Off to Marxism 2016

An announcement relating to the next five days, accompanied by some photographs.

This is by way of an alert for my followers. Between now and Monday I will be in London attending Marxism 2016, and my computer access will be sporadic at best. Here are some pictures to accompany this brief announcement…

I found this map in a post by Mike Sivier at Vox Political, and he found it on twitter.
Lot 497 at yesterday’s auction – a bargain at £10 – splendid pics of trains.
The next five images are close-ups of pictures from lot 497


A flowerhead with an insect in attendance
Close up extracted from the foregoing image showing the insect and the centre of the flower.


A Selection of Images

After my last post was pure text I suppose you c ould describes this one as compensating for the photographic deficit!


As well as items that feature in James and Sons July Auction I have some pictures taken in my own time to share.


The images here are some of those I have produced since Thursday…

Now for some…



Moving on to a rather more garecful creature beginning with s…




The first of five pictures from the Five Greatest Warriors (Matthew Reilly) to appear here – this is Genghis Khan’s shield, depiciting the six temple shrines wherein a pillar has to be placed – by the time West gains possession of this item two of the pillars have been successfully placed.
Descriptions of all six vertices in the Word of Thoth, a language comprehensible only to the Siwan oracles


The first of two decorative plates in the window of the Salvation Army shop.


A bee – we need more of these!


The Novels of Matthew Reilly

An introduction the novels of Matthew Reilly.


This is a new departure for me on this blog – I have done book reviews before, but this time I am looking at many books by one writer. These books form three natural categories as far as I see things, and I shall start with…


I have read most of Matthew Reilly’s considerable output and there are four books in that list that are currently what I would consider to be stand alone. I consider them in increasing order of possibility of a sequel, starting with…


There is no possibility of a direct sequel to this book, which recounts the story of a badly tainted chess tournament that took place in 1546, and also features a series of grisly murders. The story is narrated by Elizabeth I, and before we get to her narration we are told of her death. It is unique among Reilly’s output in being set solely in medieval times, although the action is every bit as thick and as fast as in his other books.


This was Matthew Reilly’s first novel, and the original edition was self-published. The story, built around an intergalactic contest that takes place every thousand years and is this time happening on Earth for the first time features a great range of creatures. Although the possibility of a sequel is not so completely ruled out as in the first named book, there are obvious limitations, and certainly a sequel involving the contest that gives the novel its title could feature none of the same characters (possibly an Earth representative descended from the daughter of the guy who was Earth’s representative in this book).


This one features two story-lines separated by just over four centuries. Common to both stories is an idol made of an extra-terrestrial substance (i.e. carved out of a meteorite) and also some super-giant cats called rapas. In the modern-era of the story the idol is wanted by various people of varying degrees of unpleasantness to serve as power-source for what would be the ultimate in WMDs. While a direct sequel is again unlikely, I can see one of the main characters from this book reappearing (see later in this post).


This is the last of the stand-alone books, and I have written about it elsewhere on
this blog. I can envisage a sequel to this one – if there are dragon nests concealed beneath nickel deposits, then China is not the only place they could be found, so another story featuring dragons could easily be on the cards. Also, having created a character such as C J Cameron it would be a shame to use her in only book! This brings an end to the stand alone books, and signals the start of the second category of Matthew Reilly books…


These novels are linked by their central character, Shane M Schofield, a US Marine, call sign Scarecrow. There are currently four scarecrow novels and I can foresee at least one more…


The action in this book is triggered by the discovery of a metal object deep beneath the surface, initially believed to be an alien spacecraft (the truth proves rather more mundane). In addition to Scarecrow’s squad of marines there is a French group trying to seize control, a more dangerous British SAS group and most dangerous to Scarecrow, a rogue US grouping, the Intelligence Convergence Group, who have two men in Schofield’s own unit. A casualty whose importance becomes more obvious in a later scarecrow book is the french scientist Luc Champion.


This story is set in the US, and features an attempted coup by the commander of a top-secret base ultimately foiled by Scarecrow. It also features apartheid supporting South Africans with an agenda of their own who further complicate matters.


Scarecrow is one of the targets of the biggest bounty hunt in history and ifr the bounty hunt is successful the world will be plunged into complete chaos (even more chaos than the people behind the hunt intend since one of their number has gone rogue and added elements to the plan). Although he has a personal guardian angel (courtesy of someone who is determined to thwart the bounty hunt and has paid huge money to secure the services of Aloysius Knight who would otherwise be one Scarecrow’s most dangerous foes), Scarecrow sees his girlfriend (another marine, Elizabeth Gant, call sign Fox) brutally murdered, which nearly has the intended effect of destroying his spirit.


Scarecrow’s task in his fourth and to date last adventure is to prevent the deployment of a weapon that will ignite the earth’s atmosphere, reducing most of the northern hemisphere to ashes. In his way is the mysterious army of thieves, commanded by the man who intends to unleash the weapon. It turns out that the uber-villain is a CIA man named Marius Calderon who has worked out that using the weapon will annhiliate China while doing comparatively minor damage to the USA. In the course of this story Scarecrow meets Veronique Champion, sister of Luc Champion who featured in Ice Station, call sign Renard. She is initially intent on killing him as she believes that he killed her brother, but gradually comes to realise the truth. The reasons why I see a fifth Scarecrow book in the future are that Calderon is still alive at the end of this one, and also that the Scarecrow/ Renard relationship has much developing to do.

I have saved the best of Matthew Reilly till last…


Whereas the Scarecrow books are separate entities, the Jack West novels are part of a greater whole, which will eventually comprise seven volumes (hence that word heptology). So far three of the seven volumes have been published, and the fourth, Four Legendary Kingdoms, is due in October. We start this series with the first book of it, which also happens to be the first Matthew Reilly book I read…


Jack West Jr, hero of these novels, is part of coalition of small nations who are responding to a serious threat. A race is on to find and assemble the pieces of the capstone of the Great Pyramid of Khufu in time for the appearance of the Tartarus sunspot. However, two rituals can be performed at the reassembly of the capstone, the ritual of peace and the ritual of power. The Catholic church and the United States of America are each seeking to perform the ritual of power, while the small nations seek either to perform the ritual of piece, or to prevent either ritual from being performed and endure the ensuing disasters. Although on this occasion disaster is prevented, this is just the beginning…


Both this book and the next in the series are concerned with the effort to save the Earth from exposure to the dark sun by placing cleansed ‘pillars’ at the temple shrines that mark the corners of a device known only as The Machine, which can nullify the power of the dark star.  Each of the six pillars has its own reward, and desire for these rewards and for power brings many besides the small nations into play. Although the USA are not officially involved, an American group are in the thick of things, Europe are also involved, and determined to do all in their power to ensure that the world is not saved are the Japanese. The book ends with West himself falling down an abyss in battle with the guy who had tried to prevent the second pillar from being placed…


This continues the story from the Six Sacred Stones, ending up with the placing of the final pillar at its vertex beneath Easter Island. In the course of these two books Jack West Sr has emerged as his son’s greatest adversary, and at the end West Sr dies, trying to secure the power of the sixth pillar, which his son has deliberately kicked into the abyss beneath the vertex, convinced that humanity cannot be trusted with this power. It would be foolhardy to attempt to guess in any detail how this series will pan out, but I will venture one prediction – the final clash at the end of the volume whose title begisn with One will be between West, seeking to the very end to keep the world turning, and the Japanese aiming for the reverse.


A Vote and A Day at Work

An account of a vote, a bus journey anbd a day at work.


I am going to cover today’s events in chronological order…


The easy way to make sure that you get something done is to do it early. Therefore I set off early from my flat so as to call in at the polling station before heading to catch my bus. My vote duly cast (Remain just in case anyone did not already know my intentions) I had more time than I needed to get to the bus station so I walked by a scenic route bagging a few photos along the way…


The bus arrived in good time, and the journey went without a hitch, helped along from my perspective by the non-stop action taking place in “The Great Zoo of China” (I borrowed the hardback earlier, see here for more details).


Just over two full pages which give an idea as to just how things are going to go horrifically wrong!


Not many photos from today as not much stuff was actually ready to be imaged, so I brought the database up to date. Here are images of the few lots that were ready for me…


Three Important Events

Official posters for three important NAS West Norfolk events, with some accompanying text.


This is a ‘pure autism’ post, prompted by me receiving an email containing official posters for three of NAS West Norfolk’s upcoming events.


Like many other NAS branches West Norfolk was originally set up by parents of autistic children, and it was only with the arrival on the scene of two autistic adults that the branch started thinking about adult activities. In an effort to take things beyond the thinking stage we have organised an official launch, the poster for which I reproduce below (with apologies for its small size – it is as big as I could make it without iy being blurry):

NAS adult launch


Unfortunately I will be otherwise engaged for this one as it clashes with an auction at which my attendance is non-negotiable. Nevertheless I advertise it as an opportunity for discussion:

NAS coffee morning


This will be taking place the day after the official launch of adult activities, and I have mentioned it in previous posts (here and here):

NAS autism awareness cup

A Spectacular Recovery

An account of the dramatic finish to yesterday’s ODI between England and Sri Lanka, some links and some photographs.


This post is about the closing stages of yesterday’s ODI between England and Sri Lanka, which I listened to once I had got home from work.


When I switched the commentary on Sri Lanka had made a respectable 286, which by that stage was looking positively mountainous since England were 39-4. When skipper Eoin Morgan was out for 42 to make the score 73-5, and Moeen Ali also fell cheaply to a poor shot the situation looked even grimmer for England, as Chris Woakes walked out to join Jos Buttler…


Buttler and Woakes fared better than had seemd posssible when they came together, and gradually victory moved from the realms of fantasy to a distant but imaginable outcome to a genuine possibility. Two wickets in quick succession, Buttler and then Dvaid Willey seemed to have once again settled things in Sri Lanka’s favour, but Liam Plunkett (surely the most talented batsman ever to be at number 10 by design) played well alongside Woakes who established a record score for a number 8 in an ODI. In the end it came down to…


At the start of this final over 14 were needed for England to win. Good bowling restricted England to seven off the first five, meaning that unless a wide or a no-ball was bowled England could no longer win. Neither was forthcoming, but Liam Plunkett did hit that final ball for six to level the scores and earn England a tie after a come-back of epic proportions.


My first link, just to tie up the loose ends from the first part of this post is to an official account of yesterday’s ODI, courtesy of cricinfo.

My remaining links are all on the subject of referendums and one referendum in particular. I start with David Hencke’s post about why he will be voting for remain.

My next two links are both to posts from that legal eagle of the blogging world jackofkent, first a detailed analysis of what he sees as the flaws of referendums, and second, acoompanied by a screenshot below and some subsidiary comments of my own afterwards a proposal for banning referendums:


I would change clause 2 of the above act to read:

2. This Act can only be repealed by a unanimous vote in the house (for the purposes of this Act abstentions and absences count as votes against).


For anyone who has read all the foregoing text here is your bonus in the form of some recent photographs:


Although the day rider plus that is my standard bus ticket specifically excludes the coasthopper whose route map is pictured here, coasthopper buses sometimes run other routes, notably the X8 between King’s Lynn and Fakenham.


Rapid Progress on the July Auction

An account of today’s imaging, largely told by way of pictures.


James and Sons’ July auction is progressing rapidly. A wide variety of items came my way for imaging.


Here are some of the highlights from today’s imaging…

Aftewr today there are only a couple of coin lots l;eft top be filled in this auction. This by the way is lot 1.


A very old coin indeed (cannot make out a date but it is either 12th or 13th century)



Not quite so old – dates from Elizabeth I


A parvenu – a sprightly 127 years old


Two suitcases full of masonic regalia.


A complete domino set
The red train is damaged, the black not so – the canopy over the cab is supposed to be removable since…
…the driver and fireman cannot be seen when it is on.