Some stuff about nature, with a sidelight on public transport. Links to several nature/ transport themed posts and many appropriately themed photos.
This is the first of several posts I will be putting up today. Two of the links I shall be sharing are to posts that have already appeared on this site as reblogs, but which I consider so important, that I am going to link to them again. There is also among my links a piece relating to public transport for which I make no apology, as transport policy can have a big impact on nature, whether positively or negatively depending on the nature of the policy. As usual plenty of my own pictures will feature as well.
TAKING THE LOCAL AUTHORITY TO TASK
Two pieces in this section:
Anna’s searching questions of her local authority as part of the ongoing campaign to save Trosa nature. For those who have not already seen the piece, please click on the magnificent infographic/ meme that Anna created based on a comment I made on one of her previous posts.
A cabal of Tories seeking to force through the building of an expensive and environmentally damaging incinerator is all too familiar to a West Norfolk resident. This time the dodgy dealing is going on in Gloucestershire and again it is a Tory controlled County Council that seeks to force through the building of the incinerator. The Skwawkbox have picked up on the story, for which I am very grateful, and I urge everyone who reads this to visit this post by clicking on the image below.
BADGER CULLS AND BIOSECURITY
This one appears on Chris Packham’swebsite, and consists of a brief introduction to a person by the name of Anna Dale, and then an essay by this same Anna Dale titled “Below-par biosecurity should mean no badger cull licence”. To read this detailed essay please click on the graphic below.
BUSES IN CRISIS
This comes to you courtesy of the Campaign for Better Transport. Contained within this worrying piece is a bit of good news – an infographic relating to the achievements of 2016. To read the full detail on the crisis with Britain’s buses please click on the shocking graph below.
PHOTOGRAPHS 1: WORK
In this, the first of two sections of this post devoted to my photographs, I share some nature and transport related pictures from yesterday and Thursday at work. The first of these is of an item in the March auction, which I therefore use as a link to our online catalogue, while all the rest are from lots in our April auction.
PHOTOGRAPHS 2: LEISURE
To end the post here some photos from in and around King’s Lynn…
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):
My first post created using my new computer. It covers my work for James and Sons this week and includes solutions to the puzzle contained in my previous blog post.
Welcome to this post, the first to be composed using my brand new Acer Chromebook 15, of which more later. As well as covering the events of Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday, with a few pictures, and of course explaining the computer situation I will be providing an answer the puzzle that I included in my last post.
THE COMPUTER SITUATION
My old computer (and by computer standards it was a veritable Methusalah) had been struggling for some while when it finally decided to give up the ghost completely. My mother by way of an early Christmas present transferred the funds necessary to buy a replacement to my account, and I made the purchase today. All I am now waiting for is the arrival of the hard drive caddy that I ordered online which will enable me to connect the hard drive that I extracted from my old computer to this one and all will again be as it should be.
A HEAVY WORKLOAD AND HEAVY LIFTING
James and Sons had its last auction of this year on Wednesday (our next auction is taking place on January 18, 19 and 20 at our shop in Fakenham), and on either side of that I was getting as many images ready for January as I could. The auction we have just had took place in Norwich, and a shortage of people available to help combined with the fact that one of my colleagues was experiencing knee trouble meant that most of the heavy lifting had to be done by yours truly.
DAY 1: TUESDAY
Most of the work of loading the van had been accomplished on the Friday, but some still remained to be done. Additionally there were last minute queries to be resolved, work to be done for our next auction and a few other things. I made enough of a fuss about the extra expense of catching the very early bus to Norwich (a First Eastern Counties X1, which leaves at 5:30AM and on which a return costs £11 as opposed to the £5.50 it would have cost me if I could have caught the Stagecoach X29 which leaves at 6:28AM) that I was authorised to extract the bus fare from the till.
DAY 2: WEDNESDAY
I managed to catch the 5:30AM bus, and was the first James and Sons employee at the venue. Once the van arrived it was time to unload everything and get the place set up for the auction. After a few hitches, including requiring an emergency replacement for the computer which we had been using to run the auctioneer’s view screen we got underway on time at 10AM, and the sale proceeded fairly smoothly. The coins fared especially well, and much to my relief some of the larger boxes of stamps sold in the room, meaning that they did not have to go back on the van. The militaria also did well.
Once the van was loaded I was able to take my leave, and being in Norwichtook the opportunity to visit Norwich Millennium Library before getting the bus home. In the end I arrived back at my flat a little under 14 hours after I had left it in the morning.
DAY 3: THURSDAY
After unloading the sold goods from the van it was back to work on the January auction. The catalogue cover was ready by the end of the day, and the images were about 70% done, a near miracle in the circumstances. Here are some of the new images from yesterday…
THE PUZZLE EXPLAINED
I asked you to take any three digit number, multiply by 7, then multiply the new answer by 11 and finally multiply that answer by 13. I then asked how your final answer compared to your original number. That final answer consists of two copies of your original number. The reason for this is that 7 x 11 x 13 = 1,001 – and that post beinbg my 1,001st on aspiblog was why I set that puzzle in it. As a bonus I asked what multipliers you would need to produce a similar effect with four digit numbers, and the answer to that is 73 and 137, because 73 x 137 = 10,001.
James and Sons’ November auction took place yesterday at the Long Bar, Fakenham Racecourse. This post covers both yesterday and the aftermath today.
The setup was accopmplished on Tuesday, with more than a few hints of trouble ahead (see here for more details). There was a heavy frost in evidence when I set forth to catch the 6:28 bus to Fakenham (now that they have reduced the number of morning bus services I cannot get in early enough on an auction day on any other bus). The bus left on time, but only made it as far as Littleport Street (its first outward bound stop if anyone is there) before breaking down. The replacement bus took longer to arrive than it should have, given that the depot is only couple of miles away. This bus did make it to Fakenham, arriving at approximately 7:30, although it had no heating. The Long Bar is, for all its grand title, a wooden hut, and the heater would not work at first. When we did get it to work it pumped out smoke.
The IT setup did work however, and the auction started promptly.
THE AUCTION ITSELF
The auction started with coins, which fared very well. The coins were followed by banknotes, which sold phenomenally well. Then came the militaria, which was good in parts. After that came some aviation postcards. Lots 350-377 were toys, first toy cars, starting with the ‘Goldfinger’ Aston Martin DB5 in mint condition, and progressing through more toy cars, Hornby, Triang and a few dolls. After that we were into collector’s models – a few boxes of lead soldiers and a large quantity of model aeroplanes, which appropriately enough went sky high.
The stamp lots were patchy, and apart from a few bits of jewellery very little after lot 550 did anything of note, partly because the auctioneer was hurrying through things by that stage. A box of interesting beer mats went to me for £9.
Once the auction was concluded I was able to consume my sandwiches before helping with the clear up. I managed to get the 16:37 bus back, and this time I arrived in King’s Lynn in the same bus I had left Fakenham in! The only problem was the early evening traffic in Lynn (basically from Gaywood to King’s Lynn town centre was gridlocked).
My only involvement with the aftermath of the auction was helping to unload to van – while three of my colleagues attended to the invoicing I was imaging some bulky stamp and cigarette card lots for our next auction on December 14, and in the process rendering the kitchen area navigable.
An account of final preparations for James and Sons’ November auction.
James and Sons’ November auction takes place at Fakenham Racecourse tomorrow, which combined with the somewhat stressed preliminaries led to the title of this post.
A CHANGE OF VENUE
Firstly, a miscommunication led to this auction being held in the Long Bar rather than the Prince of Wales Suite. Then when we arrived at the venue with the items for auction (as the picture below shows this was a very full van load) it was in state of disarray.
The next hiccough was the necessity of running a long cable from a building with an internet connection into the Long Bar, which involved stretching it across a bit of road that was due to be used by caravans, but some metal supports of the type more usually used for putting up shelving came in handy to provide a secure guard for that bit of wiring…
Also, the Long Bar has a very antiquated heater, which had clearly not been used in a long time.
I had a picture to take to resolve a query and also located a lot that had not previously been imaged…
I also in odd quiet moments got some pictures from the Long Bar, and on the way back to the shop took a few pictures through the open window of the van…
BACK AT THE SHOP
Back at the shop I had some big stamp lots for our December auction (on the 14th) to attend to, and was then required to buy some paper (there is a stationer down the road who sells plain A4 at £17 for five reams).