Some Pictures

A largely pictorial account of my day.

INTRODUCTION

I have just finished editing the pictures I took while out and about today. I have a collection of tree pics ready for the next post in my “Trees in Transistion” series, but for the moment it is the other pictures I am sharing. I will put them up in three segments…

NURTURE

These are pictures featuring my aunt’s plants, which I have been watering while she is on holiday. Barring a freak return to summer weather tomorrow I anticipate one more visit on Wednesday being sufficient.

NSP1NSP2NSP3NSP4NSP5NSP6NSP7NSP8

NATIONAL LIBRARIES WEEK

This week is National Libraries Week. I have visited King’s Lynn Library today, will definitely visit Fakenham Library at least once this week after a working day, hope to call in at Norwich Millennium Library when I am in that fine city on Wednesday (an autism event) and on Saturday en route to Musical Keys should find time for a visit to Gaywood Library. Here are some pictures of King’s Lynn Library…

NATURE

We end with some pictures focussing on nature…

Cormorants 1Cormorants 2Cormorants 3Cormorants 4Cormorants 5BirdsCormorants and churchGullsFlying birdsFlying birdCormorants 6Cormorants 7LBBpreparing for Ashes duty!Flying ducksMoorhen 1Moorhen 2

The Quorum: Book Review

A review of Kim Newman’s “The Quorum”.

INTRODUCTION

For this post I am reviewing a book I read recently. When I review books I do so because I consider it worth doing – I gain no pecuniary benefit at all. 

HOW I DISCOVERED KIM NEWMAN

I first came across Kim Newman a couple of years back when I saw a copy of Moriarty: Hound of the D’Urbervilles in Norwich Millennium Library. I enjoyed that book, and the kept the author’s name in mind for future reference. 

HOW I DISCOVERED THE QUORUM

I was in King’s Lynn library on Monday, as I often am when not at work when I saw the book. I checked out the back cover to see if I could glean more about the story, and decided it was worth borrowing. On Wednesday, with the beginnings of this post already in mind I returned it having read and enjoyed it…

Librarium
King’s Lynn library, donated to the town by Andrew Carnegie

 THE STORY

The prime mover of the story goes by the name of Derek Leech, and the story starts with him emerging from the muck and slime of the Thames (even today, half a century after Leech’s supposed emergence and after considerable efforts to clean it up the Thames remains fairly slimy and mucky). The other principal characters are four schoolfellows who end up in a situation whereby three of them become very rich and successful courtesy of Leech, but they have to stuff up the life of the other as part of a Faustian deal.

Along the way we are told much about the various ways in which the three who have been granted success. One is a TV presenter and best selling author. In his capacity as an author he names characters after London Underground stations, so we encounter Colin Dale (look near the northern end of the Edgware branch of the Northern line), Ken Sington (South Kensington District, Circle & Piccadilly, High Street Kensington – District & Circle, Kensington Olympia – – District), Mai Da Vale (Maida Vale, Bakerloo line) and Barbi Can (Barbican – Circle, Hammersmith & City, Metropolitan) are all mentioned in the book as names used by Michael Dixon for his characters. Of these names only the first really passes muster. The s in Kensington is pronounced as a z not an s – Ken Ington, losing an N from the name of that Northern line hub station would have been better. Mai Da Vale is a mishmash of a name – a clearly oriental first name and surname with an Italian prefix, in addition to which were Vale a recognised Italian name (I do not believe it is) it would certainly pronounced as Var-lay in that language. Barbi is not usually spelled without the e, and I have yet to come across anyone surnamed Can. However, I credit Newman with selecting these names as a way of indicating just how undeserved Michael Dixon’s best seller status is.

The kicker moment comes late in the plot, after Neil, the ‘loser’ in the bargain finally concedes defeat. It turns out that he as the person whose pain has been feeding Leech’s “device” is far more important than the other three, who having driven him to utter the dread phrase “I give up”, have now ceased to be useful to Leech. 

I enjoyed reading this book and recommend that you read it too. 

KN.jpg

END NOTE: THE LINKS
FROM THE CHARACTER NAMES

All the links in my information about Michel Dixon’s dodgy character names are to posts on my London transport themed website, www.londontu.be. South Kensington has two links because there are two posts about that station, written at different times. 

 

Booking a Trip to Scotland: British Public Transport Daftness Exposed

A combination of an account of the booking of train tickets for a trip to Scotland and an expose of the sheer craziness of British public transport.

INTRODUCTION

My parents have booked a house near Kyle of Lochalsh for a week which includes my birthday. As a birthday present I have been given the wherewithal to purchase train tickets for the journey, which happens to feature one of the most scenic routes anywhere in Britain. To set the scene for the rest of this post and give you a little test here is a photograph of my railway tickets for the journey:

tickets
Can you see what it is about these tickets that even before I go any further reveals an element of daftness in British Public Transport?

BOOKING THE JOURNEY

Those of you who follow this blog with due care and attention will be aware that for some years I have been resident in King’s Lynn for some years, and had I moved I would certainly have mentioned it here. Why then is the ticket above booked as a return from Peterborough to Kyle of Lochalsh and not from King’s Lynn? 

The following screenshots will expose the reason for this and the utter craziness and illogic of pricing on British public transport.

KL-Ky
Note the difference in price between this ticket and the one from Peterborough (almost £60!!)
Peterborugh-Kyle
Given the immense price difference, the booking from Peterborough was bound to leave my up on the transaction (as you will see after these pictures in point of fact to the tune of some £50)
Outbound
My outbound journey.
return
The suggested return journey (don;t worry parents, I can also get back leaving on the later train from Kyle, at 12:08 and arriving home around about midnight)
KL - Peterborough
Even were I to rely on train for the King’s Lynn to Peterborough and back section of the journey two anytime day singles (the max I would have had to pay), would have set me back a mere £24.60 as opposed to price difference on the all-in-one of almost £60, but….

I will actually be travelling the King’s Lynn – Peterborough and its reverse route on the First Eastern Counties X1 bus, which will set me back £6.40 each way or £12.80 in total, making a saving of approximately £47 as compared to the all-in-one booking from King’s Lynn. 

You might think that having cut through all the BS re fares and booked the tickets the daftness would end there, but you would be wrong…

COLLECTING THE TICKETS

The booking accomplished yesterday evening, this morning I set about collecting the tickets. First, as a precaution since I would be needing to keep them safe for a long while I searched out a receptacle of suitable size, shape and robustness to put them in, locating this pretty swiftly:

ticketholder

Having thus equipped myself it was off to the library to print off some booking information that I was going to need to collect the tickets.

library

Then with the information printed it was on to the station to pick up the tickets. This is usually done via ticket machines, of which King’s Lynn station has two. Here are pictures of both machines, showing precisely why I could not use them…

DSCN5103machineoo

I fully understand the desirability and indeed the need to replace old ticket machines with new, but why take both out of service simultaneously? Why not take one out of service and keep the other operational until the first new machine is ready, then take the second old machine out of service and replace it, thereby keeping at least one machine operational the whole time?

Fortunately, there were staff present, and I was able to get my tickets printed at a ticket office. While waiting I bagged an image of the station plaque:

plaque

Although the process took longer and entailed more frustration than I had anticipated, I have the tickets and other info safely stowed, and am looking forward to my visit to the wilds of northwest Scotland. It will not be my first visit to Kyle of Lochalsh – back in 1993, before the opening of a swanky new toll-bridge and consequent removal of ferry services to maximise said bridge’s profits, I passed through Kyle en route to the Isle of Skye, returning to the mainland by way of the southern ferry crossing to Mallaig. 

I conclude this post with two more photos, one showing all the printed material I have for the journey, and the other ending our journey back where we started (a lot more straightforward in a blog than in a journey on British public transport!)

traveldocstickets

 

 

Nonuple Nelson

My 999th post on aspiblog – an appropriately quirky melange – share if you agree!

INTRODUCTION

The title of this post comes from a cricket related quirk, explained by the image below, which is an extract from Mike Brearley and Dudley Doust’s book about the 1978-9 ashes series (six matches, Australia 1 England 5):

dscn7912

The ‘nonuple’ part of the title comes from the fact that this is my 999th post on aspiblog, and like the old Gloucestershire spinner Bomber Wells who deliberately retired on 999 first class wickets I have decided the commemorate 999 rather than the more conventional 1,000. By the way, although 999 is indubitably part of the ‘Nelson’ sequence I suspect that never mind me as someone immune to woo in all its forms even the late legendary David Shepherd might have considered that at 999 there was little to worry about (in point of fact it is 0% success rate as a score at which wickets fall – twice in first class cricket a team has scored that many – Victoria both times, against Tasmania in 1922 and New South Wales in 1926 and both times they reached the 1,000 safely and won the matches by monster margins – an innings and 666 and an innings and 656 runs respectively).

SOME RECENT FINDS

First a story which I reblogged from Why Evolution Is True yesterday, but which is so spectacular and so well presented that I am sharing a link to it today as well – click the picture below to visit:

theropodfeather

Second, a suggestion that London should take its cue from Paris and make public transport free of charge (what are you waiting for, Sadiq?). I have already shared this on my London transport themed website, and now take the opportunity to promote it here – via two pictures, the first of which contains a link to the original article on www.independent.co.uk:

transport
The image in the http://www.independent.co.uk article.
transport-ii
The image in the twitter link that put me on to the story.

Still on the transport theme is this piece in The Guardian about how Uber are (mis)treating their drivers.

My next link concerns libraries, and the fact that they are being hit by huge funding cuts. At the bottom of the article mention is made of the library from which the most items have been borrowed this year – Norwich Millennium Library (and although that is the library I use least frequently of my three regulars my visits there are not entirely unconnected to the large number of items borrowed there!). Click here to see the original piece.

My final link in this section is appropriately cricket themed. Before getting on to it I note by way of observation that as the third day draws to a close the current test match between India and England seems to be capsizing under an overload of runs (Eng 400, Ind currently 445-7). A new cricket blog has appeared on my radar, and I introduce it to my readers by way of a link to a review of Steve James’ book The Art of Centuries.

PICTURES

To end this post here are some coin images from yesterday at work (on this occasion high-res scans rather than photographs as these were small lots):

122
This is lot 122 (all lots featured here have three images – a composite and close-ups of each face). These lots will be going under the hammer in mid January.

122-a122-b

132
Lot 132

132-a132-b

134
Lot 134

134-a134-b

136
Lot 136

136-a136-b

137
Lot 137

137-a137-b

138
Lot 138

138-a138-b

140
Lot 140

140-a140-b

141
Lot 141

141-a141-b

143
Lot 143

143-a143-b

145
Lot 145

145-a145-b

157
Lot 157 – note the alteration to the obverse face of this coin.

157-a157-b

James and Sons’ October Auction

A brief account of James and Sons’ October auction with some photographs.

INTRODUCTION

James and Sons’ October Auction took place in the Erpingham Room in the Maids Head Hotel, Norwich on Wednesday. Lots 1-450 were fairly normal James and Sons auction fare, and then lots 451 onwards were a lifetime collection of posters. Thus the plan was to have a break after lot 450.

A DIFFICULT START

We started the day with the internet not working properly. We were able to connect using Wifi, but our card reader requires a cable connection to function properly. Nevertheless, the auction got underway on time, and there were some notable successes early in the auction, especially the militaria.

THE POSTERS

As well as imaging pretty well all of the posters I had described most of them, so it was with interest but little expectation that following a short lunch break that I awaited the outcome of this part of the sale. A few posters sold well, but the majority did not. Slightly frustratingly in the circumstances with so much not finding buyers all four of the railway themed posters I had been considering went way beyond my price range. Here are the fab four in question:

729
Lot 729 – I had not particularly expected to get this one given that it was laminated and clearly old.
737
Lot 737, which I used as the centrepiece for a post about the Museum of London on my website (this one), this being where the Lord Mayor’s carriage is displayed when not in use – again this was not a great hope.
763
Lot 763, an advert for one-day travelcards – this was the one that I had reckoned I was most likely to get.
764
The double sided laminated poster that was lot 764 also sold for much more than I could have afforded.

764-a764-b

The auction done, it was time to load the van back up. This task accomplished I was able to go my own way (the van would be unloaded the following morning, so I would not be needed in Fakenham). I had just enough time before the last bus I could catch home using my dayrider plus to make a trip to the library worthwhile. I got home 13 hours after setting out.

THE FINAL VERDICT

Fortunately enough good things happened during lots 1-450 to more than cover the disappointing outcome of the poster sale, and it was overall a very good sale.

Special Post: Baker Street

INTRODUCTION

This post is the fifth in a series I am running on this blog providing a station by station guide to London.

HISTORY, ASTRONOMY AND DETECTIVES

Baker Street was one of the original stations that opened in 1863 as The Metropolitan Railway, the world’s first underground public transport system, on January the 10th 1863. Those platforms, two of 10 at that station (the most on the entire system) to be served by underground trains, are still in service today, and have been restored to look as they would have done when first opened. Ironically, they are no longer served by the Metropolitan line, which uses two terminal and two through platforms just to the north of the originals, its tracks joining those of the Hammersmith and City and Circle lines just east of Baker Street. By way of explanation I turn to Douglas Rose’s London Underground: A Diagrammatic History


DSCN6333

The other two lines that serve this station are the Bakerloo and Jubilee lines. Baker Street is a division point between the old and new Jubilee lines – south of Baker Street is all new track, northwards old, dating from 1939, when it was opened as a branch of the Bakerloo, taking some of the strain of the Metropolitan by taking over services to Stanmore and assuming sole responsibility for intermediate stops between Baker Street and Finchley Road, and also between Finchley Road and Wembley Park. When the Jubilee opened in 1979 it comprised the old Stanmore branch of the Bakerloo and three stations south of Baker Street.

Reverting temporarily to the Metropolitan, those four platforms at Baker Street, from which trains go to a variety of destinations developed from what started as a single track branch going only as far as Swiss Cottage. It grew out of all recognition during the tenure of Edward Watkin, who saw the Metropolitan as a crucial link in his plan for a railway system to link his three favourite cities, London, Paris and Manchester. At one time, as my next picture shows, the Metropolitan went far beyond it’s current reach…

DSCN6336

Baker Street is home to Madame Tussaud’s and the London Planetarium, both of which merit a visit.

Of course, no post about Baker Street would be complete without something about it’s most famous ever resident, Mr Sherlock Holmes, consulting detective.

I am an avid fan of the great detective, having read all the original stories and many modern stories that feature the great detective. As well as owning a respectable collection of my own, I regularly borrow books about this subject from the libraries that I use…

A remarkable recent find.
A remarkable recent find.
The great originals.
The great originals
Some of my modern Holmes stories.
Some of my modern Holmes stories.

To end this post, along with my customary hopes that you have enjoyed it and that you will share it, a couple more maps, first a facsimile of the original Beck map of 1933 and then for comparison a facsimile of the 1926 Underground Map…

When Beck first produced a prototype of this map in 1931 his superiors thought that no-one would like it - but eventually they agreed to a trial of it in 1933, and now every public transport system in the world uses schematic diagrams of this type.
When Beck first produced a prototype of this map in 1931 his superiors thought that no-one would like it – but eventually they agreed to a trial of it in 1933, and now every public transport system in the world uses schematic diagrams of this type.

When Beck first produced a prototype of this map in 1931 his superiors thought that no-one would like it - but eventually they agreed to a trial of it in 1933, and now every public transport system in the world uses schematic diagrams of this type.

Birds, Buildings and Quilts

Some historic buildings, a quilt and some birds plus a notice from the Environment Agency.

The title is a reference to what I have been photographing over the weekend. To start with some of the buildings:

1)Greyfriars Tower, all that remains above ground of the Franciscan priory…

This is a montage created for putting up on twitter, the rest of the gallery follows...
This is a montage created for putting up on twitter, the rest of the gallery follows…

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2) King’s Lynn Public Library…

Once again, we start with a montage...
Once again, we start with a montage…

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3)Custom House…

This is the last multiple image
This is the last multiple image

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4)The Red Mount Chapel, Guanock Gate and various interesting bits of buildings…

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West Lynn Church
West Lynn Church

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I chose to include this with the buildings, although it also features birds!
I chose to include this with the buildings, although it also features birds!

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The quilt reference is to a very elaborate quilt that my aunt made and will be submitting to a competition, for which she required photographs of it. I have provided two versions of each picture, one with very little editing, and one with much more editing….

The first five images of this quilt are the fully edited ones.
The first five images of this quilt are the fully edited ones.

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These next five images have been cropped but not fully edited.
These next five images have been cropped but not fully edited.

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Now we have some bird images…

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To finish, a notice from the Environment Agency…

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