Petition: Don’t sell off NHS Professionals

An important petition about the NHS – please sign and share.

Don’t sell off NHS Professionals

This comes courtesy of the campaign group weownit.org – click the screenshot below to sign and share this very important petition:

Petition

The 2018 Wall Calendar

Seeking reader participation in the selection process for the 2018 wall calendar.

INTRODUCTION

When I began covering my holiday in Scotland I brought up the subject of my plans for a 2018 photographic wall calendar, which will be my third such. This post now takes the story forward, and seeks to bring my followers in on the selection process.

THE CANDIDATES

Some of these pictures were nominated by Oglach (“Oglach’s Selections“), a couple by my aunt Celia, and the rest are others that I consider especially worth sharing. Most of the selections are Scottish for obvious reasons.

MY AUNT’S PICKS

My aunt Celia nominated two from the return journey from Scotland:

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MY ADDITIONAL SCOTTISH SELECTIONS

These are the Scottish pictures that I have selected as possibles on my own:

through the windowstepped waterfall (1)ruined castle11607150915011433Skye and Wester Ross 2The Iron Road to the Isles1426

Steamer5
One of these steamer pictures will definitely feature.

Steamer4Murchison Monument2

Farewell to the Jacobite
I may assemble a composite image of several “Jacobite ” pictures.

Loco at rear of trainlock gates

GV4
At least one of these Glenfinnan Viaduct pictures will feature.

GV3GV2GV1P1010044Jacobite train long viewJacobite Loco 3Jacobie Loco3Jacobite Loco2Jacobite LocoJacobiteIIThe JacobiteFront of LocoBeetleblack highland cowstepped waterfall

single span bridge 2
Bridges on Skye will definitely feature somewhere.

The Land of the Mountain and the Floodstone bridge 2stone bridgeSingle span bridgeBridge complex 1Stone bridgeSkye Bridge from aboveKyle of Lochalsh from above

Balmacara House to Craggan Cottage2
This is the stretch of Loch Alsh on which Ferry Cottage, where we stayed, sits.

Double Framed Lighthouse

OGLACH’S SELECTIONS

I have of course shown these before, but for completeness sake here they are again:

Valleytwo cascades800793784768756755748812804

NON-SCOTTISH PICKS

These are the pictures from outside Scotland that I consider worth a second look.

P1020447P1020432P1020327P1020007Flying gullP1020094Renewable energy 7Renewable energy 6Renewable energy 5Renewable Emergy4renewable energyrenewable energy 2Cliff formation from Old Hunstanton BeachRNLI Hovercraft1Flying bird 1Flying bird 2

NOMINATIONS

You can nominate by commenting on this post identifying the pictures by name. If you right-click on a picture and select “open image in new tab” from the drop-down menu that appears you can see its name. If you have a blog of your own you can nominate by creating a post featuring your choices and putting a link in the comments (this will earn you a reblog as well by the way). Those whose pictures make the cut will be acknowledged on the page(s) that they get in the calendar.

Back to the Present: James and Sons June Auction

An account of James and Sons’ June auction.

INTRODUCTION

Having completed my series of posts about Scotland, I am now returning to the present with an account of James and Sons’ June Auction, which happened earlier this week.

THE AUCTION SCHEDULE

To set the scene for the rest of this post, the auction was arranged to run in two parts. Lots 1-600 went under the hammer at our own premises in central Fakenham on Monday June 26th, while lots 701-1300 were auctioned at Fakenham Racecourse on Wednesday June 28th. The Tuesday was set aside for getting things set up down at the racecourse, since experience had taught us that combining this with a day of auctioning at the shop was not a goer. 

MONDAY 26TH – NORWICH STREET

The set up was accomplished fairly straightforwardly, and the sound and video checks went swiftly and easily. The auction got under way with 100 cigarette card lots, then 100 postcard lots, then some general ephemera, some numismatic and philatelic covers and ending with the stamps. The day started quietly, with the cigarette cards attracting very little interest and the postcards not much. It was the numismatic and philatelic covers that provided the only consistent sales of the day.  

TUESDAY 27TH – SETUP DAY

We had loaded the first van load of stuff for the racecourse at the end of the previous week, so I headed straight from the bus to the racecourse to help unload that. This done and some stuff unloaded from the boss’s car it was back to the shop to load up the van for the second time. This van load then went to the racecourse without me, as I would be of more use working at the shop than down there. Then one of my colleagues was left alone at the racecourse and so I walked back down there to minimise the period for which this situation continued (the person who could drive the van was going to be at the shop for half an hour at least, and I could walk it in much less time than that). Finally, after a few final things had been brought down to the racecourse I got a lift back to the shop. At the end of the day I locked the shop, handed my key to a colleague who would need it on the morrow and headed home. Here are some pictures from the setup.

wagtail
I was at the racecourse before my colleague arrived with a key, and this wagtail caught my eye while I was waiting.

turtleshellturtleshell2Shell3turtleshell4turtleshell5whiskiescoindisplay

Toys1
We had a lot of toys in this auction.

Toys2Coins2Proof setsdisplay case1052Coins3Toys4Cig CardsToys6Toys8Toys3

WEDNESDAY JUNE 28TH –
THE RACECOURSE

This was a very tiring day. It was raining heavily most of the time, including for the entire duration of the walk from Fakenham town centre to the racecourse in the morning. 

We had been assured by the racecourse that they now had working wifi, but this proved to be an optimistic assessment and we had to use a wired connection, which dropped out four times in the course of the day (fortunately never for very long). 

Pre-auction
This was the scene immediately after I had carried out audio and video checks, as viewed from my seat.

The early lots passed quietly, but then with lot 633 the first tranch of toy lots went under the hammer, and the internet bidders got busy, with three figure prices the rule rather than the exception. The ‘Manod’ steam toys later on also sold spectacularly well. After a few books and related stuff went under the hammer it was time for a few jewellery lots, which also sold well. Then it was into the coins, which started with some proof sets which fetched remarkable prices. 

LOT 933: THE BEST LAID PLANS OF
MICE AND MEN GANG AFT AGLEY

When you see the image gallery for this lot you will realise why I had had my sights on it to the exclusion of all else in this auction:

933933-a933-b933-c933-d

Unfortunately from a personal point of view I had competition, and although I bid up to £40, when that final bid of mine was topped I conceded defeat. 

LOT 935: ROMAN STYLE COINS

Although these were not the genuine article I decided that at next to nothing they were worth securing as a tiny consolation for the disappointment of a few moments earlier.

935
The main image…
935-a
…which is a combination of this…
935-b
…and this
935 - obverse
The first of two photos taken this morning.

935 - reverse

The coins continued to sell well. After the coins it was time for some militaria. Lot 1051 fetched a good price, and then came lot 1052 fetching the only four figure price of the auction. 

1052
The whole lot (main image)
1052-a
Both faces of the medal, assembled from the close-ups below.

1052-b1052-c

1052-d
Three images which combined as here show the rim in full detail (important as it is generally the rim that people look at when checking the authenticity of a medal – and this is definitely NOT done with a modern engraving machine – I have seen enough such to know whereof I write!)

1052-e1052-f1052-g

1052 composite
This combination of the whole lot and all the close ups was the feature image in an alert sent out to militaria buyers (click the link below to view it in full).

JAMES AUCTION ALERT (Militaria)

display case
In the display case at the venue.
1052
Focussing solely on lot 1052.

The auction finished with 100 miscellaneous lots, which went fairly quietly, although even these attracted some interest. After Monday we had needed Wednesday to be a successful day, and it was. 

For us there was still the clearing up to be done, but even that was accomplished sufficiently swiftly that I was able to get the 16:37 bus home. This departed late, but for an acceptable reason – the driver was resolving a situation created by another driver who was guilty of dereliction of duty – he had arrived from Wells, let off passengers, switched his destination to “Sorry Not In Service” and had then dashed off without picking up passengers. Stagecoach track their buses, and identified that this one had been parked up just outside Fakenham, and the rogue driver who by his selfishness had let down about 10 passengers was ordered back into service. This same thing had happened the previous day according to the waiting passengers except that he had got away with it, the passengers getting the later bus. 

 

 

 

Scotland – The Last Post: Inverness to Peterborough

The final post in the series about my holiday in scenic Scotland.

INTRODUCTION

Welcome to this concluding post in my series about a Scottish holiday. In this post we deal with the last stages of my journey home. 

AVIEMORE AND THE CAIRNGORMS

Aviemore is the first station the train calls at on its way out of Inverness towards Edinburgh, and also marks one edge of The Cairngorms national park. 

152015211522152315241527152815291530153115321534153615371538153915401541154215431544Cairngorms sign

DALWHINNIE TO BLAIR ATHOLL

The next stage of the route takes us to Blair Atholl.

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BLAIR ATHOLL TO MARKINCH

Markinch is situated two miles from Glenrothes town centre, a fact that is advertised on the platforms. 

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MARKINCH TO EDINBURGH

The train arrived at Edinburgh so promptly that had it been allowed by my ticket I would have had time to get the 13:30 to London instead of the 14:00. As it was I was glad to be able to take things a bit easy at this interchange, the corresponding one on my journey up having been a little close for comfort.

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THE CLOSING STAGES

I located my seat on the express train that would carry me to Peterborough and it was in a designated quiet coach. Unfortunately there was a large family who had been assigned seats in that coach and who did not really understand quietness, so it was not as relaxing a segment of the journey as it should have been. A minor frustration at Peterborough when I stepped out of the station exit just as an X1 was heading off towards King’s Lynn. This half-hour delay notwithstanding I got home dead on 8PM. 

161716181619Castle16211622162416251626

 

 

Scotland – Homeward Bound: Lochluichart to Inverness

Continuing the account of the homeward journey, taking the story up to Inverness (Inbhir Nis).

INTRODUCTION

Welcome to the next post in my series about my holiday in Scotland. This post continues the story of the journey home picking up where it’s predecessor left off at Lochluichart.

LOCHLUICHART TO INVERNESS

This part of the journey is not as impressive as its predecessor, but I did still get some good pictures.

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Scotland – Homeward Bound 1: Ferry Cottage to Lochluichart

Starting the account of my homeward journey. This post covers the first part of the Kyle of Lochalsh to Inverness rail route.

INTRODUCTION

Welcome to the latest post in my series about my Scottish holiday. This post starts the account of the homeward journey. We are looking at Saturday June 3rd for the record.

WHY LOCHLUICHART?

Those who recall my post Getting There, will remember that on the outbound journey I had to travel on a replacement bus rather than the railway line for the Inverness to Kyle of Lochalsh leg of the journey. For the return journey I was on the train, and the railway route is far more scenic than the road route. Thus, this section of the journey warrants more than one post. As for the actual selection of a break off point, Lochluichart stuck in my mind both because of its name and because a large party of students (school or FE I think) who had clearly been on a field trip in the region boarded the train at that station. 

DEPARTURE

I had set the alarm on my phone, but being me actually did not need it, waking up before it was due to go off. Transferring sandwiches and bottle of cooled tap water from the fridge to the bag I intended to keep with me at all times accomplished, my parents were ready to give me a lift down to the station at Kyle of Lochalsh, and we arrived there nice and early. I had been assigned an aisle seat, but the train not being over full (this was a  train leaving at 6:11 on a Saturday morning after all) I moved to a vacant window seat later in the journey. As far as Plockton we were of course in an area that I had seen a lot of over the previous week, but the view from the train gave a different perspective.

1361136213631364136513661367136813691370137113721373137413751376Plockton

PLOCKTON TO STROMEFERRY

As one of the photos in my post about Plockton shows, Stromeferry was the original western terminus of the line when it opened in 1870, the Kyle end of the line only opening in 1897. The segment of line between Plockton and Stromeferry is very scenic indeed:

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STROMEFERRY TO STRATHCARRON

From Stromeferry the line heads to Strathcarron, the largest settlement in the vicinity of Loch Carron.

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STRATHCARRON TO ACHNASHEEN

After Strathcarron, through which we passed on the road route to Applecross – see these posts:

the railway route diverges from anything previously covered as it head rounds to Achnasheen.

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1470
Spot on for a floral display at a train station!

1471

ACHNASHEEN TO LOCHLUICHART

As we approached Lochluichart I was amazed to see the platform of this tiny station in the middle of nowhere looking crowded. It turned out that it was the student group referred to in the preamble to this post, and the rest of the journey to Inverness was rather less quiet than hitherto!

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Scotland: Craft Ale From The Isle Of Skye

INTRODUCTION

Welcome to another installment in the series about my Scottish holiday. This post deals with one particular aspect of the whole week. 

THE ISLE OF SKYE BREWERY PRODUCTS

My first encounter with the products of this local brewery which specialises in  craft ales was on the Saturday, at Hector’s Bothy. I also sampled some of their product at lunch on the Isle of Skye on the Tuesday, and a selection box of four bottles from Kyle of Lochalsh Co-op enabled my to broaden the range of my sampling. All these ales have a strength of between 4 and 4.5%. Here now are my findings about each the ales I drank:

  1. Skye Blaven (blue label on bottle): a perfectly fine craft ale, albeit the least impressive of this particular selection.
  2. Skye Red – a rich, full flavoured drink. The fact that I rated this one third of the four is credit to the top two, not in any way discredit to this one.
  3. Skye Gold – a heavily hopped ale which also features a highly unusual ingredient – porridge oats. This is a delicious drink, and it would require something special to keep this one out of the top spot, but fortunately for me this brewery has something else that is not merely special but absolutely unique…
  4. Skye Black – a unique craft ale, because it contains oatmeal. The result of the combination of the oatmeal with malted barley, hops, yeast and water is a truly remarkable drink. Imagine the finest stout you have ever encountered and then ramp the quality up from that and you get somewhere close to just how good this drink is.

595

SG1
At some stage in this series I will be producing a post about the craft ales produced by the Skye brewery.