Pensthorpe 3: The Pensthorpe Explorer

The final installment in my account of the West Norfolk Autism Group’s trip to Pensthorpe.

Welcome to the final post in my mini-series about the West Norfolk Autism Group‘s visit to Pensthorpe Natural Park (click here and here to visit the other posts in this series).

AN ENJOYABLE AND INFORMATIVE JOURNEY

The journey on the Pensthorpe Explorer was very scenic, and the guide provided excellent commentary. There was stuff about the area’s wildlife and things Pensthorpe do to encourage said wildlife, some local history and an explanation of the significance of the River Wensum which flows through Pensthorpe.

There were a couple of parts of the route that made use of an old railway line (aeons go part of the Midland & Great Northern, colloquially referred to as the Muddle & Go Nowhere – East Anglia was home at one time to a vast number of railway companies, with in addition to this one the five companies who ultimately amalgamated to form the Great Eastern Railway) which added to the interest of the experience.

The Wensum is of special significance because it is a chalk river, of which there only about 200 on the planet (although about 170 of those are right here in the UK, including another significant Norfolk river, The Gaywood). Unfortunately the bunch of clowns who are collectively known as Norfolk County Council are hellbent on building a new road through the Wensum valley which among other things will damage two important bat colonies (we are talking rare species of bat here). Also, as to the notion that building a new road will ease congestion, I give you one letter an two numbers appropriately arranged: M25. There is a campaign group doing their best to prevent this ghastly project from going ahead, and you can view their twitter page and also sign a petition they are running. The biggest problem that Norfolk has is not with its roads, but with the frankly scandalous state of public transport in the county, which causes people to feel compelled to drive, which in turn feeds into the county council’s ‘cars are everything’ agenda. Green Party representation is increasing in Norfolk, which provides grounds for hope that eventually the county council’s make up will change and it will move into the 21st century.

The trip on the Pensthorpe Explorer was a splendid end to a splendid day.

PHOTOGRAPHS

Here are the pictures from this section of the day:

Pensthorpe 2: Up to Lunch

The second of my three part series about the West Norfolk Autism Group#s visit to Pensthorpe Natural Park.

Welcome to the second of my three posts about the West Norfolk Autism Group’s inaugural activity, a visit to Pensthorpe Natural Park (click here to see the first post).

MONET INSPIRED BRIDGE TO MAIN ENTRANCE

I followed the paths onward from the Monet inspired bridge, taking a few detours along the way, until I arrived back near the entrance. I had brought food and water with me, and I consumed them at this point, and finished my book while waiting for the next stage of the day, the ride on the Pensthorpe Explorer.

PHOTOGRAPHS

The same question/challenge that I introduced yesterday’s photo section with applies today…

Pensthorpe 1: Start to Monet Inspired Bridge

Part one of a three part account of the West Norfolk Autism Group’s inaugural activity, a visit to Penshtorpe Natural Park. The photograph section comes with a question/challenge.

This is the first of three posts that I shall be putting up about the West Norfolk Autism Group’s inaugural activity, a visit to Pensthorpe Natural Park.

ABOUT WNAG

The West Norfolk Autism Group was established in an effort to secure more local funding for activities for autistic people and also because a degree of disillusionment with the conduct of the National Autistic Society’s head office. More details about the new group can be found on its website to which I have already linked, and also in this article published by Your Local Paper.

GETTING TO PENSTHORPE

Pensthorpe is located just off the the road from Fakenham to Norwich (the X29, the bus between Fakenham and Norwich could easily include it in their route if they wanted to, and the route of the 36 between Fakenham and Wells could be adjusted to include without massive upheaval) but I did not have to worry about working out how to get there because a coach had been hired, with a pick up point at Gaywood Tesco, within comfortable walking distance of my home in North Lynn. Those using the bus were supposed to be there for 9:30AM yesterday for a 9:45AM departure. Thus at 9AM yesterday morning I set off, with a bag containing food, water and a book and made my way to the appointed place. The ride took about 45 minutes (a law abiding driver cannot do it any quicker even in light traffic, which we benefitted from). A few minutes after arrival we were good to start our exploration. Before lunch we were going to be walking around those parts of the site that can be seen on foot, and then after that some of us were booked on the Pensthorpe Explorer to experience the rest. The rest of this post covers the first part of the exploration I did on foot.

STARTING TO EXPLORE

Once one gets past the entrance, the shop and the courtyard cafe one is confronted by an expanse of water and a range of splendid water birds which set the stage for the wonders to come. I started by heading in the direction of the cranes and flamingoes, and then headed on beyond them, eventually reaching a sign pointing to the Monet inspired bridge (Claude Monet, the great French impressionist painter, had an ornamental bridge in his garden at Giverny, which his painting made famous). The bridge is quite impressive, and it does indeed resemble the structure that inspired it.

PHOTOGRAPHS

I end this with the photographs from the section of the visit up to and including the bridge, and a question/challenge. Should I go back to creating calendars as I used to do? Please comment with answers to this question, if possible fleshed out with details of photos you would like to see featured in said calendar. To view a photo at full size click on it.

A Successful Auction

An account of James and Sons’ most recent auction.

This post is not about the IPL Super Auction which started today and finishes tomorrow, though I intend to write about that either tomorrow or Monday. It is about James and Sons auction on Wednesday, which went very well. I followed proceedings from home by way of www.easyliveauction.com, one of the two online platforms we use (see also www.the-saleroom.com).

PART 1 – CIGARETTE CARDS

A quietish start, with only a few items going over estimate. One of those items was lot 46, on which I was outbid. Another was lot 149, on which I was successful (even at above the top estimate it was still quite cheap). Lot 150 was the last of the Cigarette Card lots, and then it was time for…

PART 2 – MILITARIA

This was expected to be highly successful and it was. Lot 151, a medal group awarded to a ‘desert rat’ and accompanied by lots of relevant documentation sold for £400, helped by some good advance publicity (various people bit on a press release I had sent out, including the Eastern Daily Press who gave it a quarter of a page in their Saturday issue). Lot 160, a steering yoke from a B50 warplane fetched £2,100. Lot 161 then went for £160, four times the upper estimate. Lot 167, also with a top estimate of £40 fetched £150. Lots 192-7 inclusive, display folders full of military photographs (put together by my father) all sold for significantly above the top estimates, lot 194 being the most successful, going for £50 with a top estimate of £20. Lot 201 an 18th/19th century Indian Tulwar Golia sword which had been expected to for low three figures fetched £550. There were a number of other more modest successes along the way.

PART 3 – FABRIC AND OTHER

There were 120 fabric items, and then a few random lots to finish. Although none of these lots reached the heights of the militaria section there were some good sales even so.

POST AUCTION PRESS RELEASE

On Thursday I did a press release about the auction, focussing on the militaria. I will find out in due course whether it gets published by anyone. Here is the composite image of highlighted lots I created for it:

This image features lots 201 (top left, centre and right), 167 (above and below the two centrepiece items), 194 (centre left and bottom right), 266 (bottom left and centre right) and 151 & 161 (centrepiece).

James and Sons’ next auction is on March 16th, and catalogue listings can be viewed here (easyliveauction) and here (saleroom)

PHOTOGRAPHS

I finish with some my non-work photographs:

Long Weekend 8: Berwick Upon Tweed and Home

Wrapping up my account of my long weekend away doing family things, plus a couple of important links.

This post wraps up my somewhat syncopated series about a long weekend away doing family things (14-17 August inclusive), by covering the events of the Tuesday. Before I get into the main body of the post I have a couple of links to share: there is a just giving page up in connection with NAS West Norfolk being the Lynn News Charity of the Year 2021, which you can visit by clicking here. Also PhoebeMD has once again opened her blog up to those who wish to promote their own blogs – please do so.

BERWICK UPON TWEED

There is plenty of interest to see in this border town (it has changed hands between England and Scotland many a time in its history). My time in the town was limited by the fact that I had a train home to catch in order to back in time for an evening commitment in King’s Lynn, something I just managed, although an inopportune delay which had a knock on effect on the rest of the journey made it very tight indeed.

THE JOURNEY HOME

The train route from Berwick to York is very scenic, but once past York it becomes quite ordinary. Overall the journey was not too bad, though I was panicking for some of it due to time constraints. The departure from Berwick takes one over a remarkable bridge which features frequently in the photos that end this post, and Alnmouth, which also serves the adjoining town of Alnwick is remarkably attractive.

PHOTOGRAPHS

I have set the scene above but the main story of this post is told by the pictures that bring it to a conclusion.

A Long Weekend 1: Setting the Scene, Kegworth and St Hardulph’s cave

The first in what will be a series of posts about my long weekend away doing family related things – setting the scene and telling the story of the first day..

I have been away for a few days, mostly without internet connection, doing various family related things. This post is the first of several I shall be doing about the events of those few days (Saturday 14 to Tuesday 17 August inclusive). Before getting into the meat of today’s post I will set out the most noteworthy events of the days in question so that you can orient yourselves.

THE ITINERARY IN BRIEF

I had a fixed return date of the Tuesday as I had an NAS West Norfolk related commitment that evening (I could only have stayed one further night anyway, as I have recently returned to work on a one day per week basis, that day being Thursday). The events between Saturday morning and Tuesday evening were as follows:

  • Saturday morning: travel from King’s Lynn to Kegworth in the east midlands for a barbecue at a cousin’s house.
  • Saturday afternoon: barbecue, followed by a visit to the cave of St Hardulph and a church that claims a connection to that story.
  • Saturday evening/night: Holiday Inn, South Normanton, with a supper at the Brewers Fayre.
  • Sunday morning/ early afternoon: South Wingfield for a thanksgiving service in honour of Ivy Helen Joy Handforth, daughter of a cousin of mine.
  • Sunday afternoon/early evening: travel from South Wingfield to Akeld Manor near Wooler, Northumberland.
  • Monday: Holy Island (Lindisfarne) and Bamburgh (Bebbanburg in Bernard Cornwell’s Uhtred series).
  • Tuesday morning: Brief exploration of Berwick Upon Tweed before catching a train from that town.
  • Tuesday late morning/ afternoon/ early evening: train journey in four parts: Berwick – York, York – Peterborugh, Peterborough – Ely, Ely – King’s Lynn.
  • Tuesday late evening: Steak Night at The Globe on King Street, King’s Lynn

I cover the important bits of Saturday in this post. Sunday may take two posts, Monday definitely will, likewise Tuesday.

KEGWORTH

My sister picked me up for the journey to Kegworth. We were a little late setting out, but arrived there at 1:00PM. Before the barbecue we took Covid-19 tests in preparation for the following day. The barbecue itself was excellent, and there were various relations present who I had met either rarely or in one case never before. We were among the last guests to leave, at which point we headed for…

ST HARDULPH’S CAVE

St Hardulph is generally reckoned to have previously been King Eardwulf of Northumbria. He spent his last years living reclusively in a cave in what is now Derbyshire (it is not far from Repton, which numbers CB Fry and Roald Dahl among its alumni).

There is one clearly sculpted column in the cave that looks very ecclesiastic – it may have originally been formed in the usual manner of cave columns by the meeting of stalactite and stalagmite but that is definitely not the whole story.

The nearby church is also quite impressive. I opted out of taking a look at Repton Prep School, being by that point very tired.

The journey on to to Holiday Inn South Normanton where we were spending Saturday night was reasonably smooth (one minor confusion involving a wrong exit from a roundabout, but that did not cost us much time). The rooms at the Holiday Inn were fine, and the supper at the Brewers Fayre was of acceptable quality.

PHOTOGRAPHS

My usual sign off…

Surrey In Control

A look at Surrey v Gloucestershire, a mathematical teaser, an article and some photographs.

Although I am giving some details from a cricket match and have used that as my title this is not exclusively a cricket article. I also wish to take the opportunity to welcome any new readers who may come to the site as a result of an article about me in the Lynn News, a screenshot of which is the feature image of this post. Also, I am going off on holiday later today, to northern Scotland (I will be travelling on an overnight train for some of the journey), and posting may be limited for the next eight days for that reason.

SURREY V GLOUCESTERSHIRE

This match has seen some dramatic swings in the just over four sessions it has been going for. At 105-1 Surrey looked in control, at 183-5 the pendulum had swung towards Gloucestershire, and by the close yesterday at 285-5 it was evenly poised. Hashim Amla, the former South African international, had a ton to his name by the close and Jamie Overton at n07 reached 50 off the final ball of the day. Overton fell to the first ball of the morning, which brought Sean Abbott to the crease. Gloucestershire then made a very odd call, seeking to keep Amla off strike to attack Abbott who is a decent lower order batter and had been sent in ahead of someone with 10,000 FC career runs to his name. This backfired horribly, Abbott making 40 out of a stand of 61. His dismissal at 346 brought Rikki Clarke (he of the 10,000 FC runs) to the crease, and at the moment he and Amla are still together. The score is now 385-7, with Amla closing in on 150. To come are the two specialist spinners, Virdi and Moriarty. Gloucestershire have been excellent thus far this season, but it is hard to see any way for them to win this game from here.

A MATHEMATICAL TEASER

I regularly feature problems I have encountered on the website http://www.brilliant.org here, sometimes adapated, and I do so again today:

A small additional question: can you identify the four mathematicians after whom Carl, Leonhard, Emmy and Sophie are named (answers to both parts of this question in my next post).

PHOTOGRAPHS

I always include photographs in my blog posts, and I have some for you now:

England Potential Bowlers

A look at potential bowling options for England, a couple of links, a mathematical puzzle and some photographs.

Welcome to this post which features a few bonus features. The weather has ensured that developments in the County Championship do not warrant a post today, so I am looking at possible bowling options for England.

ENGLAND BOWLING PICKS

I am going to work through the options starting with out and out speedsters and ending with four players, two of them very much future rather than present prospects, who would not be picked purely for their bowling but might be used a few overs here and there.

The are four out and out fast bowlers who the selectors might well pick: Jofra Archer, Brydon Carse, Olly Stone and Mark Wood. Three of these have already played test cricket, while Carse has been making waves over the last couple of years. Personally given his injury history and his value in limited overs cricket I would be chary of picking Wood for test matches. Archer and Stone could both easily play, and Carse is an extra option. On home tracks I do not see more than one bowler from this bracket being warranted, but some overseas tracks may well warrant two or more out and out speedsters (Perth and Johannesburg spring to mind).

Right arm medium-fast/ fast-medium: There are many English bowlers in this bracket with excellent FC records, but to me six have definite England claims. The two veterans Anderson and Broad will probably rotate, though there may be situation in which both get selected. Oliver Edward Robinson and Craig Overton are both having storming seasons, have superb career records and would seem to be in a head to head for the no8 slot. With Stokes currently injured it is quite likely that an all rounder will be selected to bat at no7, and the two main candidates for that role in this bracket are Chris Woakes and Ryan Higgins. Woakes if definitely fit would be the first choice, especially with the first test taking place at his northwest London fiefdom, aka Lord’s.

Left arm medium to fast-medium: Sam Curran is the obvious bowler of this type for England to turn to, and could possibly bat as high as seven, though eight seems more realistic for him at present. George Garton is another promising talent in this bracket, and Sussex have him batting at no7 at the moment.

Spinners: Jack Leach is the man in possession, and it is wildly unlikely that a home pitch will warrant the selection of two specialist spinners. Matt Parkinson (leg spin), Jack Carson and Amar Virdi (both off spin) have all had big performances this season, and given the slim pickings England off spinners have generally had in Australia Parkinson is probably the current no2. Finally, there remains the possibility of offering Sophie Ecclestone who has an extraordinary record in women’s internationals her opportunity to perform alongside the men.

Batters who bowl: Obviously Stokes (LHB, RF) would if fit be preeminent in this category, but he is currently injured. Matt Critchley of Derbyshire (RHB, LS) is having a superb season with the bat and it is quite possible that England would select him and give him a few overs here and there in addition to using his batting. A couple of youngsters who will be on the radar in the near future are Lewis Goldsworthy of Somerset (RHB, SLA) and Luke Hollman of Middlesex (RHB, LS). Goldsworthy hasn’t yet bowled in FC cricket, but has scored 39, 41 not out and 24 in his three innings, and the last two were knocks played under considerable pressure on pitches that were not straightforward.

Myself given that the next test match is at Lord’s I would be going with Woakes and Oliver Edward Robinson at seven and eight, with commiserations to Craig Overton. My team would look something like: Sibley, Burns, Crawley, *Root, Pope, +Foakes, Woakes, OE Robinson, Stone, Leach, Anderson. Archer, Carse or Wood could take Stone’s place and of course Broad could play ahead of Anderson depending on form or fitness.

A COUPLE OF LINKS

The Lynn News are running a poll for who should be their Charity of the Year, and NAS West Norfolk, of which I am branch secretary, are among the nominees. Please read the article and vote for us by clicking here.

Phoebe has one again opened up her blog for people to promote their own blogs, and I urge you to visit and check out some of the blogs advertising themselves there. Please click here to do so.

A MATHEMATICAL PUZZLE

This is a fun problem from brilliant.org:

PHOTOGRAPHS

Leaden sky and persistent rain are not the best conditions for photography, but I do have some pictures to share with you:

Five To Follow In The 2021 English Cricket Season

A look at five players to follow for the upcoming season, with mentions for a few others as well, and of course some photographs.

With various pre-season friendlies in full swing around the country I look at some of the youngsters who I hope will feature prominently in the season to come. The five I focus on are as it happens an opening batter, two spin bowling all rounders and two specialist spinners. I then mention a few others who were near misses for various reasons. I also have some photographs to share, a regular feature of this blog, and I take this opportunity of welcoming new followers – my thanks to you all for deciding to follow me on this blog.

FIVE TO FOLLOW FOR THE SEASON

  1. Tom Lammonby – Somerset, left handed opening batter, occasional left arm medium-fast bowler. Six first class matches, 459 runs at 51.00 including three centuries, total career bowling figures 2-38. The young opener has made a superb start to his first class career, and England’s current top order looks a trifle shaky at present, with Rory Burns probably the most vulnerable of the top three. In view of his paucity of appearances to date and the fact that England have an away series in Australia this winter, which would be a tough assignment to give a young opener as an introduction to international cricket it is more likely that a good full season in 2021 to prove that his fine start is not a freak would lead to elevation for the 2022 home season than that he will break into international cricket this season, but I will very surprised if he does not grace the test arena in the not too distant future.
  2. Luke Hollman – Middlesex, left handed batter, leg spin bowler. So far all seven of his first team appearances have been in T20s, and he has scored 139 runs at 34.75, and with a strike rate of 139.00 and taking nine wickets at 18.11 with an economy rate of 6.79. I hope that he will feature in some longer form cricket this season as well as continuing his development in limited overs cricket. England are short of good spin bowling options, and a spinner who can bat would be especially useful. Even if he ends up specializing in limited overs cricket Adil Rashid cannot go on for ever, and there are few obvious replacements.
  3. Lewis Goldsworthy – Somerset, left arm orthodox spin bowler, right handed batter. A bowling all rounder who enjoyed some success in the last under 19 cricket world cup, the youngster’s senior cricket has thus far been limited to three T20s, in which he has scored 38 not out off 29 balls in the only innings he played and taken five wickets at 17.20 each with an economy rate of 7.81. I hope that with Leach likely to be with England for most of the season he will get the chance to play a whole season of first team cricket in all formats.
  4. Liam Patterson-White – Nottinghamshire, left arm orthodox spinner, left handed batter. The youngster has played five first class matches, capturing 20 wickets at 21.00, including a best of 5-73 and scoring 91 runs at 15.16, including a best score of 58 not out. A full season of first team cricket would go some way to showing whether those good early figures are a true representation of his abilities or not. The fact the he can handle a bat may well count in his favour if he keeps taking wickets.
  5. Daniel Moriarty – Surrey, left arm orthodox spin, left handed batter. Just two matches for the Reigate born youngster. His two first class appearances to date have yielded 17 wickets at 20.11, while his 13 T20s hav yielded him 17 wickets at 18.91 with an economy rate of 6.91. Again, this is a case of waiting to see what he can do over the course of a whole season.

OTHER PROSPECTS

I concentrated for my five to follow on newcomers and on players who either bowl spin or open the batting. In this section I mention briefly an opener who has played for England before and seems to be coming back to his best after a couple of years in the wilderness, two young seamers whose upward progress is limited by England’s riches in that department and another young spinner who would only enter the reckoning if the England selectors were prepared to seriously radical.

  1. Haseeb Hameed – Nottinghamshire, right handed opening batter. A brilliant start to his test career (averaging 43 after three matches) before an injury forced him out of the side. There followed two lean seasons for Lancashire, and then a move to Nottinghamshire. Last year at his new county things picked up for him, though his career FC average remains a modest 31. Nevertheless, the fact that he has a proven test match temperament and some success at that level means that another good season this year could well get him back in the reckoning.
  2. Ben Coad – Yorkshire, right arm fast medium bowler. 38 first class matches, 157 wickets at 19.93. The trouble is that with the veterans Broad and Anderson, three genuine speedsters in Archer, Stone and Wood, the all round talents of Chris Woakes and the x-factor brilliance of Ben Stokes there are not many vacancies for seam bowlers even if they have great records.
  3. Oliver Edward Robinson – Sussex, right arm fast medium bowler, useful lower order right handed batter. 58 first class matches, 250 wickets at 21.78, batting average 20.84 with one century and five fifties. Again, a victim of England’s strength in the seam bowling department, but he is possibly good enough with the bat to be at eight with either two speedsters and Leach or one speedster, Leach and one of Anderson or Broad rounding out the order. He would probably do a fine job for England, as he has for Sussex.
  4. Sophie Ecclestone – left arm orthodox spin bowler. In all formats of women’s international cricket she has 106 wickets for 2057 runs, an average of 19.41 per wicket, and she is still only 21 years old. Given this extraordinary record and England men’s dearth of spin options at present there are those of us would like to see her given the opportunity to show what she can do in the men’s game.

Please feel free to use the comments to mention other players who are on your personal radar or to take issue with my own suggestions.

PHOTOGRAPHS

My usual sign off, starting with the lighting up of the Corn Exchange yesterday evening (they also lit up the town hall in the same pink and purple)…

April 2

An autistic perspective on April the Second, with some important links.

This post is mainly geared to sharing, since I have made some good connections today, but I am also going to say a bit about today and what it should really be about.

APRIL THE SECOND

Today is offically dubbed ‘World Autism Awareness Day’, a designation that for reasons I explained two days ago I find difficult to accept. I will be in town for the turning on of special lights tonight, but they will be in the colours of the National Autistic Society, and as branch secretary of NAS West Norfolk I can fully accept that – had the lights going on been blue I would have refused to have anything to do with the event as a matter of principle.

Autistic people should be accepted for who they are. Regrets about who/what they are not have no place in acceptable discourse about autism, neither should attempts to change important parts of who we are. If an autistic person stims, let them do so. If an autistic person has special interests allow them to pursue those interests, do not try to wean them away from those interests.

The narrative has to move forward – at barest minimum Autism Acceptance is mandatory, and as I have said before Autistic Pride is not inappropriate either. Take note of the ‘spectrum infinity’ device that heads this blog, and of the different version I use for my equivalent of business cards.

SOME SHARES FROM TODAY

I start this section with a thank you to Phoebe MD, who has once again opened up her blog for others to promote their own blogs – do take the opportunity thus offered by clicking here.

My own interaction with the above blog has already brought to my attention a lovely post which is part of my reason for creating this post:

Yuvi MK, who runs the artwarlock blog, has produced a post in which she displays World Autism Awareness Day Doodle Cards, which you can read by clicking here – and I urge you to do so.

My other autism related share for today comes from the wonderful neurodivergent rebel, who should need no introduction to readers of this blog. She takes the subject of Autism Awareness Month head on and explains just why autistic people are so averse to ‘lighting up blue’. Please read the piece by clicking here.

Finally for this section, I am focussing on one of my own special interests: cricket. This time last year, with the first coronavirus lock down in full force and no knowing when there would next be live cricket is creating a series of ‘all time XIs‘ posts, which started with one for each of the 18 first class counties. On April 2 last year my subject was Kent – click here to read in full. In retrospect I would make one change to my chosen XI – Underwood in for Blythe, because Underwood’s bowling method would lend extra variety to the attack – Blythe, like Woolley was a very orthodox left arm spinner.

PHOTOGRAPHS

My usual sign off…