A Massively Successful Auction

An account of yesterday’s splendidly successful auction.

INTRODUCTION

On Wednesday James and Sons had a small but very important auction featuring gold coins and proof sets. We were anticipating a very considerable success, because we knew that there were bids of sufficient size on every lot that everything would sell, and we also knew that some of the items had a very large number of watchers online (one had no fewer than 17). The rest of this post tells the story of a truly amazing auction.

TUESDAY – FINAL PREPARATIONS

In view of the high value of the gold the only items that were set out on display were as many of the proof sets as I could lay out on one large table. I also made sure that the IT was all fully functional, as the last thing we wanted was for a glitch to affect this auction. I was able to enjoy the NAS West Norfolk Steak Night at The Globe later that evening in the knowledge that all had gone as smoothly as it could have (I restricted myself to a modest two pints of Ringwood Fortyniner in view of the importance of the following day). 

WEDNESDAY – A DAY OF TRIUMPHS

I awoke a few minutes before my alarm was due to go off (not uncommon with me – the alarm is more insurance policy than necessity) and left my flat precisely as intended at 6:45, ensuring that there was no chance of missing the bus. Arriving at the shop, I unlocked, deactivated the alarm, then relocked the door as in view of what was in the shop I did not want customers coming in while I was there on my own. I then began to set up for the day. The auctioneer arrived not very long after me, and I was able to complete the setup, verify that everything was working and take some photographs. Before nine o’clock customers started arriving, and by 9:30 it was standing room only in the shop, as no fewer than 16 potential room bidders were present, in addition to over 60 online bidders and not a few who had put commission bids in in advance of the sale.

P1190889
The proof set display, with lot 135 front centre
P1190886
One of the two significant coins from lot 139…
P1190887
…and the other
P1190888
The setup before anyone else had arrived.
P1190892
Potential room bidders (three pics)

P1190893P1190894

P1190891
Lot 139 on the big screen.

THE AUCTION STARTS

The first five lots were 1974 Krugerrands which were expected to make approximately £800 each and did exactly that. Then came lot 6, the James II Guinea which was one of two items that had been the subject of a query the previous day as a result of which it had extra images above the regular image gallery for such an item. Estimated at £500-750 the interest it had attracted saw the final hammer price reach exactly £1,000.

6
The first three images constitute my regular image gallery for a single coin.

6-a6-b

6-c
One of the questions asked about this coin related to the edge, and to help back up my own comments on the edge of this coin I took two photographs that between showed it in its entirety.

6-d

Lot 7 was a William III Half Guinea, which in relative terms fared even better since with an estimate of £300-500 it actually went for £900!

77-b7-a7-c7-d

Lots 8 to 24 inclusive were half sovereigns, and all sold well, most going for around the £100 mark. Lots 25 to 90 incluisve were…

SOVEREIGNS FROM VICTORIA THROUGH ELIZABETH II

These we knew would sell respectably, because a major and long standing client whose job is to sell gold items had put in commission bids of £180 a time on the whole lot, confirming our auctioneers valuation was on the mark. Most of the sovereigns actually sold for more than that, £190 being a common figure and a few of them going to and in some cases beyond £200. Then came…

LOTS 91-5 – THE HUGE SUCCESSES

The first four of these lots were high value gold proof sets which we were expecting to be on or around the four figure mark. Actually, and barely believable they went for £1,600, £2,000, £2,000 and £1,600 respectively!!

9191-a91-c91-d91-e9292-a92-c92-d92-e9393-a93-b9494-a94-b

Lot 95 was a sovereign in a gold mount with a gold chain and 8 1mm diamonds (in otherwords a very fancy necklace). Estimate at £300-400 it eventually sold for £550.

9595-a

After these it was time for…

THE REGULAR PROOF SETS

Of course after what gone before the proof sets were a little bit “after the Lord Mayor’s show”, but there were still a handful of highlights to come.

LOTS 113 AND 114

These were respectively a Scottish and Welsh proof set (hence the split colouring of the heading) each expected to make £8-12. The Scottish set went for £20 and the Welsh for £18

113113-a113-b114-a114

These were a mere curtain raiser for…

LOT 121

A 1992 proof set featuring an EEC 50p coin the rarity of which turned a £10-15 estimate into a £50 hammer price!

121

The next big success was…

LOT 128

This 1999 proof set featuring a Diana Princess of Wales £5, a bimetallic rugby £2 and Scottish coins from £1 down to 1p had an estimate of £15-20 and ended up going for £32.

128

Then came two successive monster successes with…

LOTS 135 and 136

Lot 135, a 2009 proof set, featuring as it did the highly prized Kew Gardens 50p, the Henry VIII £5, and the Darwin and Burns £2 coins was estimated at £100-120 but ended up going for £220!

135135-a135-b135-c

135-d
A close up of this one was mandatory.
135-e
I also deemed the Darwin £2 worthy of a close-up

135-f

Lot 136 was a 2010 proof set featuring a Restoration of the Monarchy £5 (350th anniversary thereof), A Florence Nightingale £2, a London £1 and a Girl Guiding 50p. Estimated at £20-25 it sold for £100!!

136

Not long later came…

LOT 139 – A BITTERSWEET IMAGER’S TRIUMPH

This London Underground 150th anniversary proof set had been badly misdescribed, with one of the £2 coins mentioned as featuring trains, and the roundel coin not even mentioned, but the imager’s efforts more than compensated for this. Estimated at £25-30 it attracted sufficient interest to push the final price up to £52 (and inter alia out of the imager’s reach, hence the heading of this section).

139
Lot 139 in all it’s glory.
139-c
The ’roundel’ coin which is fairly rare.
139-b
The other London Underground 150th anniversary coin, which is much less rare.

139-a

That was the last of the yearly proof sets, but there were still a few lots to go, and two of them provided noteworthy results.

LOT 148 – A SENEGALESE STUNNER

This 1975 Senegal Triple Crown, solid sterling silver, Euroafrique 150 franc coin, boxed and with a certificate was estimated at £15-20, but a lively bidding battle pushed the final price up to £48.

148148-a148-b148-c

Finally, came…

A STRONG FINISH

Lot 151, the final lot in this small sale,  was an accumulation box containing a few good bits and some ordinary stuff.  Estimated at £40-50 it ended up going for £95.

151

Once the auction setup had been dismantled and the last room bidders had gone it was time for me to attend to other matters. You can view a catalogue for the general collector’s auction we have next Wednesday here.

THURSDAY – PUTTING TOGETHER A PRESS RELEASE ABOUT THIS AUCTION

Yesterday morning I produced a PR piece about the success of this sale, going big on the images as well. I conclude this piece with a link and a screenshot:

GOLD COIN AUCTION GIVES FAKENHAM AUCTIONEER BEST RESULT IN YEARSPRimage

 

 

 

 

 

A Grockle’s Eye View of Cornwall 2: St Germans to St Ives

The second post in my series about my visit to Cornwall, in which I cover the journey from St Germans to St Ives.

INTRODUCTION

Welcome to the second post in my series about my recent vsiit to Cornwall. As mentioned in the opening piece in this series I am breaking my coverage of my day out in St Ives into several posts. This post deals with the journey there (for the record, a day return from St Germans to St Ives costs £10.80), which is very scenic. For a Cornish perspective on St Ives check out this offering from the Cornish Maid.

ST GERMANS TO ST ERTH

The railway element of the journey to St Ives consists of two parts – a journey west along the main line as far as St Erth (penultimate stop on that route), and then a short journey north along a branch line which terminates at St Ives. St Germans to St Erth is a scenic journey in its own right:

Folk waiting flor 0927 to LondonConverted Carriage ISt Germans mapConverted Carriage IIGWR service to LondonGWR service to London IIGWR service to London IIIOld Oak Common locoUpgrade bannerSt Germans stationThe Bodmin and Wenford Railway curves away into the distanceAbove the line to LooeBodmin ParkwayBodmin and Wenford RailwayBodmin and Wenford posterLostwithielParSt AustellRedruthTowerPart of TruroCamborneCamborne II

Camborne III
I was particularly glad to note this tribute to the great Richard Trevithick.

ChurchesHayle

ST ERTH TO ST IVES

Though the route from St Germans to St Erth is scenic by any normal reckoning it is as nothing compared to the branch line from St Erth to St Ives. Although the route lists several intermediate stops the only one still in regular use is Lelant Saltings. I secured a window seat, although it turned out that I was not on the best side of the train and settled down to see what I could capture in the course of this journey.

Sea viewMarshlandMarshland IILelant Saltings

Heron, Lelant Saltings
The stop at Lelant Saltings enabled to me to zoom in on this heron.
River flows into Carbis Bay
The next few pictures feature mhy attempts to capture the beauty of Carbis Bay from a moving train.

Carbis Bay ICarbis Bay IIwatchpoint, Carbis BayPromontory, Carbis BaySt Ives StationWalks

A SNEAK PREVIEW OF THE MAIN FEATURE OF MY NEXT POST

A few minutes after my arrival at St Ives the decision about my main activity while there was settled. It will be the subject of my next post – for the moment here is a clue to whet your appetite:

seal waves a flipper

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.

An A-Z of Me

A personal A-Z, inspired by a post on The Cornish Maid.

INTRODUCTION

This post was inspired by The Cornish Maid’s post “A-Z about Me!!!“. Like the post I have just referenced there will be one entry for each letter…

MY PERSONAL A-Z

A FOR AUTISM

I am autistic myself, and also branch secretary of NAS West Norfolk. This entry is a very appropriate starting point because it was my diagnosis and the role I then had running a support group for Asperger East Anglia that led me to create this blog. 

B IS FOR BOOKS

I have always loved books, and am a very voracious reader. In addition to my own collection I am a regular user of several of Norfolk’s libraries, and yes I do use them to borrow books. 

C IS FOR CRICKET

I have been an enthusiastic follower of cricket for over 3o years (my attempts at playing the game foundered on a chronic lack of talent). The fact that my employers had an auction yesterday and have another on Saturday means that I am off work today, and therefore able to listen both installments of the Women’s T20 double header. Here is the feature image from Saturday’s upcoming auction:

2412-b

D IS FOR DETECTIVE STORIES

This is an extension of my love of books as a whole. I regularly borrow large quantities of detective ficition from thbe libraries. Among my very favourites are Edward Marston’s Railway Detective stories.

E IS FOR EAST RUDHAM

The village in West Norfolk where I began to rebuild my life after mental health issues had nearly destroyed me. I lived there for just over five years and was a regular visitor until my parents recently moved to Cornwall.

F IS FOR FERRY

I have travelled on many ferries in my lifetime, but the one I particularly think of nowadays is the Lynn Ferry which has been running for over 800 years.

Ferry 2

G IS FOR GREECE

I first visited Greece for a family holiday about 35 years ago and have been back mnay times. It remains a favourite holiday location. I have produced a number of posts about my most recent visit.

Tseria

H IS FOR HISTORY

One of the many subjects I enjoy reading about. One of the reasons I enjoy going to Greece so much is the presence of so many historic sites.

I IS FOR IRRELIGIOUS

I have been a staunch atheist for my entire adult life. For those who take the approach that the Northern Ireland census form used to I am a “catholic atheist” – that being the specific religion that I rejected. To paraphrase Richard Dawkins most people are as atheist as me about almost every god who has ever been believed in – I just go one god further than they do.

J IS FOR JOURNEYS

I love travelling, and being a lifelong non-driver am able to make good use of almost all my journeys – if the route is not familiar to me I will be observing the scenery and taking photographs, and if it is it represents reading time.
Major bridge from 37,000 feet up
K IS FOR KERNOW

Kernow is the Cornish name for Cornwall (this is the only entry in my A-Z that overlaps with The Cornish Maid’s), and although unlike the person who inspired this post I do not live there I have been there a number of times over the years and my parents have recently moved to that part of the world. It is a Cornish picture that appears on the reverse of my personal cards:

framed lighthouse

L IS FOR LONDON

I grew up in London, and still visit the place on occasion. Also, I run a London Transport themed website, www.londontu.be. I will be back in London during the latter part of next week, for Marxism 2018 which runs from Thursday to Sunday. 

Crossing the the Thames

M IS FOR MATHEMATICS

Another lifelong interest, and something that I am very good at. Here is a frecnet problem from brilliant.org that took my fancy:

plus-plus

N IS FOR NATURE

Nature has always been very important to me, and I love being out and about in nature with my camera for company. My name is often to be found among those supporting campaigns to protect nature, and as a thoroughgoing internationalist I take pride in having been the first non-Swede to sign the online petition to save Trosa nature.

Dragonfly
A spectacular creature, presumably some form of dragonfly.

O IS FOR OVAL

Because of their shape many cricket grounds have Oval in their name. The two with which I am most familiar are The Oval, in South London not very far from where I grew up, and served by two stations, Oval and Vauxhall; and the Adelaide Oval, which owes its name to a transplanted Surreyite who suggested it because he wanted to be reminded of home.  Of the innings I have seen live at the ground the most memorable at either of these two venues was played by David Gower in 1990. England could do no better than draw the game, which as it happened was enough to give them the series. Gower made 157 in that innings, and by the time he was out the draw had long since been secured.

P IS FOR PHOTOGRAPHY

This is a hobby of mine, and also something I do at work. Here are some recent pictures:

Black Headed Gull III
Three recent bird pictures

Moorhen IIITwo moorhens

840
This was lot 840 at yesterday’s auction – some good tools but the box being solid iron makes for an extremely heavy item.

840-a

2188
Lot 2188 in Saturday’s upcoming auction.

Q IS FOR QUIZ

With my eclectic interests and retentive memory I am pretty good at quizzes (unless they are overloaded with questions about pop music), and generally enjoy taking part.

R IS FOR RAILWAYS

Railways are one of my special interests. I have travelled on railways in many different countries and have also built up a decent collection of railwayana. I may add to my collection on Saturday. 

20502050-a2050-b2050-c2050-d2050-e

 S IS FOR SCOTLAND AND SWEDEN

These are two of my favourite countries to visit, both very scenic. I could find no way to split them so I have decided to honour both places.I have produced a number of posts about both Sweden and Scotland. Here are a couple of pics: through the window 2A view from Strome Castle, Scotland

DSCN9318This river is in Northern Sweden.

T IS FOR T20

Yes – another cricket related entry. T20 (where each side bats for 20 overs) has been a great success since its introductiuon in 2003. However the new 100-balls per side competition is being too clever by half (and consigning the County Championship to the start and end of the season when conditions are least suitable for long form cricket). 

U IS FOR UNIVERSE

I find it fascination reading theories about our universe, its possible origins and its possible place in a wider cosmos. I also find the history of how we moved from considering our planet to be at the centre of a fixed universe to recognising it as pale blue dot (hat tip to Carl Sagan who wrote a book of that title) in the immensity of the cosmos to be fascinating.

V IS FOR VARIETY

One of the things I enjoy about my current job is that there is plenty of variety there. I am firmly in the camp of those who say that variety is the spice of life.

WHY EVOLUTION IS TRUE

Jerry Coyne’s 2009 book with that title remains a firm favourite (along with his more recent Faith versus Fact), and it is also the title of a blog run by Professor Coyne that I follow. 

X IS FOR EXHORT

As I near the end of this post I exhort you to produce your own version – it is time consuming but fun. You have seen my version, and if you followed the opening link you have seen the version that inspired me to take on this challenge – now go and do likewise!

Y IS FOR YARBOROUGH

This is a bit of a cheat – it is my way of mentioning the game of Bridge which is a firm favourite of mine. A yarborough is a hand with no card higher than a nine and 4-3-3-3 distribution, and is named in honour of Lord Yarborough who had all bridge players at his house contribute a guinea to a kitty, while if someone had the misfortune to be dealt the hand that now bears his name they got 1,000 guineas (he was on to a winner – the actual odds against the hand coming up are 1827 to 1). I do not get to play very often but I am a pretty good player of the game.

Z IS FOR ZOOM

A zoom lens can be a real boon for a photographer (my current camera has a zoom capacity of up to 60X) – a little tip from experience is to not stretch the zoom lens right to its limits – leave a bit of space around whatever you are photographing (you can always crop it out during the editing process). This post was inspired by a Cornish blogger, so I end with a Cornish picture.

St Michael's Mount and Flying Gull

 

Greece: Day 1-2 – Getting to Tseria

The beginning of full coverage of my holiday, starting atv the beginning with the journey to Tseria and the rest of that day.

INTRODUCTION

Yes folks, after yesterday’s little offering I am now able to start the story of my Greek holiday in earnest, and my usual logical fashion I am beginning at the beginning.

THE JOURNEY TO TSERIA

The flight to Kalamata (nearest airport to my parent’s house in Tseria) takes off at 5:40AM (the return flight leaves Kalamata at 12:00 Greek time, enabling the same crew to do both flights), which means that for a public transport user who lives in Norfolk the only way to get to the airport is to travel down the night before. I did this, arriving at Gatwick as planned just after 1AM, and making my way via the automatic monorail to the North terminal, where I waited landside until the EasyJet check in desks opened just after 3AM. An uneventful passage through security and I was safely airside and had about 90 minutes to wait for gate information to appear on the screen. I had had a beer landside, and now airside I had a bagel and a coffee while waiting. 

There were equally few dramas boarding the plane. I had an aisle seat, which meant no chance of seeing anything through the windows (they are too small to be of use unless you are in a window seat) and also that I had to get up more often than would have been the case had I been in a window seat.

I had had the forethought to equip myself with plenty of reading matter. We landed at Kalamata fractionally ahead of schedule, a gain that was more than lost to slow baggage handling at that end. My parents collected me in their hire car, a nice sensible Skoda Citigo, very economical on the fuel, and suitably robust for handling rural Greek roads (which are much better than they were when I visited Greece in the early 1980s, but still a fair way from being describable as ‘good’). 

Inspite of a sleepless night I managed to get through the day without napping and went to bed at a sensible time, following a meal at the new taverna that has opened in the village. It was good of its kind and I thoroughly enjoyed it.

PHOTOGRAPHS

Network MapLondon Underground MapBathroom mosaic, Tseriatelephone teapot, TseriaJazz poster, TseriaKardamili Jazz Festival ads, TseriaPoster

Church just below my parents house
This is the first of a number of pictures taken from the balcony outside my parent’s house.

View towards the seaLeptiniView down the mountainsOlive posterbird mosaic photographsMosaic over the stairs

New tower, Tseria
This tower is newly built since I was last in Tseria.

Coloured posterModel TortoiseThe view of Kardamili

Kardamili from above
A distant view of Kardamili and the mouth of the Viros Gorge.
artwork, local church I
There is a lot of fascinating artwork set into the walls of the church just below my parent’s house in Tseria and I captured some of it.

artwork, local church IIartwork, local church IIIartwork, local church IV

Greece – an Aperitif

Introducing what will be a series about my holiday in Greece.

INTRODUCTION

I am just back from a week in Greece, mainly in places without internet connections. I have huge numbers of photos to edit, so to keep things going for the moment I am presenting a selection from across the week, plus the return flight, on which I had a window seat.

THE PHOTOGRAPHS

Lizard I
The first few pictures here are from in and arouns Tseria, where I was staying.

Lizard IICleopatraLizard IIIButterflyButterfly IIHeraldic Double EagleButterfly - folded wingsMule trackButterfly on spiky plant

Map
This map is part of the decor of the shop from which my new Sandals came.

Fish in rockpoolred beetleOrange Butterfly

Me at the gateway to Methoni Castle
My new profile pic – me at the gateway to Methoni Castle.

View at Methoni Castle

The Bourtzi of Methoni
The Bourtzi of Methoni.
The bridge connecting the Bourtzi to the main castle
The bridge linking the main castle and the Bourtzi
The main castle from the Bourtzi
The main castle from the Bourtzi
Heraldic lion, Methoni
A heraldic lion set into the stonework of the outer wall of the castle

Giant green beetle

The Bath of Nestor
The bath of Nestor, Pylos

Yellow butterflyHopping insectNatural Window

House Martin nests
House Martin nests, Agios Nikolaos
Adult House Martin visits one of the nests
An adult House Martin visits one of the nests
Distant view of Karytaina Castle
Karytaina Castle
Waterfall, open-air museum Dimitsana
The next three shots show water power – all taken at the open-air museum of water-power, Dimitsana

Waterfall, DimitsanaWater power, Dimitsana

Karytaina Castle from below I
Two shots of Karytaina Castle from below

Karytaina Castle from below II

Lousios bridges I
The first of four shots of the bridges over the Lousios.

Lousious bridges II

Alfios
The Alfios, the other river guarded by Karytaina

Lousios bridges IIIruins at KarytainaLousios bridges IV

Small castle between Tseria and Kalamata
A tower between Tseria and Kalamata, the last picture taken from ground level to feature in this post.
Major bridge from 37,000 feet up
Even with 37,000 feet of vertical distance between me and it this bridge looked impressive.

Seaside town from the airOverhead shot of a near sea townCoastal land from the airCoastal developmentCoastal Town

Bridge links two landmasses
Another fine bridge (two shots)

bridge closer-upAerial View

Sharing our airspace
This aeroplane was flying at a lesser altitude than the Airbus A320 that I was aboard
Stretch of coastline
A stretch of French coastline.
White cliffs
The approach to Britain – I believe we flew directly over Brighton, if the combination of a large pier and a major cricket ground (Sussex CCC’s HQ if I am correct) is anything to go on.

Autistic Special Interest 1: Public Transport II

The second post in my personal series about #autisticspecialinterests.

INTRODUCTION

Welcome to my second ‘special interests’ post for the month of May. The first, which set the scene can be seen here. The first post dealt exclusively with London, where I grew up. This post looks wider, although it still deals with events from before I was diagnosed. NB – undiagnosed means just that, not diagnosed – it DOES NOT mean “not autistic”.

ST PETERSBURG

This overlaps with the first post, because I visited St Petersburg in 1991. The two week visit I made to that city in 1991 was significant in many ways – it was there that I learned to eat a more varied diet, because I was just mature enough to appreciate that it was a choice between eating what was served or not eating at all and make the best of things. Also, because the family I was staying with were living very close to one of its stations I gained a considerable acquaintanceship withe the St Petersburg Metro, and also experienced the trolleybuses and trams that were a feature of daily life there. 

Other than being horrendously overcrowded the St Petersburg Metro was a significant improvement on the London equivalent – a far more frequent service, and no delays. Also the underground portions were much deeper than in London, with often two colossally long escalators (far longer than any London equivalent) between the platform and the surface. This was my first major experience of public transport anywhere other than London. 

GOING SOLO 1: SCOTLAND 1993

My first solo holiday took place in the summer of 1993, when I travelled to Scotland for two weeks. I travelled all around Scotland in those two weeks. As well as some seriously scenic journeys on mainline railways (I experienced both the lines the head towards Skye among others) I also made the acquaintance of the Glasgow undeground system (a single, circular route). 

This holiday was a splendid experience overall, but a mere curtain raiser for…

A SCANDINAVIAN HOLIDAY

This happened in the following summer., Equipped with a rucksack and a two week rail pass for Norway, Sweden and Finland I started by taking a plane to Gothenburg. From there I travelled north, pausing in Stockholm. From Sundsvall I temporarily abandoned trains to take a boat across to Vaasa in Finland. From Vaasa I headed for Helsinki, and then the longest single journey of the trip, to Narvik, the most northerly railway station in the world. I continued my northerly exploration by bus as far as Tromso, before switching to boat for a journey along the coast to Hammerfest, the northenmost town in Norway. I varied my route back by taking a bus from Hammerfest to Alta (a mistake, this place is the Nordic equivalent of Brandon, only with even less appeal). Back in Narvik I selected a bus to Bodo, Norway’s other northern rail outpost. This decision cost me a  night spent on the sgtatiopon platform at Bodo before I could head south to Oslo. From Oslo I headed east to Stockholm, and my last journey of the holiday (other than the flight home) was from Stockholm to Gothenburg.

Not having previously explored any foreign public transort systems in this kind of detail I was highly impressed. Although there are many ways in which Nordic public transport is a vast improvement on British I note a few things in particular:

  • Comprehensiveness – although the terrain in these countries is much more difficult than anything in Britain pretty much anywhere of any size has some sort of public transport connection.
  • Integration – there is not much duplication between bus and train routes. The buses tend to cover the routes that the trains do not. The only small flaw I noted in that first visit to these countries was that en route from Helsinki to Narvik we had to disembark at Haparanda on the Finnish side of the Finland/ Sweden border to transfer to Boden on the Swedish side for the last leg of the journey to Narvik, and even that was handled efficiently.
  • Reliability – never once in these two weeks, nor in my more recent trip to Sweden, did I encounter a service not running precisely when it was supposed to, and there has never been a two week period in my lifetime when one could be in Britain, travelling by public transoort most days, and get that kind of service.

FUTURE POSTS AND PICTURES

My next post in this series will look at public transport in various cities that I have experience of. Here to end are some public transport themed pictures…

86
Lot 86 in our next auction – see my post about my first week as a commuter on the Lynx njumber 49 re the rarity of such uncut cigarette cards

86-a86-b86-c

110
Lot 110
181
Lot 181

181-a

199
Lot 199 – second behind on lot 86 on my wanted list…
199-a
…not least for this.
200
Lot 200
223
Lot 223
224
Lot 224
278
Lot 278