A magpie near the pick up point in Lynn this morning

MNR3MNR2

MNR1
Three shots featuring a stretch of the Mid-Norfolk Railway in Dereham
Ecocity
One of the “Ecocity” towers near Swaffham – even in this picture, and still more so in the further edited version the observation room near the centre of the propeller is clearly visible. The original shot from which this picture and the next were both obtained was taken through the window of a moving car.

Ecocity - Editedblackbird4blackbird3propelleaf

 

Super Sharing Saturday – The Last Post

The last of my series of “Super sharing Saturday” posts, includes some of the lighter moments of the last few days.

INTRODUCTION

I finish this day of sharing with my last few bits. These are in the main fairly light-hearted pieces, although more than one touches on serious issues.

GIANT PHARAOH STATUE
DISCOVERED IN MUD PIT

For more about this statue, possibly of Ramesses II, please click on the image below to read the article posted on livescience.com

EMMA WATSON CLASSIC RESPONSE
TO DONALD TRUMP’S ELECTION

This comes in video from courtesy of mashable and is great fun to watch. http://mashable.com/videos/embed?video=NCDKG0LW&player=offsiteWEIT SPOT A FUNNY SPELLING ERROR

Somebody failed to proofread a church bulletin, resulting it being much funnier than intended. The image is below, and links to the piece on whyevolutionistrue where I first saw it. 

Screenshot 2017-03-11 at 5.20.39 PM - Edited

A SLICE OF (JONATHAN) PIE

This one was also brought to my attention by WEIT and is a classic example of the fictional (and very foul-mouthed – you have been warned) newscaster at his best. Here he is getting seriously aerated by the fact that there is ban on public swearing in Salford (where the BBC are based these days):

PHOTOGRAPHS

Here are some of my pictures to end this post:

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Close up of Norfolk cost tea towel.
DSCN4514
This tea towel is in the window of the coffee shop.

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KLFP
Three prints side by side – from L to R as you look these are of Greyfriars tower, the Custom House and the almshouses on Queen Street.
NASbranchesUK
NAS branches map
NASbranchesLondon
London has its own branches map on the reverse.