Return to Work – A Story Three Years in the Making

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…


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…


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…

Back to the Present: James and Sons June Auction

An account of James and Sons’ June auction.


Having completed my series of posts about Scotland, I am now returning to the present with an account of James and Sons’ June Auction, which happened earlier this week.


To set the scene for the rest of this post, the auction was arranged to run in two parts. Lots 1-600 went under the hammer at our own premises in central Fakenham on Monday June 26th, while lots 701-1300 were auctioned at Fakenham Racecourse on Wednesday June 28th. The Tuesday was set aside for getting things set up down at the racecourse, since experience had taught us that combining this with a day of auctioning at the shop was not a goer. 


The set up was accomplished fairly straightforwardly, and the sound and video checks went swiftly and easily. The auction got under way with 100 cigarette card lots, then 100 postcard lots, then some general ephemera, some numismatic and philatelic covers and ending with the stamps. The day started quietly, with the cigarette cards attracting very little interest and the postcards not much. It was the numismatic and philatelic covers that provided the only consistent sales of the day.  


We had loaded the first van load of stuff for the racecourse at the end of the previous week, so I headed straight from the bus to the racecourse to help unload that. This done and some stuff unloaded from the boss’s car it was back to the shop to load up the van for the second time. This van load then went to the racecourse without me, as I would be of more use working at the shop than down there. Then one of my colleagues was left alone at the racecourse and so I walked back down there to minimise the period for which this situation continued (the person who could drive the van was going to be at the shop for half an hour at least, and I could walk it in much less time than that). Finally, after a few final things had been brought down to the racecourse I got a lift back to the shop. At the end of the day I locked the shop, handed my key to a colleague who would need it on the morrow and headed home. Here are some pictures from the setup.

I was at the racecourse before my colleague arrived with a key, and this wagtail caught my eye while I was waiting.


We had a lot of toys in this auction.

Toys2Coins2Proof setsdisplay case1052Coins3Toys4Cig CardsToys6Toys8Toys3


This was a very tiring day. It was raining heavily most of the time, including for the entire duration of the walk from Fakenham town centre to the racecourse in the morning. 

We had been assured by the racecourse that they now had working wifi, but this proved to be an optimistic assessment and we had to use a wired connection, which dropped out four times in the course of the day (fortunately never for very long). 

This was the scene immediately after I had carried out audio and video checks, as viewed from my seat.

The early lots passed quietly, but then with lot 633 the first tranch of toy lots went under the hammer, and the internet bidders got busy, with three figure prices the rule rather than the exception. The ‘Manod’ steam toys later on also sold spectacularly well. After a few books and related stuff went under the hammer it was time for a few jewellery lots, which also sold well. Then it was into the coins, which started with some proof sets which fetched remarkable prices. 


When you see the image gallery for this lot you will realise why I had had my sights on it to the exclusion of all else in this auction:


Unfortunately from a personal point of view I had competition, and although I bid up to £40, when that final bid of mine was topped I conceded defeat. 


Although these were not the genuine article I decided that at next to nothing they were worth securing as a tiny consolation for the disappointment of a few moments earlier.

The main image…

…which is a combination of this…

…and this

935 - obverse
The first of two photos taken this morning.

935 - reverse

The coins continued to sell well. After the coins it was time for some militaria. Lot 1051 fetched a good price, and then came lot 1052 fetching the only four figure price of the auction. 

The whole lot (main image)

Both faces of the medal, assembled from the close-ups below.


Three images which combined as here show the rim in full detail (important as it is generally the rim that people look at when checking the authenticity of a medal – and this is definitely NOT done with a modern engraving machine – I have seen enough such to know whereof I write!)


1052 composite
This combination of the whole lot and all the close ups was the feature image in an alert sent out to militaria buyers (click the link below to view it in full).


display case
In the display case at the venue.

Focussing solely on lot 1052.

The auction finished with 100 miscellaneous lots, which went fairly quietly, although even these attracted some interest. After Monday we had needed Wednesday to be a successful day, and it was. 

For us there was still the clearing up to be done, but even that was accomplished sufficiently swiftly that I was able to get the 16:37 bus home. This departed late, but for an acceptable reason – the driver was resolving a situation created by another driver who was guilty of dereliction of duty – he had arrived from Wells, let off passengers, switched his destination to “Sorry Not In Service” and had then dashed off without picking up passengers. Stagecoach track their buses, and identified that this one had been parked up just outside Fakenham, and the rogue driver who by his selfishness had let down about 10 passengers was ordered back into service. This same thing had happened the previous day according to the waiting passengers except that he had got away with it, the passengers getting the later bus. 




Midweek Mishmash

Pictures from the last few days, an important video and petition link.


I have a variety of pictures and links to share with you.


These images are from yesterday.

I took two lpictures of this fort, lot 419, onje with the drabridge down and one with it up. It also disassembles readuly, with a drawer in the base for putting the bits in when it is not in use.


Lot 598 – a selection of interesting beer mats – I made a display of the best ones, keeping the box with the rest inside it in shot.



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:



The picture below is The Times cartoonist’s take on our current Prime Minister:



These are a staple of this blog, and I offer you these pictures from Monday:


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:


Sign the petition




Another Great Test Match in the Making


As well as my title piece, I have my usual selection of links, infographics and photos to share with you.


In spite of the interventions of Jupiter Pluvius (a mischievous deity who specialises in interrupting test match play in England) the truncated day’s play we got yesterday at Headingley was sufficient to indicate that we are in for another classic test match. Luke Ronchi, making his test match debut for New Zealand, scored a spectacular 89, and the scoring rate was lively throughout. The pitch offered plenty to bowlers throughout, but any error in length or direction was liable to be punished. James Anderson became the first England bowler to take 400 test wickets. It is possible that this will not be the only historic milestone to feature in this match – if Cook bats well he could become the first England batsman to amass 9,000 test runs. The second day is just under way, and a mere six minutes in to the day a six has already been hit – and a wicket has been taken by the very next ball. Yesterday was a wonderful day for cricket lovers – after play finished at Headingley there was commentary on the T20 Blast (20 overs each per side) game between Essex and Somerset, which ended in a tie. Chris Gayle making his debut for Somerset scored an explosive 92, giving the houses adjoining the ground a peppering.


I have no fewer than six high quality infographics from various sources to share with you…

A reminder for those who are sceptical about trade unions of where we would be without them.
A reminder for those who are sceptical about trade unions of where we would be without them.

Nationalisation RejectReligion Trickle Down Fraud Welfare Action Welfare Cuts



First up in this section, an article highlighting some indefensible behaviour and attitudes from those running a Jewish school in north London.

Second, a cardinal who has described the Irish as ‘worse than pagans’ following their decision to legalise gay marriage.

Third, courtesy of Patheos, the source piece for the infographic about teenagers rejecting religion.


My first link in this section follows on from the stuff about religion, and comes with a very impressive picture. It comes courtesy of Huffington Post and features a creationist who discovered a 60,000,000 year old fossil fish.

This is the fossil fish in all its glory.
This is the fossil fish in all its glory.

My other science piece for you comes from wildlife articles and is about a volcanic eruption in the Galapagos Islands.


My first link in this section comes from The Poor Side of Life and tells a truly shocking story.

Tax Research UK, often a source of valuable information, provide this piece about a new form of tax dodging.

Finally in this section, we come to a story from Welfare Tales which provides ironclad evidence that jobcentres DO HAVE SANCTIONS TARGETS.


This is my final subsection of the links section, and includes three items. Of course, this entire blog is strongly anti-discrimination, but these three pieces relate more specifically to that concern than anything else in this post. First up, the S*n have been hammered by IPSO over the despicable behaviour of their columnist Rod Liddle in relation to Emily Brothers, who is both blind and transgendered. Enjoy this piece from zelo-street.

My second piece in this subsection comes from across the pond bpecial neey way of Disability Scoop and concerns schools (ab)using truancy laws to get rid of children with special needs.

My final piece, again from the other side of the Atlantic concerns a large donation made to college by the mother of an autistic student by way of thanking them.


I hope you have enjoyed this post and that you will share it. To finish off I have a few pictures for you…

These dragonfly jewels were on display in the window of the Salvation Army shop in Fakenham
These dragonfly jewels were on display in the window of the Salvation Army shop in Fakenham

DSCN6319 DSCN6321 DSCN6322 DSCN6323 DSCN6324 DSCN6325

This detail is from the side of St James MCP, from outside which i shall be catching the bus next week.
This detail is from the side of St James MCP, from outside which i shall be catching the bus next week.

Imaging and My Personal Twitter Account After Two Weeks

I spent most of today imaging lots for our November auction, full details as follows: Prince of Wales Suite, Fakenham Racecourse, November 29th, starts 10AM sharp. I have plenty of good pics to share with you as a result.

It is now two weeks since I launched by personal twitter account, @aspitweets, and I now have 114 followers, have been favourited over 200 times and have been named as one of the top retweeters. I will always follow more people than follow me because I have a strict “always followback” policy and not everyone else does.

Anyway, time for those pics…

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Final preparations for auction

James and Sons October auction is tomorrow, starting at 10AM. A full catalogue can be viewed at:

Today we were making final preparations, making sure that everything we needed was at the venue (The Prince of Wales Sui

te, Faklenham Racecourse), and answering late queries (the latter yielded me some decent photos as well).

All is set for a good sale, with some large bids already in.

Meantime enjoy a sneak preview of some of the lots…


The whole of Lot 7 (diamond ring in bag) .
The whole of Lot 7 (diamond ring in bag) .

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Potentially interesting for the chocoholics among you.
Potentially interesting for the chocoholics among you.

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The next three images highlight different aspects of the same medal.
The next three images highlight different aspects of the same medal.

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This helmet has already attracted several substantial bids
This helmet has already attracted several substantial bids

These two Chinese medallions (next four images) have attracted considerable interest.
These two Chinese medallions (next four images) have attracted considerable interest.

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A Minor Database Triumph and some October Imaging

I have finally cracked the production of an overall vendors report for each sale. That done I made a start on imaging lots in the October sale (given that I shall be on holiday for lot of the run up I badly needed to do some of this work early). I also have some King’s Lynn images to use, so lots of fine photos for you to enjoy…

Yes - a genuine gold nugget (9 ct) -the main image, not featured here includes the certificate.
Yes – a genuine gold nugget (9 ct) -the main image, not featured here includes the certificate.

I have never seen a watch like this before.

?????????? Assorted jewellery

Silver hook
If you look closely you can see the hallmarks…

...and in this close up shot, the hallmarking is in plain sight.
…and in this close up shot, the hallmarking is in plain sight.

Pocket Watch Pocket Watch back Arrowheads Fitzroy Barometer ?????????? ?????????? ?????????? DSCN4316 DSCN4317 DSCN4319 DSCN4324 DSCN4325 DSCN4327 DSCN4328 DSCN4329 DSCN4333 DSCN4334 DSCN4335

Fortunately plans are afoot to knock this down and build something decent in its place.
Fortunately plans are afoot to knock this down and build something decent in its place.