A post about my recent return to work and some of things associated with it.
Regular followers of this blog will be well aware that I had a very serious illness in 2018 (I put up various posts about this). This post tells the story of my path back to work (albeit on a very part time basis).
A False Dawn – Winter 2019 to Spring 2020
By the time a year had elapsed since the worst of my illness I was thinking about the possibility of returning to work, but I did not feel that winter was the right time (some long term lung damage and a compromised immune system influenced this). The plan which my employer was fully on board with was that I would return in April 2020. Then of course the covid-19 pandemic hit, preventing any possibility of a return to work at that stage. However, on July 1st of this year I returned to work on a one day per week basis…
PUBLIC TRANSPORT NIGHTMARE
At the time of my illness Lynx Bus had taken over the services between King’s Lynn and Fakenham (the town where I work), and at the time of my illness they had been starting to provide a proper service. Unfortunately, as I discovered when checking out bus times for my return I discovered that the pandemic had reduced their services to skeleton levels, and to date that has not changed. James and Sons open their doors between 10AM and 3PM. There are three options, all far from ideal for getting into Fakenham in the morning: 7:00AM direct bus, gets to Fakenham at 7:49, leaving me a couple of hours to kill in Fakenham, leave at the same early hour and go via Hunstanton and Wells, arriving in Fakenham at 9:30, or 10:00, getting to Fakenham at 10:50. Of these three only the latter is really practicable as a route in. Getting home is worse still: there is no direct bus between 1:00PM and 6:00PM. Therefore I board the 3:00PM bus and take the scenic route back to Lynn (Fakenham – Wells – Hunstanton – Lynn), usually arriving home at about 5:45PM. It is these issues with travel that prevent me from committing to more than one day per week.
The auction of August 31st and September 1st 2021 was notably successful. I put out a press release about lots 1 and 2, two Steven pennies, which went for £700 and £900 respectively.
Many other items sold for huge money at that auction. A gold bracelet of Egyptian pattern attracted particularly vigorous bidding, going for £1,150, while a gold hunter watch went for £600, and a pair of diamond earrings fetched over £400. Here are some the images of lots that sold well…
My most recent imaging has been for our October auction, in which a number of swagger sticks feature…
THE SEPTEMBER AUCTION
On Tuesday and Wednesday of this week James and Sons had a two day stamp auction. By and large things went well. I was a successful bidder on three lots – 663 (French railway stamps, hammer price £5), 892 (Benham mini FDCs, railway themed, hammer price £18) and lot 936 (Channel Tunnel opening FDCs with certificates of authenticity, hammer price £8). I did not originally image these lots, but have done so in great detail since taking possession, and I end this post with those images…
As well as the four pieces mentioned in the title I have some pictures to share.
TORY ELECTION FRAUD
Although the Biased Bull****ting Conservatives (BBC for short) are still not giving this story much coverage, and have had the cheek on one of the rare occasions when they did cover it to use the word ‘mistake’, which is one thing it most certainly was not, other sources including Channel 4 have been giving it proper coverage. The Skwawkboxblog, noted for the regularity with which it beats mainstream media to the breaking of stories, and this piece, under the title “THE ‘LONGEST CONFESSION NOTE IN HISTORY’? CONHOME ADMITS WHAT CCHQ WANT TO HIDE”. The image below links to the piece on Skwawkbox.
The piece by David Hencke that I link to at the end of this section details yet more public transport problems facing Britain, and especially northern Britain. It is titled “Is George Osborne’s Northern Powerhouse about to hit the buffers?” Many of my readers will already be aware that the Downright Dishonourable Member for Tatton (in Cheshire), aka the #Gidiot, aka Gideon George Oliver Osborne has just been named as the new editor of the Evening Standard, a purely London based newspaper. Before providing the link, as usual by way of an image, I shall give in bullet form my objections to this latest example of Westminster and mainstream media getting cozy (btw although I firmly believe that Osborne should not be allowed to be both MP and newspaper editor, I can’t help wondering whether if he arrogantly stays on as MP he might not end up making what in view of his constituency I shall call a ‘Hamiltonian’ exit from parliament – unfortunately Tatton does seem to get more than its fair share of bad ‘uns!).
REASONS WHY AN MP SHOULD NOT BE AN EDITOR
One of the concerns highlighted in the Leveson Report was a degree of unacceptable closeness between the press and Westminster. In view of this it should not be possible for a current MP to also be a newspaper editor.
Conflict of interest several ways – between the role of MP and that of editor, between his southern based newspaper and his northern constituency, and between his role as editor and the several other important roles that he has had the arrogance to take.
It demonstrates contempt for his constituents by yet further reducing the amount of time he can spend attending to them.
Additional to the above, the Downright Dishionourable Member for Tatton has zero qualification for the task of editing a newspaper.
Click on the image below to read the David Hencke piece.
Picture of Great Bentley station by Ben Brooksbank
STANDING UP TO A MEDIA MOGUL
From a newly minted media menace to one of much longer standing, namely Rupert Murdoch – embedded below is a video from 38 Degrees titled “How to stand up to a media mogul”. It is very short – enjoy!
I recognize that this is a thorny issue. I will start by making two things clear:
The future of Scotland should be decided by the Scots.
Extending from my first point, while as a Sassenach I can express no personal opinion on whether Scotland should or should not vote for independence I can say for a certainty that if I was a Scot I would be voting for independence.
My link in this section is to an STV piece titled “Sturgeon refuses to rule out wildcat independence vote”, and I link to it by means of an image.
These pictures were all obtained by means of the scanner. These are pictures of 18 hammered coins which will be going under the hammer in April, and other than myself you are the first people to see them.
An account of the ,last four days, some pictures, some links, and a special science and nature section.
This post, which comes with plenty of pictures and some cracking links, covers what I have been doing over the course of Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday and Friday. Each of these days was very different in character from its predecessor. The links will be in two parts, a couple appearing between Wednesday and Thursday, and the remainder florming a special science and nature section at the end of the post.
A day at James and Sons getting as many images done as possible before the catalogue for our next auction went online (here, for those who would like to see it). This day went fairly quietly and without any major incidents. Here are some general pictures…
My second set of images for this day consists of coins and small medallions…
On Wednesday I started the day by typing up the minutes from NAS West Norfolk’s last committee meeting (as branch secretary this is one of my regular tasks). The in the afternoon I attended a meeting of the West Norfolk Disability Forum, which came with a little extra pressure as the branch chair of NAS West Norfolk could not arrange childcare which left me as NAS West Norfolk’s sole representative at the meeting. I found the meeting disappointing – many things talked about but little sign of any real progress having been made.
INTERLUDE – A COUPLE OF LINKS
Most of my links will feature at the end of this post, but there are two I choose to share here to break things up a bit:
AUTISM AWARENESS CUP 2017
Following the success of last year’s inaugural Autism Awareness Cup, a second event is being staged this year, on June 4th at Ingoldisthorpe Social Club between 12 and 5PM. A facebook page for this event has been launched – please click the graphic below to visit, and if you are on facebook, like the page:
HEATHER HASTIE ON A TELEVANGELIST
Heather Hastie’s blogis always worth reading, and this post, about a chap by the name of Jim Bakker, is no exception.
THURSDAY – SPARKS FLY
I had just started work on Thursday morning when I looked at my computer and noticed that the power had gone (I was taking photographs, so all the computer was on ready for editing them later, I was not yet using it). It soon transpired that none of the computers or heaters had power (the lights being on a different circuit did). One of my colleagues tested a particular plug socket that was most likely to have caused the problem, and it proved right (fortunately although shaken he was not seriously hurt, though we were all worried at the time). We then used a long extension lead to connect to the only spare socket available, which brought things to life for a few moments, before (as it transpired), the extension lead proved unable to cope with the amount of power it was having to transmit.
With no possibility of using the computers that day, the two people who were committed to remaining at work there for the day (the other person directly involved in the drama went back to working at his computer repair business) took as many photographs as possible, and it being fiendishly cold without any source of heat, gained permission to lock up a bit early. It was also in the course of this day that I took custody of a key to the shop.
Although editing and uploading them was for obvious reasons my first work activity of Friday, here are some pictures from Thursday…
FRIDAY – CALM AFTER THE STORM
I arrived at work on Friday morning and was delighted to see that the electrician was just finishing up, and that discussion about having a serious look at the electrics at some lpoint in the future were taking place (much needed – looking back the only real surprise about Thursday’s incident was that it had taken so long for it to happen).
Nevertheless, the amount of new work I accomplished on Friday was somewhat reduced, first by having to finish Thursday’s work, then by having to a bulk upload of previously created images due to mishap oin the original uploading process which meant that most of the last thousand lots were showing with no images and finally by having to make a trip to the post office, where it took the person handling our parcels 40 minutes to do the job (at least three times as long as it should have). Here are some of the new images that I did mange to create and upload…
A SCIENCE AND NATURE SPECIAL
We start with two sides of a story that may or may not be one of the most significant achievements in science history – if the experiment can be successfully duplicated a Nobel prize is a certainty. Here, courtesy of www.independent.co.uk comes…
THE PRODUCTION OF METALLIC HYDROGEN?
First of all, the story of the claimed discovery, complete with video footage:
Please click the link below to read (and below that is the video)…
An illustrated account of James and Sons’ first three day auction.
On Monday, Tuesday and Yesterday my employers staged their first ever three-day auction, all three days of the sale taking place at our shop in Fakenham. This post describes the event.
DAY 1: COINS, BANKNOTES, BANKING EPHEMERA AND MILITARIA
There were a few technical issues early on, and we had to dispense with the live video because it just would not work. However, with close to 200 online bidders (this tally rose past 300 before the end of the auction on Wednesday) signed up before the sale started and a few people there in person it was not long before good things started happening. The first and biggest headline maker was…
This 1863 penny caused an internet dominated bidding battle which finally stopped at £1,200 (the estimate had been £250-300, and the bidding had started around that level). The successful bidder then telephoned in to clarify whether he could return the item if it turned out not to be as expected. This led to a tricky photographic assignment for yours truly. Looking at the pictures below can you see what is unusual about the dating on thkis coin?
THE REST OF THE COINS
Although nothing else approached lot 22 the coins did continue to sell fairly well. I will feature one more lot, which although it did not reach great heights was contested…
This was a Lima Tramways Inauguration token. Two people were interested, myself and an internet bidder. When the online bidder went to £20 over my £18 I conceded defeat (I had decided that I was not going beyond £20 and adhered to that decision). In addition to the obvious public transport connection, there is also a more obscure and tenuous cricket related connection: Lima was also the birthplace of Freddie Brown, who went on Jardine’s 1932-33 ashes tour without being picked for a test match and captained the touring party for the 1950-51 ashes. Here is the image gallery for this lot to commemorate my near miss:
THE BANKNOTES AND BANKING EPHEMERA
The banknotes fared well, while the experiment with banking ephemera (mainly but not entirely cheques) cannot yet be judged – more of the stuff will be going under the hammer at our next auction.
The militaria was again largely successful. In a pattern of consistent successes there was one stand out, early in the section. The star of this second half of day one was…
This lot, a Free Polish Airforce pilots badge and RAF Dingley escape whistle with an estimate of £80-95 eventually sold for £320.
FINISHING THE FIRST DAY
After the end of the first day at lot 550 the stuff for that part of the sale had to be moved upstairs and the stuff for day two brought down into the shop. My involvement in this process and the fact the we had finished later than expected meant that I did not get any imaging done before going home.
INTERLUDE – ON IMAGING
This post has featured scanning and photography, so here is a brief guide to myt appraoch to imaging at work:
I scan the following items:
Coins – 600dpi, scan each face, brighten the images (this both improves the clarity of the image, and since I have also adopted the policy of using a white background, effectively eliminates the background) and join the two images together to create the master image). I can image up 20 single coin lots at a time in this way, and the scanner I use works fast even at high resolution.
Stamps – 300-400dpi according to the level of intricacy of the pattern. Small stamps usually have an automatic black background because of the holders that are used. Usually I image these lots four at a time, but occasionally if the stamps are particularly suitably placed in the holders I can do more.
Postcards – 200-300 dpi according to time considerations. When there has been a real hurry on I have got away with scanning postcards at 150dpi, but I do not recommend going this low. The bed of my scanner is big enough for four standard size postcards, and in general if I have more cards than that in a lot I photograph rather than scanning.
Banknotes and related items – 200dpi is usually right for these.
Small ephemera: Any printed item that is A4 or less in size can be scanned. These items can be done at 150dpi.
All items not in the above list are photographed, and for items in the above list the decision to scan is dependent on small size – I do not for example lay out the contents of a huge box of coins on the scanner bed and scan.
DAY 2: POSTCARDS, EPHEMERA, FILM POSTERS, CIGARETTE & LIEBIG CARDS
A slightly fractious start to the day, as it was still not possible to run the video. Also, due to the confusion caused by frantic attempts to find a way to run the video the first couple of lots went under the hammer without audio either.
There was no danger of any of these not selling because one of our regulars had left a block of bids on all of them, and some ended up going to other people.
EPHEMERA AND FILM POSTERS
These as might be expected were fairly quiet, although even they did not completely bomb – some decorated menus sold reasonably well.
THE CIGARETTE AND LIEBIG CARDS
The big news from these lots was that the majority actually sold. Near the end there was a very minor controversy concerning…
This was the second and last lot ion the catalogue that was of personal interest to me. I opened the bidding at £16, and as I as recording this information an internet bit for the same amount registered. James and Sons policy on the matter is clear – a room bid has privilege over an internet bid. I thus pressed the ‘room’ button on the console to disallow the internet bid. The item was then knocked down at £16. Just in case the unlucky internet bidder is reading this, they would have had to go to £22 to get the item, since I was adhering to the same policy that I had adopted with regard to lot 141 – I was prepared to go to but not beyond £20. As a further point please note that had I secured lot 141 I would not have bid on this item. When I have been through it in detail I will produce a full post about this item, but for the moment here are the official images:
THE SWAP OVER
The moving of items so that the setup was ready for day 3 was swiftly accomplished, and having done fewer lots and the auction having run more smoothly there was plenty of time for me to finish the day with some…
The February auction will be another three day affair, but with an extra twist – days 1 and 2 will be at the shop again, but day 3 (A Wednesday again) will be at The Maids Head Hotel in Norwich. Here are some of the images I produced on Tuesday afternoon…
DAY 3: STAMPS, FIRST DAY COVERS AND POSTAL HISTORY
The day started with a wait outside the shop as the colleague who was opening up was delayed, continued with a quick trip to get a replacement strip bulb because one was shining a very ugly shade of pink but the setupo went smoothly, and the auction proceeded with no problems. These lots were not expected to generate bidding fireworks, but a reasonable number of them did actually sell.
There was no immediate need to transfer the stuff, so I was able to do other work, starting with…
SOME HIGH VALUE FEBRUARY IMAGING
These needed to be done first as some would be featuring in the print catalogue…
After lunch and a quick trip to the stationer for a box of paper I did some more ordinary imaging…
James and Sons’ first three day auction was definitely a success. The use of the shop as a venue massively reduces overhead costs, and the fact that we can only seat a few people there is no great disadvantage. February’s auction, on the 20th and 21st at the shop and then the 22nd at the Maids Head Hotel, Norwich will provide an interesting comparison. I end this post with some pictures of the layout on the first two days of the January auction (day 3 did not warrant a picture):
Pictures from the last few days, an important video and petition link.
I have a variety of pictures and links to share with you.
IMAGES FOR THE NOVEMBER AUCTION
These images are from yesterday.
NEW SEAT DESIGN CELEBRATES PIONEER AUTOBIOGRAPHER MARGERY KEMPE
Margery Kempe was born and raised in King’s Lynn (one of her former abodes was on the site now occupied by 117 High Street. For more about her check out this link. The seat design is for the Saturday Market Place, which happens to be pretty much on the doorstep of the formed abode of hers mentioned above. Here is a picture:
TIMES CARTOONIST NAILS IT
The picture below is The Times cartoonist’s take on our current Prime Minister:
A PHOTOGRAPHIC WALK
These are a staple of this blog, and I offer you these pictures from Monday:
CAMPAIGN FOR CLEANER AIR IN BRISTOL
Bristolians are campaigning over pollution levels in their city, and deserve wider support. Below is a video, followed by a link to a 38 Degrees petition:
An account of james and Sons’ September auction, with a spotlight on the October auction.
James and Sons’ September auction took place this Wednesday at Fakenham Racecourse, while apart from on that day my recent work has mainly been focussed on the October auction (Wednesday 26th, Maids Head Hotel, Norwich.
THE SEPTEMBER AUCTION
I was not involved with setting this auction up on the Tuesday due to having other work to do back at base, but I did make a flying visit to the racecourse that day to resolve some queries that people had raised at the last minute about auction items (one potential customer wanted an image that had been missed and another wanted a detailed condition report on pair of vintage spectacles – the fact that both items sold to the customers who had made the inquiries was final proof that their queries had been resolved). That just left…
THE DAY OF THE AUCTION
My work day did not get off to the best of starts, because I fell victim to a recent timetable change and arrived at the racecourse a little later than I would have liked (I now have a copy of the timetable that will come into force from this Sunday). Fortunately there were no serious issues with the IT, and the auction started on time.
With the auctioneer needing regular breaks from the rostrum, and the only person capable of substituting for him being also the only person who could substitute for my role on the rostrum I was at my post while the first 650 lots went under the hammer, finally getting to consume my sandwiches at 2:20PM, before resuming my post for the last 50 or so lots (the auction ended at lot 781). This, combined with the heavy lifting work at the end, made for an exhausting and stressful day.
THE TALE OF THE HAMMER
The auction began with banknotes and coins, which fared pretty well overall. Then there were a large number of stamp lots, which predictably enough did not attract huge attention (www.the-saleroom.com while good for many things are poor on stamps, and there were not many people there in the room). After that there were a variety of different items, some of which sold well. In among the medley of items in this middle and latter part of the auction was lot 461, four decorative plates produced by Coalport, all in their original boxes with paperwork. This might not sound like the kind of lot to catch the photographer’s eye, but the the images below may provide some explanation…
My opening bid of £12 proved sufficient to secure the items (I had prepared for the possibility of success by bringing a stout, empty, fabric bag with me to transport them).
The auction ended with some ‘Bradbury’ stamp pages, which may as well not have gone under the hammer at all since by then there was no one left in the room save staff.
Overall it was a successful sale.
THE CLEAR UP
While two of my colleagues took a few items to our storage unit near the village of Syderstone (principally the rostrum and the stools that we sit on behind it) I moved as much stuff as I could (almost all of it) over to the door so that it could be loaded straight on to the van once they were back. The van duly loaded it was time to head back into town, and thanks to my colleague dropping me on Oak Street I was just able to catch the 16:38 bus home. The bus to work yesterday morning was 20 minutes late leaving King’s Lynn, so by the time I arrived there were a mere five boxes of stuff left to carry in to the building, a task I accomplished in not much more time than it took the kettle to boil for my coffee.
SPOTLIGHT ON OCTOBER
Wednesday apart, since September 15 I have been engaged on a major project at work – describing and imaging a vast number of posters – a task that is not quite finished, but which is responsible for almost 250 lots so far. The first 230 or so of these lots were film posters, ranging in size from a colossal 40 inches by 30 to 16.5 inches by 16.5. Here are a few examples…
Yesterday, after a few more film posters I finally got some variety…
Continuing my account of my holiday in Sweden with a virtual tour of the Uppsala University Museum.
Welcome to the next installment of posts about my recent holiday in Sweden. This post picks up where my previous one left off, heading into this building:
INSIDE THE MUSEUM
The Uppsala University Museum (students get in free), also known as the Gustavianum is housed in the oldest university building in Sweden. If you approach the museum as I did and start at the bottom and work your way up, the first exhibits you encounter are from the Egyptians, Greeks and Romans:
The next two floors are taken up with items of various kinds from the more recent past…
After these treasures it was time to see the inside of the dome – a perfectly preserved anatomy theatre…
The last exhibits that I saw were those relating to the Vikings…
A somewhat delayed account of Monday and Tuesday, with plenty of photos.
A few brief commenst and some pictures.
I havce made sure that nothing big has been left unimaged, with my flgiht out to Sweden now only three days distant. Here are a few imaghes from the last couple of days…
AN EMPHATIC ENGLAND WIN
Although for various reasons I did not catch much of the action in the second test match betwen England and Pakistan I congratulate England on responding in emphatic style to their defeat in the first match. While I consider the decision by Cook not to enforce the follow-on when looking at a first innings advantage of 391 to be bizarre, at least his team still managed to win. Possibly the most red-faced captain of all time over a decision not to invoke the follow-on was the Hon Freddie Calthorpe who in the final match of the 1929-30 series in the West Indies declined to do so with an advantage of 563 on the grounds that the match was scheduled to played to a finish. Unfortunately for him a combination of the weather and England’s return journey caused the match to be abandoned as a draw anyway. Six years earlier in a county game Calthorpe had suffered a different kind fo embarrassment when his Warwickshire side made 223 in their first innings, bowled out Hampshire for 15, and had them 177-6 after following on. Hampshire then made a spectacular recovery to reach 521 in that second innings, with Walter Livsey who had only reached even double figures three times in the course of the season before then making a century at no 10, and bowled a dispirited Warwickshire out for 158 in the second innings. Back to the present, and in the test match that finished yesterday evening Joe Root had the kind of match which had it been presented as fiction would undoubtedly have been laughed out of the publishers office – 254, 71 not out, four catches in the first Pakistan innings, and when given a bowl late in their second innings he picked up a wicket with his second ball!
SOME FINAL PHOTOGRAPHS
I conclude this post with a few non-work related pictures:
Highlights from today at work, a mention of yesterday, a comment on the Melania Trump story and lots of pictures.
This post is about today at work and a couple of other things.
TODAY AT WORK
Apart from the fact that it is so hot that for the first time in over three years as a James & Sons employee I went to work in shorts, the things I did at work covered three areas…
RESOLVING QUERIES RELATING TO THE JULY SALE
These numbered five, one of which was a repeat question therefore requiring no new work. Nos 2 and 3 which I will treat together featured a mishap over coin lots, which I was easily able to sort out, by producing and uploading the following images:
Query no 4 related to a medal – someone wanted to see pictures of the rim, which are fiendishly difficult to produce, but I came up with these…
The final query was more involved, requiring detail as to whether the item was still in working order, and more info about its provenance. To help with this I produced these images:
The main bulk of my day’s work was…
IMAGING FOR THE AUGUST SALE
There were some interesting items today and a decent variety. I will start with the non-coin items…