A Grockle’s Eye View of Cornwall 1: Getting There

The start of a new series – A Grtockle’s Eye View of Cornwall.

INTRODUCTION

Welcome the first post in my series about my recent visit to Cornwall. Before we move on, here is a little bit of etymology for you:

Screenshot 2018-07-22 at 9.41.12 AM

For an insider’s view of Cornwall check out the Cornish Maid blog. In this post, because it is an introduction, and mainly about the journey down, you will only see Cornish photos near the end of it, but there will be several with many more pictures (St Ives is getting at least two posts and maybe more, St Michael’s Mount may well get more than one post and the Cremyll Ferry may figure in more than one post) before I wrap things up with a post about the return journey.

KINGS LYNN TO PADDINGTON

I had booked my tickets in advance, and part of the deal was that I had to be on a specific train for the long haul section between Paddington and Plymouth. My recommended itinerary had me on the 08:44 from King’s Lynn, but my usual prompt preparations on the morning of a major journey saw me at the station in time to catch the 08:12, and figuring that having extra slack to make the connection across London from King’s Cross to Paddington could not hurt I took that train instead.

This service was listed to call only at Royston between Cambridge and London, but at Cambridge stops were added at Letchworth, Hitchin, Stevenage and Finsbury Park, at which point having got the earlier train seemed an even better idea than it had originally. 

From King’s Cross to Paddington was noteworthy only for the fact that in a situation that is practically headline making these days all of London Underground’s lines were working properly at the same time, and I was early at Paddington, and had to wait for information about the platform. 

Cambridge NorthKing's Cross main stationKings Cross St Pancras MCHCKCSP roundelUxbridge trainGreat Portland StreetDistrict line mapCHC mapBaker StreetMail trainEdgware RoadPaddingtonTFL RailTFL Rail logoPaddington canopy roof

PADDINGTON TO PLYMOUTH

I was booked in a seat in a designated quiet coach, a window seat that should have been facing the direction of travel, but because someone had decided to reverse the running order of the train was not. However, the coach was quiet, and although I was facing against the direction of travel I did get some pictures along the way, and this train stuck exactly to its schedule.

Near Old Oak Commondistant view of trainsDepotHanwellPassing traintrackside tower, BerkshirePassing a train, BerkshireOld FactoryStation, BerkshirePassing a stationCountry house, BerksApartment blocksReadingPassing a train IIMaintenance trainUrban sceneChurch tower IChurchTrain at stationstation shotMajor station565BoatsBoats IIBoats IIIBoats IVSmall YachtSmall boatFishing boatsLong bridgeHouse through the trees585Water

PLYMOUTH TO FORT PICKLECOMBE

My train from Plymouth to St Germans was due to call at a number of places en route, and at Devonport it picked up a number of schoolchildren, who were fortunately well behaved, and not too noisy. It arrived at St Germans exactly when it was supposed to as well, making two successive trains that had run to schedule. My parents picked me up at St German and we went by car to their apartment in Fort Picklecombe.

Metal SculptureDevonportTamar Valley line590

The Brunel bridge
Crossing the Tamar

Many boatsArmadalarge boatsA medley of boatsBoats all over the placeGathering of boats

Unusual flower pot
This “flowerpot” can be seen at Saltash station
Bridges
A distant glimpse of the famous bridge. bridge that is used by Saltash station for advertising

HarbourRiverriver with boats

AT FORT PICKLECOMBE

Thursday evening in the vicinity of Fort Picklecombe is fish ‘n’ chips evening, courtesy of the two wonderful girls who run ahoyfishandchips, a mobile chippy. The meal was magnificent – if you are ever in an area being served by Ahoy Fish and Chips do not miss out. 

BreakwaterLighthouseA137sloopdecorative containersLighthouse and boatsBoat and islandOfficers messslipwayemplacementRocks

Fort Picklecombe
A view of the fort from out on the bfreakwater.

Sun on the waterPassenger boatLighthouse and fishing boat

Looking towards The Hoe
I found a location harbourside from which The Hoe is visible (this is only a couple of miles from Plymouth in straight distance).

Mooring ring

Crab I
A crab in the shallow water

Crab IIlooking out to sea

salt deposits, breakwater
This image from the breakwater reveals two things: The concrete had not set before someone walked on it, and that it regularly gets sea water washing over it.

ahoyfishandchipscruise linerCruise liner IIPrinsendam

Ferry and cloud
A rarity – a sky with exactly one cloud in it.

A Successful Day At Fakenham Racecourse

An account of yesterday’s auction at Fakenham Racecourse.

INTRODUCTION

Yesterday James and Sons had an auction at Fakenham Racecourse, the first in 2018 to take place anywhere other than our shop in Fakenham, and the first at that venue with me in sole control of the IT side of things (the latter being a cause of some trepidation). The auctioneer and I had visited the racecourse the Friday before to establish that our IT setup (including the card terminal as part of the IT setup) would work there, and the auction lots and IT stuff were moved down to the racecourse on Tuesday. 

GETTING THERE

I caught the 7:00 bus to Fakenham (the earliest, and my regular one on workdays anyway these days) and on what was already a warm sunny morning enjoyed the walk from Oak Street to the Racecourse (which is located not as its name suggests in Fakenham but just outside the adjoining village of Hempton), arriving at the venue at just before ten past eight. The auctioneer arrived a few minutes later and I was able to accomplish the IT setup before any viewers arrived. We had Croc’s providing catering at the event, and I took the opportunity in a quiet period to fortify myself with a bacon bap. 

Mute Swans
Crossing the Wensum en route to the racecourse I spotted this pair of mute swans enjoying the sun.

Mute Swans II

Mute swans approaching the bridge
This bridge across the Wensum gives Bridge Street, Fakenham its name.

A BRIGHT START

For various reasons (to do with a combination of over-ambitious planning and an important member of staff being absent for a long period of time) this auction had some odd numbering of lots (it started at lot 741, and then there was a 50 lot gap between the end of the first section and the start of the coins at lot 901, then a massive gap after the last coin lot, no 1072 to the start of the Militaria at 1,466, then another major gap from the end of the militaria at lot 1,620 to the start of final segment at lot 1,920, with the last lot of the sale being lot 2,000), but although there was a range of almost 1,300 between the first and last lot number there were only 503 lots in the sale. We originally planned to take a short break at the end of the coin section before starting on the Militaria, but this as you will see changed part way through. 

The first big success of the auction came at lot 747, three gold rings, which had been valued at £70-100 but ended up selling for £150…

747747-a

Then lots 757 and 760, a ladies cigarette case and a ladies powder compact of similar styles, both esitmated at £30-40 went for £65 and £60 respectively, both to the same online bidder.

757
Lot 757 (three images)

757-a757-b

760
Lot 760 (two images

760-a

These however were a mere curtain-raiser for…

LOT 764 – A PHOTOGRAPHER’S TRIUMPH

There were indications that this elegant Mantle Clock, with a case carefully designed to show off its workings was going to do extraordinarily well, but we were all absolutely gobsmacked by what actually happened. The item had gone in with a modest valuation of £10-20, but I having noted the effort to which the makers of this clock had gone to put the workings on display created an image gallery for it which reflected this:

764
The main image, showing the whole clock.
764-a
This metal plaque was obviously of some significance, hence a close-up photograph of that.
764-b
And since the makers had been so determined to make the workings visible I devoted no fewer than four photographs to ensuring that thsi was reflected in my online image gallery.

764-c764-d764-e

The opening bid was £310! Then, a bidding war between four internet bidders who all obviously saw something that eluded those who are not experts on clocks pushed this already barely credible looking price up to an eye-popping £750!!

Incidentally, just for the record, the valuer himself said that it was the photographs that did it for us, hence my title for this subsection. Here are some photographs of this item that I took during the break:

Clock IClock IIClock IIIClock IV

UP TO THE BREAK

After the events described above almost anything else was going to feel a little anticlimactic, but a few items fared well nevertheless. Lot 919, a forged 1791 farthing estimated at £5-10 ended up going for £35.

919919-a919-b

The other effect that the early excitement had was that we were progressing slower than normal, and in the end the auctioneer brought our midauction break forward to lot 1,000. 

AFTER THE BREAK

We finished the coins, ending with lot 1072, which went to me for £4 (it is a small medallion, which I considered to be railwayana by association since it refers to Isambard Kingdom Brunel):

10721072-a1072-b

The Militaria section went pretty well, with most items selling, and two doing very well indeed:

1552
With this lot of badges being sold as one I could not spare the time to provide close-ups of all the badges…
1552-a
…so I nselected a couple of what I considered to be good ones…
1552-b
…the lots had been valued at £100-200, but interest possibly stoked by my choice of close-ups, pushed the final price up to £300.

The other big success in this range was lot 1584, valued at £80-100 and going for £140. 

1584
Please note that the fact that we as auctioneers sometimes handle Nazi memorabilia does not mean that any of us entertain anhy sympathy for Nazi ideology.

1584-a

The books fared poorly, although The Royal Liverpool Golf Club by Guy Farrar which I had given a deliberately cautious estimate of £15-20 fetched £55. 

19311931-a1931-b1931-c1931-d

The auction over, all that was left was the clear up, which was done by 3PM. I had one worrying moment when it seemed that a problem was developing with the internet connection, but fortunately it never got serious.

On Saturday the action shifts to The Maids Head Hotel, Norwich and the focus to cigarette cards. A full caftalogue listing for that auction can be viewed here.

England Teams Flying High in Limited Overs Cricket

A post celebrating recent successes for the England men’s and women’s cricket teams.

INTRODUCTION

The last few weeks have been magnificent for English cricketers of both sexes. Each side has been very dominant through a sequence of games, and each have set a team scoring record during the sequence of games. 

THE WOMEN

The women warmed up with an ODI series against South Africa, losing the first match but winning matches 2 and 3 very comfortably, in each case with their efforts being spearheaded by centuries from Tammy Beaumont. Then they moved into a T20 tri-series featuring South Africa and New Zealand, the latter fresh from three straight 400-plus ODI tallies against Ireland, the last of which featured the first part of a ‘script rejection’ performance by Amelia Kerr – 232 not out with the bat, and then to settle things 5-17 with the ball. No author of a cricket themed novel would dare have a 17 year-old do that in an international match, but it happened in real life.

On Day 1 of the tri-series New Zealand opened proceedings by scoring 217 from their 20 overs against South Africa, which at the time was a new record in that form of the game, and won them the match comfortably. That record lasted until later that same evening when England took on South Africa, and with Beaumont scoring yet another century (getting there in a mere 47 balls) and Katherine Brunt responding to a promotion up the order by running up 42 not out off just 16 balls reached a total of 250-3. This proved way out of SA’s reach. On Saturday, the second set of games in the tri-series, England lost to South Africa but bounced back to beat New Zealand in the other match.

THE MEN

The men started the limited overs segment of their summer by losing to Scotland at The Grange, but then they commenced a five match series against Australia and were absolutely dominant through the first four matches, winning all comfortably and racking up 481-6 in the third match. The fifth match was a very different kettle of fish. Australia were all out for 205, a modest total that featured the most misjudged leave-alone in cricket history (perpetrated by Ashton Agar). England then collapsed to 114-8 and I was getting ready to point out that wins in dead rubbers don’t really count. However, Jos Buttler was still there, and now Adil Rashid provided some sensible support, and the pair put on 81 for the ninth wicket, turning the match into a nail-biter. Jake Ball, the England no 11 only scored 1 not out, but he survived 11 deliveries, while Buttler first completed an astonishing hundred (with a six that on sheer distance should probably have been a nine) and then sealed England’s one-wicket victory in this game and with it a 5-0 whitewash against the old enemy. 

Tim Paine thus became the second Tasmanian born captain with a surname that begins with P to surrender a match in which the opponents had needed 92 with only two wickets left (look up Mohali 2010 for more details). 

Buttler’s innings secured him both the player of the match and player of the series awards. Buttler was 110 not out in a score of 206-9, and the joint second biggest scores were 20 for Alex Hales and Adil Rashid, and he finished the series with 275 runs at a handy 137.50. In the course of this innings he passed 3,000 ODI runs. Unlike most of his previous big innings which have been all about putting opponents to the sword (his 3,000th ODI run came up off only just over 2,500 balls faced in this form of the game) this one involved getting his team out of trouble and probably rates as his finest for precisely that reason. 

MAJOR CONTRIBUTORS

Both the men’s and women’s teams have benefitted from the fact that everyone has contributed somewhere along the line, but each also have had certain players who have been especially outstanding (see Buttler above), and I offer the following composite list of the best:

Moeen Ali: Watching the way the Aussies tackled his off-spin you might have thought they had been put in a time machine and taken back to 1956.

Jonny Bairstow: about the only thing he did wrong all the way through was get out in the game at The Grange when he was putting Scotland to the sword and would have had England firmly in control had he batted a few more overs. None of the Aussie bowlers, even the highly impressive Billy Stanlake, had any idea where to bowl at him.

Tammy Beaumont: the smallest player in physical stature in this list (5’3″ tall) she has been a metaphorical giant in these matches with three centuries from her position at the top of the order.

Katherine Brunt: In the first match she made 72 to give England something to defend. After her 42 not out in the 250-3 T20 game she followed up by picking up 2-18 from her four overs. Ignore talk of imminent retirement – so long as her body remains in one piece she will keep going.

Jos Buttler: The batsman-keeper did all that was asked of him in the first four matches of the series against Australia and when the going got tough in fifth match he got going and carried England to victory.

Alex Hales: started these matches as favourite to miss out once Stokes was available again but played several incredible innings, and I would now say that for all his all-round credentials Stokes has to be considered as far from certain to regain his place.

Adil Rashid: another of the ‘role-reversal’ aspects of this series was that on this occasion it was Aussie batsmen who looked like rabbits in headlights when facing an English leggie. In addition to his success with the ball he played that crucial little innings in the final match.

Jason Roy: the leading run scorer of the series with 304, including a ton which spearheaded the chase-down of 310 in the 4th game.

Anya Shrubsole: reliable as ever with the ball, and when really needed in the game against New Zealand on Saturday she delivered some quick runs.

Sarah Taylor: quite possibly the best wicketkeeper of either sex on the planet at present and she also scored some important runs.

Danielle Wyatt: opening with Beaumont in the 250-3 game she was quite magnificent, and she had other successes through the season.

PHOTOGRAPHS

Time now for some photographs, starting with a cricket themed one from James and Sons’ upcoming cigarette card auction.

 

2489
While not super-famous these cricketers all have some noteworthy achievements: Vallance Jupp achieved the double of 1,000 runs and 100 wickets in each of eight successive seasons, Fred Root once took a seven-for against Australia. Percy Fender once reached a century in 35 minutes. Dodge Whysall batted no 3 for Nottinghamshire for many years. Ernest Tyldesley scored more first class runs for Lancashire than anyone else. Percy Chapman led England to victory in each of his first eight matches as captain. George Gibson Macaulay was a very successful bowler and enough of a batsman to have scored 76 in a test match. Charles Hallows was one of three cricketers to score 1,000 first-class runs within the month of May (half a dozen others reached 1,000 first class runs for the English season before the start of June, but had runs in April in that record). Herbert Strudwick was England’s first-choice keeper for 15 years in spite of regularly batting at no 11. Frank Watson was a good county player, who once made a triple-century.
Dragonfly
A spectacular creature, presumably some form of dragonfly.

Small TortiseshellDucksSmall birdGulls on the Great OuseGulls on the riverbankdrakesGulls on The Great OuseJay

Jay II
I saw this jay yesterday. This species is not threatened, but I use this caption to draw your attention to one that is, the nightingale. There is a petition to protect a threatened habitat for this bird at Lodge Hill please sign and share it.

DrakeDrake and gullGull and churchGullBird mootSmall Bird IIDucks IIPale duckbirds on the Grat Ouse

Greek Wildlife

Some of the creatures I observed in the course of my holiday in Greece.

INTRODUCTION

Welcome to the latest post in my series about my holiday in Greece (12th to 19th May). This one is an almost purely pictorial post showing some of the plant and animal life that I encountered there.

THE FLORA AND FAUNA I CAPTURED

Lizard I
This little green lizard was the only such creature I amanged to capture on camera, but I also saw a larger yellow/brown lizard at Methoni, although it made itself scarce before I could photograph it.

Lizard IICleopatraLizard IIIButterfly (1)Butterfly IIButterfly - folded wingsButterfly on spiky plantFish in rockpoolred beetleOrange ButterflyGiant green beetleYellow butterflyHopping insectHouse Martin nestsAdult House Martin visits one of the nests

Three cats at the noms plate
We had decided that we would put out cat food, but no treats, so the cats who visited were genuinely hungry..

Orange butterflyLizardYellow and green butterflyButterflygreen butterfly

dark butterfly
This picture and the next demonstrate that not all the butterflies in Greece are brightly coloured.

stony butterflylong legged insectbugmulticoloured beetlemulti-coloured beetle IIOrange catOld terracingFish in rockpool IIFishOrange bitterfly IIOrange butterfly IIIOrange Butterfly IVOrange butterfly VOrange butterfly VIGrasshopper IIHouse Martin visits the nests

Mountain snail
I saw this mountain snail during the ascent to Karytaina Castle, on the Friday, after the visit to Dimitsana.
arachnid
I could not identify this one with any confidence, although the shape suggests an arachnid of some sort rather than an insect.
Beetle
The size and shape of tbhis creature and the apparent solidity of its carapace suggested a large beetle, although such creatures do not usually display their wings when on the ground.

During one of the walks I saw a tiny snake which concealed itself very quickly, and I missed many other intended shots, but I think I got a fair selection!

Greece: Kardamili, Stoupa, Agios Nikolaos and Trachila

Continuing my account of my holiday in Greece.

INTRODUCTION

Welcome to the next post in my somewhat spread out series about my holiday in Greece. This post follows on from my post about Nestor’s Palace, in which you can find links to all my previous posts about this holiday. Unlike my previous posts in this series this one covers events from two different days, the Monday and the Thursday. 

MONDAY: KARDAMILI AND TRACHILA

There were a few things to be done in Kardamili, including finding some sandals for me, and we decided havuing finished there to make the journey to Trachila, which is at the end of one of the roads beyond the resort town of Stoupa (the other, the main road, goes up into the mountains to Areopoli and then on into the inner Mani and down to very southern tip of mainland Greece). This was a pretty journey, and Trachila itself is very pleasant. 

Map
This map is part of the decoration of the shop from which my sandals came.

Discvover the spirit of the ManiSouvenir shop displayPharmacy postercertificate at the pharmacyThe seaFish in the seaFish in the sea - close upSeaside settlement

The path to the edge of the sea
This is how I was able to get so close to the sea.

Near the seawall fragments

The sea at Stoupa
The sea at Stoupa
lights, Akrouali
On our way back we stopped at Akrouali’s in Stoupa for lunch – these lights were close to our table.

THURSDAY: STOUPA & AGIOS NIKOLAOS

On Thursday morning my mother was going to Stoupa for a “Stitch ‘n’ Bitch” session at Patriko’s, while I made use of their internet connection. Then we were going to walk along the sea-front to the village of Agios Nikolaos, have a light lunch at an establishment there that my parents knew, and then walk back to Stoupa before heading back to Tseria. This was deliberately a day on which we did not go on any major journeys as major excursions were happening on Wednesday and Friday.

sparrow, Patriko'sgrasshopper on the path to Agios NikolaosGuided walks Agios Nikolaos

Natural Window
A natural window in the rocks, between Stoupa and Agios Nikolaos
Painted stone, Greg's, Agios Nikolaos
A painted stone used as a table decoration at the place where we had lunch.

placemap, Greg'sPlacemap, Greg's II

House Martin nests, Ag Nikolaos
Two shots of house martin nests in Agios Nikolaos

House Martin nests, Ag Nikolaos II

House Martin visits the nests
A shot of a house martin visiting the nest to deliver food to chicks concealed within.
Hill with Frankish fortifications
Not much remains of the 13th century Frankish castle which stood on this flat topped hill.

Hill with Frankish fortifications II

A Couple of Puzzles and Some Butterflies

A couple of easy problems on brilliant.org that have generated considerable controversy, and some butterfly pics of my own.

INTRODUCTION

A couple of this weeks puzzles on brilliant.org have generated considerable controversy, so I am going to share them with you as a prelude to the butterfly pics. Both puzzles are actually very simple, and I will provide solutions and explanations some time on Friday.

PUZZLE 1: DR FRANKENINE

Here is a screenshot of the first puzzle:

Dr Frankenine

PUZZLE TWO: FUEL TANK

Here it is:

Fuel Tank

BUTTERFLIES

These are from Saturday and Monday. In addition the ones I have photographs of I have seen one other species, mainly white but with flame coloured wingtips but not yet been able to photograph it.

Small Tortoiseshell IIISmall Tortoiseshell IIWhite butterflySmall Tortoiseshellgreen and white butterflyveined white butterfly

The First Ducklings of 2018

Pictures of ducklings exploring the Gaywood River.

INTRODUCTION

I saw two broods of ducklings while on my way to a Musical Keys session on Saturday. 

THE PICTURES

I was delighted to see the ducklings, particularly in that location, on the Gaywood River, where they are far enough from the Great Ouse that they should not fall victim to large and aggressive gulls (yes, gulls do target ducklings).

Duck family outingDucklingspale ducklingducklingduck and ducklingFemale mallard with ducklingssix ducklings