James and Sons July Auction

An account of yesterday’s auction, complete with photos, a link to a book review and a (well-merited) swipe at Stagecoach.


This is my account of the latest auction held by my employers, James and Sons, which took place yesterday at the Maid’s Head Hotel in Norwich.


Stagecoach, who have subsumed Norfolk Green, have very recently and without anything approaching proper communication cut a large number of services. One casualty of this piece of axe wielding is the 6:10 AM from King’s Lynn to Fakenham, which used to become the 6:55 from Fakenham to Norwich, and would see me arrive at the venue around about 8am, as needed. Fortunately, having been alerted to the mayhem while at work on Tuesday I had the foresight to check the timetables posted at King’s Lynn Bus Station and was able to come up with a back-up plan – I bought a single ticket on the X1 to Dereham and Norwich which is run by First Eastern Counties, departing at 5:55am and was in Norwich at the appointed time. This single fare and the single fare back from Fakenham (having travelled from Norwich to Fakenham as a passenger in the company van) amounted to £10 between them (£6 and £4 respectively) instead of £5.50 for a Dayrider Plus, to say nothing of the uncertainty created by the ham-fisted way in which these cuts were made. Surely if significant cuts to services are to be made (and I consider cutting what was the first bus of the morning on a particular route to be significant on its own – and I also know that half of the services that used to run between Fakenham and Norwich have been axed) the announcement should be made long in advance of the cuts happening, and every bus travelling on an affected route should be well stocked with new timetables that accurately reflect the planned reduction in services. Also, especially given the parlous state of public transport services in Norfolk, I consider any cuts to be unacceptable in any case.


With people arriving to view stuff not long after we had got there, there was not a lot of scope laying stuff out artistically, especially given how much of it there was, but a couple of areas were reasonably well done nevertheless…

Part of the toy display – inside that suitcase marked is lot 363 was a large collection of items of rolling stock.
A little cluttered, but at least the three smartest hats got due prominence.


I am glad to be able to report that there were no IT issues at any stage of the sale. While the coins & tokens, some of the militaria and some of the ephemera sold well, the stamps did not go well, and the vinyls did less well than we would have liked.

Once the auction finished we picked out all the stuff that had sold to bidders not in the room, loaded the van up for the return journey and were able to head back. I was able to catch the 17:38 rather than have the dicey prospect of relying on the 18:35 not having been cut (if they can cut the first bus of the day, why not the last?). However, I was not yet at liberty to relax – there was still the matter of watering a few plants at Hampton Court, Nelson Street. Thus, it was almost exactly 14 hours after I had left my flat that my time was my own again.


There are two members of James and Sons staff who can manage the IT during the auction, so we swap duties during the day (auction days are the only time I regularly do front-line customer service). My colleague did an IT session between lots 200 and 300, at which point we had a scheduled break. I then did the first 75 lots after the break, before swapping for 100 lots or so, for a period when a few things I was interested in were coming up, before I then went back to IT duties until the end of the sale.

The first items that I was interested in were five sets of railway postcards, lots 391-5:


These as expected went beyond my possible price range. Next to command attention was lot 403, a book of views of Cambridge:


Again, to no great surprise this rapidly went beyond my price range.

The next items of interest were some antique maps, which I was fully aware I would not be able to afford but enjoyed seeing go under the hammer. This set the stage for the last lot to command my interest, and unlike any of the foregoing it was one that I was determined to get if at all possible. Lot 450, “The Bus We Loved: London’s Affair With the Routemaster”, was not an item that I as someone who runs a London transport themed website could happily countenance going elsewhere. There was a mini bidding war as someone else was also interested, but when I went to £10 that secured the item. For more about the book please visit my review of it that is on my website.



Yesterday was a very demanding day, both physically and mentally. However, everything went fairly smoothly. Given the Stagecoach schemozzle referred to earlier, the travel element of the day was as good as I could have hoped for.



Cricket, Images and Links

A somewhat delayed account of Monday and Tuesday, with plenty of photos.


A few brief commenst and some pictures.


I havce made sure that nothing big has been left unimaged, with my flgiht out to Sweden now only three days distant. Here are a few imaghes from the last couple of days…





Although for various reasons I did not catch much of the action in the second test match betwen England and Pakistan I congratulate England on responding in emphatic style to their defeat in the first match. While I consider the decision by Cook not to enforce the follow-on when looking at a first innings advantage of 391 to be bizarre, at least his team still managed to win. Possibly the most red-faced captain of all time over a decision not to invoke the follow-on was the Hon Freddie Calthorpe who in the final match of the 1929-30 series in the West Indies declined to do so with an advantage of 563 on the grounds that the match was scheduled to played to a finish. Unfortunately for him a combination of the weather and England’s return journey caused the match to be abandoned as a draw anyway. Six years earlier in a county game Calthorpe had suffered a different kind fo embarrassment when his Warwickshire side made 223 in their first innings, bowled out Hampshire for 15, and had them 177-6 after following on. Hampshire then made a spectacular recovery to reach 521 in that second innings, with Walter Livsey who had only reached even double figures three times in the course of the season before then making a century at no 10, and bowled a dispirited Warwickshire out for 158 in the second innings. Back to the present, and in the test match that finished yesterday evening Joe Root had the kind of match which had it been presented as fiction would undoubtedly have been laughed out of the publishers office – 254, 71 not out, four catches in the first Pakistan innings, and when given a bowl late in their second innings he picked up a wicket with his second ball!


I conclude this post with a few non-work related pictures:


The West Norfolk Disability Forum

A brief account of a meeting of the West Norfolk Disability Forum and notice of a visit to Sweden.


Most of this post is devoted to events that took place on Wednesday, but at the end of it I will have a small section looking ahead.


My invite to this event came from NAS West Norfolk Chair Karan, who was invited by councillor Squire. The meeting was to start at 2:30PM, but before then we were assembling at 1:00PM for a tour of Stories of Lynn in order to see what was right and what was wrong about it.


I enjoyed seeing what this establishment had to offer, though I would have been under-impressed had I had to fork out the £5 admission fee because there si simply no way that what they have is worth that price. The main issues noted were that there is not enough seating in the building and that there is a lack of audio options for those who cannot read. Here are some of the pictures that I took at this stage of proceedings…


The four big portraits tell you about themselves (all were born and raised in West Norfolk)


The Pillory was abandoned as a method of punishment in this country about 200 years ago. A radical publisher named Daniel Isaac Eaton was one of the last to be subjected to this form of punishment – the populace delivered their own verdict by providing him with food and wine, and generally turning his spell in the pillory into something of a public triumph.


Now that’s what I call a board game!


The last room we saw is one where the exhbits will change periodically – this year is the 100th anniversary of RAF Marham, so at the moment that is the subject of the exhibits.
Raf cap with cloth badge
RAF hat with cloth badge
The beret to which this metal badge is attached was impossible to image properly.


Next door to Stories of Lynn is the Town Hall, within which the meeting was to take place. We were meeting on the first floor and given my own attitude to lifts and the lack of available lift space I used the stairs. We were very early for the meeting, but refreshments had been set up in the largest of the upstairs rooms, just outside the room in which the meeting would be happening.

The meeting room – visually spectacular, but as we to discover the accoustics were very poor.

During the pre-meeting wait the window panes within the main window that folk had marked to show when they had worked on it were shown to me. Yesterday I showed a single image that I had assembled to putting together all my indvividual images. Today, I present all the images plus a few others I took at the same time…

Town Hall Window Montage
Here is the composite image as a quick reminder…
I assembled a large frame by connecting together these individual images, including one of the whole window, as the single panes were not quite enough to do the job….




And filled the central space with an enlarged image of the whole window.



The meeting began with the election of a chair and deputy chair (the former a councillor, the latter not). As newbies and therefore not qualified to form an opinion Karan and I both declined to vote.

Once council representatives on the forum had been appointed it was the turn of non-council representatives.

Then various matters were raised, including shop signs restricting access, the state of facilities at both the bus and train stations etcetera.

Proceedings drew to a close after just over an hour.


This section is necessary because I am going to Sweden for a fortnight, leaving on Friday. During that period posting will be restricted for obvious reasons. Finally, to finish this post here are some more pictures…


The Last Two Days

Images from the last couple of days at work and a mention of a future plan.


A decision to attend an evening meeting in the fine city of Norwich yesterday somewhat limited my computer access then, hence I am sharing stuff from more than one day.


Here are some images of auction lots taken over the last couple of days…


The first of nine images I took of lot 390


This book warranted six images


The specs of two supersonic aircraft – fans of Matthew Reilly will recognize the top one as the plane that replaces the destroyed Halicarnassus (Boeing 747) at the end of the Five Greatest Warriors.


Another aviation book that warranted multiple images


Colour pics of the two supersonic aeroplanes.


Lot 393 – local interest as it is about one of Norfolk’s most famous families.



These images were required for use on Ebay…



On Wednesday I attended the AGM of the West Norfolk Disability Forum, courtesy of an invite that came from Councillor Squire by way of NAS West Norfolk branch chair Karan McKerrow. I hope to put up a post about this tomorrow but for the moment as an appetiser, here is a montage featuring the extraordinary upstairs window of King’s Lynn  town hall…

Town Hall Window Montage