As well as the four pieces mentioned in the title I have some pictures to share.
TORY ELECTION FRAUD
Although the Biased Bull****ting Conservatives (BBC for short) are still not giving this story much coverage, and have had the cheek on one of the rare occasions when they did cover it to use the word ‘mistake’, which is one thing it most certainly was not, other sources including Channel 4 have been giving it proper coverage. The Skwawkboxblog, noted for the regularity with which it beats mainstream media to the breaking of stories, and this piece, under the title “THE ‘LONGEST CONFESSION NOTE IN HISTORY’? CONHOME ADMITS WHAT CCHQ WANT TO HIDE”. The image below links to the piece on Skwawkbox.
The piece by David Hencke that I link to at the end of this section details yet more public transport problems facing Britain, and especially northern Britain. It is titled “Is George Osborne’s Northern Powerhouse about to hit the buffers?” Many of my readers will already be aware that the Downright Dishonourable Member for Tatton (in Cheshire), aka the #Gidiot, aka Gideon George Oliver Osborne has just been named as the new editor of the Evening Standard, a purely London based newspaper. Before providing the link, as usual by way of an image, I shall give in bullet form my objections to this latest example of Westminster and mainstream media getting cozy (btw although I firmly believe that Osborne should not be allowed to be both MP and newspaper editor, I can’t help wondering whether if he arrogantly stays on as MP he might not end up making what in view of his constituency I shall call a ‘Hamiltonian’ exit from parliament – unfortunately Tatton does seem to get more than its fair share of bad ‘uns!).
REASONS WHY AN MP SHOULD NOT BE AN EDITOR
One of the concerns highlighted in the Leveson Report was a degree of unacceptable closeness between the press and Westminster. In view of this it should not be possible for a current MP to also be a newspaper editor.
Conflict of interest several ways – between the role of MP and that of editor, between his southern based newspaper and his northern constituency, and between his role as editor and the several other important roles that he has had the arrogance to take.
It demonstrates contempt for his constituents by yet further reducing the amount of time he can spend attending to them.
Additional to the above, the Downright Dishionourable Member for Tatton has zero qualification for the task of editing a newspaper.
Click on the image below to read the David Hencke piece.
Picture of Great Bentley station by Ben Brooksbank
STANDING UP TO A MEDIA MOGUL
From a newly minted media menace to one of much longer standing, namely Rupert Murdoch – embedded below is a video from 38 Degrees titled “How to stand up to a media mogul”. It is very short – enjoy!
I recognize that this is a thorny issue. I will start by making two things clear:
The future of Scotland should be decided by the Scots.
Extending from my first point, while as a Sassenach I can express no personal opinion on whether Scotland should or should not vote for independence I can say for a certainty that if I was a Scot I would be voting for independence.
My link in this section is to an STV piece titled “Sturgeon refuses to rule out wildcat independence vote”, and I link to it by means of an image.
These pictures were all obtained by means of the scanner. These are pictures of 18 hammered coins which will be going under the hammer in April, and other than myself you are the first people to see them.
An account of James and Sons auction, which took place on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday of this week.
On Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday of this week James and Sons had its second ever three day auction. This one had the additional twist that two different venues were being used, our own premises in Fakenham on days 1 and 2 and the Maids Head Hotel, Norwich on day 3.
DAY 1: FAKENHAM
I caught the 7:30 bus from Lynn to Fakenham, thus arriving at James and Sons at just before 8:30AM (this bus doubles as a school bus, so follows a more circuitous route from Lynn to Fakenham than the usual X29 route and therefore takes 15 minutes longer to make the journey than a regular bus). Thus I was able to get the setup done in plenty of time, and the auction got underway at the appointed hour of 10AM. On this day stamps, postal history and first day covers were being sold. There were a couple of room bidders, and thankfully large numbers of online bidders (over 250 by the end of day 3). Although there were not many things going for big amounts of money a lot of stuff did sell, and the auction had started well. I have no pictures from day 1 of this auction, but here are some images of items that will be going under the hammer in our March auction, which will be on the 27th, 28th and 29th of that month.
DAY 2: FAKENHAM
The routine was the same as on day 1, but the items under the hammer were different. This day featured photographs, postcards, a few books, records, ephemera, Liebig cards, cigarette cards, cheques and coin first day covers. For most of the day there was no one present at the venue who was not a James and Sons employee, but the internet was very lively for much of the time. I had two moments of good fortune. The first featured…
Here are the official images of this lot:
My opening bid of £10 was unopposed, and here are the photographs I took this morning showing the entire booklet in all its glory:
About 10 minutes later we got to…
Here is the image gallery for this lot:
My opening bid of £8 again went uncontested, and here is a much more comprehensive set of pictures of this lot…
Overall this was a better day than we had expected – there were only a few quiet spots.
DAY 3: NORWICH
The fact that we were in Norwich for the final day of this auction meant that the stuff had to be loaded up to be transported over there, which was done at the end of day 2. It also meant that since I was going to have be in Norwich earlier than I could get there using the X29 that I claimed £5.50 in excess travel expenses as the cost of travelling there on the First Eastern Counties X1 is £11 as opposed to £5.50 if I can use the Stagecoach X29 route.
As intended I left my flat at 5:15AM and was on the 5:30 bus from King’s Lynn to Norwich, arriving at the venue at 7:30. I had my laptop with me because James and Sons were one laptop short (two working machines when we needed three). The setup was just about completed before the first viewers started turning up, and there were no issues of any sort.
Here are some photos from that early period:
THE FIRST PART OF THE SALE – COINS & BANKNOTES
There were no headline making prices, but most of these lots sold, some doing very well. We had decided to have a 15 minute break after lot 1,300 (we started the day at lot 1,000). Just before the end of the session we came to some commemorative medallions from the Gigantic Wheel, which was a feature of Earls Court between 1897 and 1906. The first was lot 1,286, which I ignored as being beyond my means. Lot 1287 however, which was only a little inferior in quality was cheaper, and my bid of £10 duly secured it. Here for comparative purposes are first the official images, scanned at 600 dpi and brightened up a bit, and then the two photographs I took today:
THE SECOND PART: MILITARIA AND STAMPS
The Militaria sold well. A chess set with German markings achieved barely credible £170. Here is the official image gallery:
Plenty of other things did well as well. The stamps predictably enough did not fare very well, but everything else had done enough that the auction was an unequivocal success.
AFTER THE SALE
I had considered staying on in Norwich to attend a Green Party public meeting at which Richard Murphy would be speaking, but in the end after three demanding days I was too tired to even contemplate not being home until 11PM which is what that would have meant, and so after a visit to Norwich Millennium Library I took the bus home, arriving back in my flat just after 6PM.
An account of the ,last four days, some pictures, some links, and a special science and nature section.
This post, which comes with plenty of pictures and some cracking links, covers what I have been doing over the course of Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday and Friday. Each of these days was very different in character from its predecessor. The links will be in two parts, a couple appearing between Wednesday and Thursday, and the remainder florming a special science and nature section at the end of the post.
A day at James and Sons getting as many images done as possible before the catalogue for our next auction went online (here, for those who would like to see it). This day went fairly quietly and without any major incidents. Here are some general pictures…
My second set of images for this day consists of coins and small medallions…
On Wednesday I started the day by typing up the minutes from NAS West Norfolk’s last committee meeting (as branch secretary this is one of my regular tasks). The in the afternoon I attended a meeting of the West Norfolk Disability Forum, which came with a little extra pressure as the branch chair of NAS West Norfolk could not arrange childcare which left me as NAS West Norfolk’s sole representative at the meeting. I found the meeting disappointing – many things talked about but little sign of any real progress having been made.
INTERLUDE – A COUPLE OF LINKS
Most of my links will feature at the end of this post, but there are two I choose to share here to break things up a bit:
AUTISM AWARENESS CUP 2017
Following the success of last year’s inaugural Autism Awareness Cup, a second event is being staged this year, on June 4th at Ingoldisthorpe Social Club between 12 and 5PM. A facebook page for this event has been launched – please click the graphic below to visit, and if you are on facebook, like the page:
HEATHER HASTIE ON A TELEVANGELIST
Heather Hastie’s blogis always worth reading, and this post, about a chap by the name of Jim Bakker, is no exception.
THURSDAY – SPARKS FLY
I had just started work on Thursday morning when I looked at my computer and noticed that the power had gone (I was taking photographs, so all the computer was on ready for editing them later, I was not yet using it). It soon transpired that none of the computers or heaters had power (the lights being on a different circuit did). One of my colleagues tested a particular plug socket that was most likely to have caused the problem, and it proved right (fortunately although shaken he was not seriously hurt, though we were all worried at the time). We then used a long extension lead to connect to the only spare socket available, which brought things to life for a few moments, before (as it transpired), the extension lead proved unable to cope with the amount of power it was having to transmit.
With no possibility of using the computers that day, the two people who were committed to remaining at work there for the day (the other person directly involved in the drama went back to working at his computer repair business) took as many photographs as possible, and it being fiendishly cold without any source of heat, gained permission to lock up a bit early. It was also in the course of this day that I took custody of a key to the shop.
Although editing and uploading them was for obvious reasons my first work activity of Friday, here are some pictures from Thursday…
FRIDAY – CALM AFTER THE STORM
I arrived at work on Friday morning and was delighted to see that the electrician was just finishing up, and that discussion about having a serious look at the electrics at some lpoint in the future were taking place (much needed – looking back the only real surprise about Thursday’s incident was that it had taken so long for it to happen).
Nevertheless, the amount of new work I accomplished on Friday was somewhat reduced, first by having to finish Thursday’s work, then by having to a bulk upload of previously created images due to mishap oin the original uploading process which meant that most of the last thousand lots were showing with no images and finally by having to make a trip to the post office, where it took the person handling our parcels 40 minutes to do the job (at least three times as long as it should have). Here are some of the new images that I did mange to create and upload…
A SCIENCE AND NATURE SPECIAL
We start with two sides of a story that may or may not be one of the most significant achievements in science history – if the experiment can be successfully duplicated a Nobel prize is a certainty. Here, courtesy of www.independent.co.uk comes…
THE PRODUCTION OF METALLIC HYDROGEN?
First of all, the story of the claimed discovery, complete with video footage:
Please click the link below to read (and below that is the video)…
An illustrated account of James and Sons’ first three day auction.
On Monday, Tuesday and Yesterday my employers staged their first ever three-day auction, all three days of the sale taking place at our shop in Fakenham. This post describes the event.
DAY 1: COINS, BANKNOTES, BANKING EPHEMERA AND MILITARIA
There were a few technical issues early on, and we had to dispense with the live video because it just would not work. However, with close to 200 online bidders (this tally rose past 300 before the end of the auction on Wednesday) signed up before the sale started and a few people there in person it was not long before good things started happening. The first and biggest headline maker was…
This 1863 penny caused an internet dominated bidding battle which finally stopped at £1,200 (the estimate had been £250-300, and the bidding had started around that level). The successful bidder then telephoned in to clarify whether he could return the item if it turned out not to be as expected. This led to a tricky photographic assignment for yours truly. Looking at the pictures below can you see what is unusual about the dating on thkis coin?
THE REST OF THE COINS
Although nothing else approached lot 22 the coins did continue to sell fairly well. I will feature one more lot, which although it did not reach great heights was contested…
This was a Lima Tramways Inauguration token. Two people were interested, myself and an internet bidder. When the online bidder went to £20 over my £18 I conceded defeat (I had decided that I was not going beyond £20 and adhered to that decision). In addition to the obvious public transport connection, there is also a more obscure and tenuous cricket related connection: Lima was also the birthplace of Freddie Brown, who went on Jardine’s 1932-33 ashes tour without being picked for a test match and captained the touring party for the 1950-51 ashes. Here is the image gallery for this lot to commemorate my near miss:
THE BANKNOTES AND BANKING EPHEMERA
The banknotes fared well, while the experiment with banking ephemera (mainly but not entirely cheques) cannot yet be judged – more of the stuff will be going under the hammer at our next auction.
The militaria was again largely successful. In a pattern of consistent successes there was one stand out, early in the section. The star of this second half of day one was…
This lot, a Free Polish Airforce pilots badge and RAF Dingley escape whistle with an estimate of £80-95 eventually sold for £320.
FINISHING THE FIRST DAY
After the end of the first day at lot 550 the stuff for that part of the sale had to be moved upstairs and the stuff for day two brought down into the shop. My involvement in this process and the fact the we had finished later than expected meant that I did not get any imaging done before going home.
INTERLUDE – ON IMAGING
This post has featured scanning and photography, so here is a brief guide to myt appraoch to imaging at work:
I scan the following items:
Coins – 600dpi, scan each face, brighten the images (this both improves the clarity of the image, and since I have also adopted the policy of using a white background, effectively eliminates the background) and join the two images together to create the master image). I can image up 20 single coin lots at a time in this way, and the scanner I use works fast even at high resolution.
Stamps – 300-400dpi according to the level of intricacy of the pattern. Small stamps usually have an automatic black background because of the holders that are used. Usually I image these lots four at a time, but occasionally if the stamps are particularly suitably placed in the holders I can do more.
Postcards – 200-300 dpi according to time considerations. When there has been a real hurry on I have got away with scanning postcards at 150dpi, but I do not recommend going this low. The bed of my scanner is big enough for four standard size postcards, and in general if I have more cards than that in a lot I photograph rather than scanning.
Banknotes and related items – 200dpi is usually right for these.
Small ephemera: Any printed item that is A4 or less in size can be scanned. These items can be done at 150dpi.
All items not in the above list are photographed, and for items in the above list the decision to scan is dependent on small size – I do not for example lay out the contents of a huge box of coins on the scanner bed and scan.
DAY 2: POSTCARDS, EPHEMERA, FILM POSTERS, CIGARETTE & LIEBIG CARDS
A slightly fractious start to the day, as it was still not possible to run the video. Also, due to the confusion caused by frantic attempts to find a way to run the video the first couple of lots went under the hammer without audio either.
There was no danger of any of these not selling because one of our regulars had left a block of bids on all of them, and some ended up going to other people.
EPHEMERA AND FILM POSTERS
These as might be expected were fairly quiet, although even they did not completely bomb – some decorated menus sold reasonably well.
THE CIGARETTE AND LIEBIG CARDS
The big news from these lots was that the majority actually sold. Near the end there was a very minor controversy concerning…
This was the second and last lot ion the catalogue that was of personal interest to me. I opened the bidding at £16, and as I as recording this information an internet bit for the same amount registered. James and Sons policy on the matter is clear – a room bid has privilege over an internet bid. I thus pressed the ‘room’ button on the console to disallow the internet bid. The item was then knocked down at £16. Just in case the unlucky internet bidder is reading this, they would have had to go to £22 to get the item, since I was adhering to the same policy that I had adopted with regard to lot 141 – I was prepared to go to but not beyond £20. As a further point please note that had I secured lot 141 I would not have bid on this item. When I have been through it in detail I will produce a full post about this item, but for the moment here are the official images:
THE SWAP OVER
The moving of items so that the setup was ready for day 3 was swiftly accomplished, and having done fewer lots and the auction having run more smoothly there was plenty of time for me to finish the day with some…
The February auction will be another three day affair, but with an extra twist – days 1 and 2 will be at the shop again, but day 3 (A Wednesday again) will be at The Maids Head Hotel in Norwich. Here are some of the images I produced on Tuesday afternoon…
DAY 3: STAMPS, FIRST DAY COVERS AND POSTAL HISTORY
The day started with a wait outside the shop as the colleague who was opening up was delayed, continued with a quick trip to get a replacement strip bulb because one was shining a very ugly shade of pink but the setupo went smoothly, and the auction proceeded with no problems. These lots were not expected to generate bidding fireworks, but a reasonable number of them did actually sell.
There was no immediate need to transfer the stuff, so I was able to do other work, starting with…
SOME HIGH VALUE FEBRUARY IMAGING
These needed to be done first as some would be featuring in the print catalogue…
After lunch and a quick trip to the stationer for a box of paper I did some more ordinary imaging…
James and Sons’ first three day auction was definitely a success. The use of the shop as a venue massively reduces overhead costs, and the fact that we can only seat a few people there is no great disadvantage. February’s auction, on the 20th and 21st at the shop and then the 22nd at the Maids Head Hotel, Norwich will provide an interesting comparison. I end this post with some pictures of the layout on the first two days of the January auction (day 3 did not warrant a picture):
An important letter to be delivered to world leaders on International Women’s Day (8th March) and a few other bits. Read, enjoy and please share widely.
This blog post features two special sections to start, and then some regular aspiblog fare to finish. We start with…
A LETTER TO WORLD LEADERS
Because I am on the mailing list of ONE I received their email containing a letter about education for girls and a button to click to add my name. Here is the text of the letter
A Letter to Leaders
You couldn’t be where you are today without a good education.
But because poverty is sexist, 130 million girls across the world are denied this basic right. Indeed, if the number of girls out of school formed a country, it would be the tenth largest on the planet – bigger than Japan or Germany.
All children deserve a good education, but in the poorest countries girls are denied it more often than boys. Education is vital for moving out of poverty. Every additional year of school that a girl completes increases her future earnings, which is good for her family, her community and her country.
We cannot afford to squander the potential of 130 million girls to cure diseases or end wars, invent brilliant technology or revolutionise an industry…or simply to access opportunity.
We are coming together and uniting across our divides to get every girl into school and to make sure she gets a quality education once she’s there.
But we need you to do the same.
Your education helped you to get where you are today – and it is in your power to help millions of girls to get theirs. Please act now, with the right policies and the necessary funds.
Show us that politics can work for the people – starting with the people who need it most.
To add your name to this letter, as I already have:
The letter will be delivered to various world leaders on International Women’s Day, March 8th.
SOME SPECIAL COINS AT AUCTION
These pictures are of lots 1036-40 in James and Sons’ February Auction. This auction, like our January auction which is Monday-Wednesday of next week is a three day affair, although day three, which the coin lots will be opening, will be at the Maids Head Hotel, Norwich, after two days at our shop in Fakenham. Save for the picture of the presentation box for lot 1040 these images are all ultra hi-res (600 dpi) scans…
My 999th post on aspiblog – an appropriately quirky melange – share if you agree!
The title of this post comes from a cricket related quirk, explained by the image below, which is an extract from Mike Brearley and Dudley Doust’s book about the 1978-9 ashes series (six matches, Australia 1 England 5):
The ‘nonuple’ part of the title comes from the fact that this is my 999th post on aspiblog, and like the old Gloucestershire spinner Bomber Wells who deliberately retired on 999 first class wickets I have decided the commemorate 999 rather than the more conventional 1,000. By the way, although 999 is indubitably part of the ‘Nelson’ sequence I suspect that never mind me as someone immune to woo in all its forms even the late legendary David Shepherd might have considered that at 999 there was little to worry about (in point of fact it is 0% success rate as a score at which wickets fall – twice in first class cricket a team has scored that many – Victoria both times, against Tasmania in 1922 and New South Wales in 1926 and both times they reached the 1,000 safely and won the matches by monster margins – an innings and 666 and an innings and 656 runs respectively).
SOME RECENT FINDS
First a story which I reblogged from Why Evolution Is True yesterday, but which is so spectacular and so well presented that I am sharing a link to it today as well – click the picture below to visit:
Second, a suggestion that London should take its cue from Paris and make public transport free of charge (what are you waiting for, Sadiq?). I have already shared this on my London transport themed website, and now take the opportunity to promote it here – via two pictures, the first of which contains a link to the original article on www.independent.co.uk:
My next link concerns libraries, and the fact that they are being hit by huge funding cuts. At the bottom of the article mention is made of the library from which the most items have been borrowed this year – Norwich Millennium Library (and although that is the library I use least frequently of my three regulars my visits there are not entirely unconnected to the large number of items borrowed there!). Click here to see the original piece.
My final link in this section is appropriately cricket themed. Before getting on to it I note by way of observation that as the third day draws to a close the current test match between India and England seems to be capsizing under an overload of runs (Eng 400, Ind currently 445-7). A new cricket blog has appeared on my radar, and I introduce it to my readers by way of a link to a review of Steve James’ book The Art of Centuries.
To end this post here are some coin images from yesterday at work (on this occasion high-res scans rather than photographs as these were small lots):
While Alastair Cook and his team are fighting hard in Visakhapatnam, the women have recorded a tremendous victory in Colombo.
A SPECTACULAR RECOVERY
You may recall that in my last post I detailed the recovery of the England Women’s innings from 58-6 20 241-9 in their 50 overs. Rain then intervened, so the players reconvened today for the Sri Lankan response. Natalie Sciver, whose 77 dug England out of trouble followed up by accounting for both Sri Lankan openers. Danielle Hazell and Laura Marsh who had continued to Sciver inspired batting recovery then cashed in on the early breakthroughs , Marsh taking 4-21 from her full ten overs and Hazell finishing with 3-21 from 8.1 overs.
While all three of the young women mentioned above performed outstandingly I would say that Sciver who played the major innings and then made the early breakthroughs that the other two capitalised on was the key to this astonishing turnaround. The cricinfo scorecard makes no mention of a Player of the Match award, but if there was one it should have gone to Sciver with honourable mentions for Hazell and Marsh.
THE SOLUTION TO THE MATHS TEASER
Below is the pair of simultaneous equations from my last post – the challenge was to pick and solve one of these pairs:
If you did the non-mathematicians thing of selecting the pair of equations featuring smaller numbers you get zero credit. If however you managed to avoid being scared by the large numbers in the second pair you might have noticed that the number of Xs in the first pair equals the number of Ys in the second and vice versa, or in other words, temporarily removing the numbers we have:
aX + bY = c
bX + aY = d
This gives us options for possibly simplifying the equations. First up let us look at adding the two initial equations together which gives us:
(a+b)X + (a+b)Y = c+d
Feeding the numbers back in, we get:
1,000,000X + 1,000,000Y = 5,000,000 which simplifies nicely to X + Y = 5
we can also subtract the bottom equation from the top one, giving us:
aX – bY = c-d
Feeding the numbers back in gives us 370,926X – 370,926Y = 370,926, which at first glance may not look terribly pleasant, but a second glance shows that the number of Xs and Ys are equal and that that number appears on the other side of the new equation, so in other words it simplifies to X – Y = 1.
Thus the solution to the original pair of equations with those huge numbers is the solution to this pair of equations: