An Auction Deferred

An account of the rescheduled James and Sons auction which happened yesterday.


Followers of this blog will be aware that the second James and Sons August auction had to be postponed. Yesterday, at James and Sons own premises, 5 Norwich Street, Fakenham NR21 9AF was the appointed time and place for the rescheduled auction. We could not display all the stock in the limited space of our shop, so only small items made it downstairs. What follows is in account of my day and of the auction.


Some preliminary testing was done on Thursday to help ensure that the auction ran properly. On the Friday I caught the first bus of the morning into Fakenham. I was thus at the shop at about 7:10am, and after making a cup of coffee, getting my computer switched on and checking my emails I had a little time to spare before anyone else would be arriving, so I photographed some maps that will feature in the first of our end of September auctions. At 7:45AM I headed back downstairs, switched the downstairs lights on to acknowledge my presence to the world and was ready for action. Here are some photos from this period…

bus map
This route map can be seen at the bus stands on Oak Street, Fakenham


From here until the picture of the two computers are pictures relating to auction layout and setup


Beatrix Potter coins
The light was wrong for capturing these Beatrix Potter coins – the sun was shining directly on them.

Hats 1Hats 2

IT setup
The IT setup – the silvery computer is the master machine,, and is open on the operator screen, with my notepad, pen, catalogue and ersatz coaster (formerly the back cover of a notepad) in front of it, along with my bidding paddle. Note also the camera attached to to the other machine and positioned to focus on the auctioneer, and the brand spanking new mic in the middle.
The maps – this is lot 538, and although I only got up to lot 545 there are maps from this series up to lot 600, and then a few more will feature in the third and final auction of the end of September series, with lot numbers in the 1500s. I will be imaging the rest on Tuesday.



Because of the circumstances of the auction there was a button I had to press called ‘repush bidders live’ when preparing for the start of the auction. Additionally, the auctioneer had decided to start at lot 921 instead of the official lot 924, which meant that I had to manually re-offer those first three lots before the system got back in sequence. A reset request from atgmedia also contributed to a slowish start. However, once this was all dealt with the auction proceeded smoothly.


The militaria fared well, the antiques and bygones far better than I had expected, while the records and books were predictably quiet. Then we got into the ephmera, for which section I had two plans, as follows:

  1. If lot 1415 was available at a price within my means I would get that and my interest as a potential buyer would terminate.
  2. If plan 1 failed then I would try my luck with lots 1422 and 1428, with a fair degree of confidence of getting them.

    Lot 1422 (four images)


    Lot 1428

    In the event the starting price for lot 1415 was too high for me (I had decided that I would come in at £25 but not if more was required, and the auctioneer wanted £30), but I was successful with plan 2, getting each item for £10.

Some of the framed prints sold as well, which is all to the good. Lot 1600, the last item in the sale went under the hammer at about 2:20PM, and once I had accomplished as much of the clear-up of the IT stuff as was possible (typically, the laptop we used as the master computer decided that before shutting down it needed to install a load of updates, so I had to leave it where it was, though now unlugged and running on battery).

After consuming my sandwiches I was able to get away, having had a tiring but very satisfying day. 


What is Autism?

Some thoughts about autism provoked in a good way by anonymouslyautistic and a bad way by the folk at magiquiz.


I am not going to attempt a scientific answer to the question in my title, merely to lay out some of my own thoughts. The original inspiration for this post was a post produced by anonymouslyautistic, titled “WHAT IS AUTISM – FROM AN AUTISTIC’S PERSPECTIVE” and brought to my attention by americanbadassactivistsAs readers of this blog will be aware I am branch secretary of the National Autistic Society’s West Norfolk branch as well as being autistic. 



Among the things that autism is sometimes supposed to be but is not are:

  • A form of mental illness (more on this at the end of this section as you will see). 
  • A disorder
  • Something to be feared or worse still hated
  • Something that needs to be cured

I end this section with an example that absolutely shocked me when I saw it by way of twitter this weekend. I invite readers of this post to collectively identify everything they can find that is wrong with the formulation of the question below:

ableist question

If you click on the image you can go to the quiz, take it yourself and then post a comment (if you choose to do this please follow me in highlighting the problems with this question).


My unsuitability for front-line customer service and the difficulties I have with communication are down to autism. On the other side of the ledger my eye for detail, reflected in my photography among other things, my mathematical skills, my aptitude for working with computers and several other of my strongest attributes are also due to autism.

I will finish this section by reminding people that different does not necessarily mean less, and that we are autistic people – note the emphasis given to the second part of that designation.


In this section I provide the solution to one puzzle and offer another for your inspection. Both are mathematical in nature. 

In ‘Midweek Mixture‘ I set the following puzzle:

The above table shows two putative sets of coin toss records, each for one coin tossed thirty times. Which is more like to be genuine based on what you can see?

a) series one
b) series two

To begin the solution, here is the table above with a column added:

coin tosses complete

You will see that the two sets of coin toss lists in the original problem were made up, but if you look at the results for the set of coin tosses I actually performed you will note that it looks much more like series two than series one – randomness is clumpier than we intuitively expect (the idea for this problem came from a book by Natalie Angier, in which she tells the story of a teacher who uses an experiment in which half of her class are assigned the task of inventing a series of coin tosses, and half of actually tossing coins and recording the result, while the teacher goes out of the room – and nearly always the teacher can tell the real from the fake). 

My new problem comes from the mathematical website brilliant:



As usual I end this post with some photographs, in this case featuring a family of swans I saw swimming along the Gaywood River yesterdary morning:

Swan familySwan family 2Swan family3Swan family 4Swan family 5young swanstwo swansyoung swanwhite swanwhite swan 2white swan 3Swansswans 2Swans 3


Monday Madness 3: Mainly Autism

Some autism related links, and some photos from Musical Keys.


As NAS West Norfolk branch secretary and an #actuallyautistic person I always like to share good stuff about autism. I am including within this a piece that is not directly about autism but relates to many of the issues that autistic people highlight.


This piece from titled “Disability 101: Medical Model vs Social Model” features a really excellent infographic, reproduced below:



Laina over at thesilentwaveblog has, as she so often does, hit the nail smack on the head with a piece titled “Depathologizing Asperger’s / autism ~ The strength vs ‘lacking’ edition” The feature graphic is below:

Laina is the old favourite of the title of this section, while the new find, brought to my attention by Eve Hinson of americanbadassadvocates, is Michelle Sutton of michellesuttonwrites whose recent piece titled “THE LANGUAGE OF IDENTITY, OR “I AM NOT AN AUTISM PARENT”” I heartily recommend.


These photographs were taken at Muscial Keys on Saturday, which I am involved in due to my association with NAS West Norfolk.


The first three screens show the things I have built up involving each of my three sprites


This focusses on the backdrop itself…
And not long later I had created functions for this screen that meant that every button I could assign an individual function now did something.
Close up of backdrop and sprites.


A Demanding Week and a New Computer

My first post created using my new computer. It covers my work for James and Sons this week and includes solutions to the puzzle contained in my previous blog post.


Welcome to this post, the first to be composed using my brand new Acer Chromebook 15, of which more later. As well as covering the events of Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday, with a few pictures, and of course explaining the computer situation I will be providing an answer the puzzle that I included in my last post.


My old computer (and by computer standards it was a veritable Methusalah) had been struggling for some while when it finally decided to give up the ghost completely. My mother by way of an early Christmas present transferred the funds necessary to buy a replacement to my account, and I made the purchase today. All I am now waiting for is the arrival of the hard drive caddy that I ordered online which will enable me to connect the hard drive that I extracted from my old computer to this one and all will again be as it should be.


James and Sons had its last auction of this year on Wednesday (our next auction is taking place on January 18, 19 and 20 at our shop in Fakenham), and on either side of that I was getting as many images ready for January as I could. The auction we have just had took place in Norwich, and a shortage of people available to help combined with the fact that one of my colleagues was experiencing knee trouble meant that most of the heavy lifting had to be done by yours truly.


Most of the work of loading the van had been accomplished on the Friday, but some still remained to be done. Additionally there were last minute queries to be resolved, work to be done for our next auction and a few other things. I made enough of a fuss about the extra expense of catching the very early bus to Norwich (a First Eastern Counties X1, which leaves at 5:30AM and on which a return costs £11 as opposed to the £5.50 it would have cost me if I could have caught the Stagecoach X29 which leaves at 6:28AM) that I was authorised to extract the bus fare from the till.


I managed to catch the 5:30AM bus, and was the first James and Sons employee at the venue. Once the van arrived it was time to unload everything and get the place set up for the auction. After a few hitches, including requiring an emergency replacement for the computer which we had been using to run the auctioneer’s view screen we got underway on time at 10AM, and the sale proceeded fairly smoothly. The coins fared especially well, and much to my relief some of the larger boxes of stamps sold in the room, meaning that they did not have to go back on the van. The militaria also did well. 

Once the van was loaded I was able to take my leave, and being in Norwich took the opportunity to visit Norwich Millennium Library before getting the bus home. In the end I arrived back at my flat a little under 14 hours after I had left it in the morning.

These old coins fared especially well, two of them (213 and 215 fro memory) going for £170 each after protracted online bidding battles.



After unloading the sold goods from the van it was back to work on the January auction. The catalogue cover was ready by the end of the day, and the images were about 70% done, a near miracle in the circumstances. Here are some of the new images from yesterday…


These postcards were needed for the catalogue cover, so with time pressing I scanned them at 150 DPI – and they looked superb on the printed page.




I asked you to take any three digit number, multiply by 7, then multiply the new answer by 11 and finally multiply that answer by 13. I then asked how your final answer compared to your original number. That final answer consists of two copies of your original number. The reason for this is that 7 x 11 x 13 = 1,001 – and that post beinbg my 1,001st on aspiblog was why I set that puzzle in it. As a bonus I asked what multipliers you would need to produce a similar effect with four digit numbers, and the answer to that is 73 and 137, because 73 x 137 = 10,001.

Plans For the Future

Setting out future plans and a cool link.


There are two things to mention here…


I finally have a replacement battery for my laptop, which all being well will make posting a lot easier than it has been recently while I have been dependent on library computers.


My last post but one told everyone that I was off to Marxism 2016. I arrived back yesterday evening, and I have a lot of material to share from that fabulous event, so a number of posts about the experience will be appearing in the not too distant future both here and on my London transport themed website


I found this gem, about us reaching Jupiter, on whyevolutionistrue and am sharing it here both because it is superb stuff and because I am accompanying the share with a sample image, thereby saving this post from being text only. To view the full post click here.