An Outing – Binham and Holt

An account of an outing yesterday, with huge numbers of photographs.

INTRODUCTION

This was an outing arranged by my mother and my aunt which happened yesterday. Binham is a village about ten miles beyond the market town of Fakenham, Holt is a Georgian market town a little beyond Binham (more of this later). Binham is home a to an eponymous blue cheese, and also to the remains of a Benedictine priory (the same order who in the days when they were powerful controlled Ely, where the cathedral still stands). Holt as it is today is almost entirely the product of rebuilding after a huge fire in 1708 reduced the town to ruins, and as such is one the most noteworthy Georgian towns anywhere.

BINHAM PRIORY

Most of this section will be told by means of the photographs I took while at the priory, starting with some which give you some information about it:

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Just before moving on I will note that although this is an English Heritage site they do not charge for admission, clearly not reckoning they would take enough to justify paying someone to work there selling tickets.

INSIDE THE PARISH CHURCH

This is the only part of what was once a construction on an awesome scale that is still standing and usable – the rest was very determinedly destroyed in 1539 (not quite a match for Treebeard and the ents at Isengard, but a fairly thorough piece of destruction!). There are some very interesting exhibits within the church.

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Thisb door is not used – there is a side door for access to the inside of the church.

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A splendid looking organ.

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Several different styles of arch in one building.

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Carvings on a bench (2)

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the bench.

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THE RUINS

Outside the church there is a substantial area covered by ruins:

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The brickwork at the top and bottom of this picture is reminiscent of genuine Byzantine churches in Southern Greece.

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LUNCH

Having finished at the priory and the shop selling local produce (including raw – i.e. unpasteurised – milk from the local cattle, not available in quantities of less than a litre, which since it only stays good for a maximum of four days is too much to be worth buying) we headed to the village pub for lunch.

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The first good sign at the pub was that it had three beers, two decent and one excellent, on tap. The food looked good as well, and while we were waiting for it to arrive there was what I chose to interpret as a further good sign, a delivery from a supplier based in nearby Fakenham. The food turned out to be excellent and we went on our way happy.

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The village sign.
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The pub.

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Two decent beers either side of one excellent one – a good start.
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A pint of Ghost Ship, a magnificent drink, especially if the weather is warm.

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HOLT

We did not spend long in Holt, a few minutes exploring and photographing, ending in the shoe shop, where I bought a pair of what looked like excellent walking shoes (more about them in a later post).

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Buses going in opposite directions.
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Bakers & Larners – a survivor from a bygone age, an independent department store.

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A tour bus.

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A list of the Bakers of Bakers and Larners
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The pair of shoes – can you identify their many plus points from this picture (all will be revealed in my next post)?

Downham Market

A photographic account of Downham Market, an old market town in Norfolk.

INTRODUCTION

As those of you who read the post I put up earlier today will know I spent part of Saturday in the town of Downham Market. These post showcases everything I saw there other than the Town Hall. 

THE STATION

This was my first visit to Downham Market, as opposed to passing through the station en route to further afield destinations. The pictures here were taken at two distinct periods, in the morning immediately post arrival, and in the afternoon when I had rather more time to kill than I would have wished. The only way across the tracks at Downham Market is by way of a level crossing, and the train from London to King’s Lynn arrives just before the one going the other way. The crossing gates close a couple of minutes before the King’s Lynn train arrives and stay closed until the London train has departed, which means that if you are looking to catch the King’s Lynn train, which departs from the far platform from the town centre and the crossing gates close you have missed it, and such was my fate on Saturday. For those affected this also explains both my later than usual arrival at the venue for Musical Keys and the fact that I was a tad breathless when I got there – I had stepped off a train at 15:20 at King’s Lynn and walked straight out to the Scout Hut in something of a hurry.

London ConnectionsRailway MapGNNGN

signal box
The signal box at Downham Market
Station building
The station building – very impressive, and I was to discover quite typical of 19th century Downham Market buildings in the use of Carr (the brown coloured stone).
Local Map
A handy little map for working out one’s route from the station.
Terrace
I reckon (though I am opne to correction) that this little terrace was built to accommodate railway workers.
Bennett & Son
This building is visible from the station platform.

Date stone

THE REST OF DOWNHAM MARKET

I start with two pictures to set the scene, a huge pictorial map which can be seen in the town centre and the information board about the railway:

Giant MapThe Railway 1

The ‘Downham’ part of Downham Market comes from Anglo-Saxon (afterall, we are in the lands of the North Folk of the East Angles) and literally means ‘homestead on a hill’, and indeed the market town that grew up around that homestead (it has been a market town since Anglo-Saxon times) is slightly elevated from the surrounding countryside, which in Norfolk constitutes being on a hill! These photos are presented in the order in which they were taken.Georgian housePedimentDoorShelley CottageSemi-detachedbirdStone shieldGarden CentreThe Railway 2Garden Centre 2Garden Centre 3sunclock 1sunclock 2The Railway close up 1Railway Close Up 2The Railway close up 37098Sculpture 1Sculpture 2Temple like buildingBlocked windowDate plaque 1Date plaque 2

Info signs
There will be more about Civray in the next section.

InfoGiant MapsignsShopClock 1FountainMP sculptedStone bird82 Bridge Street

CIVRAY

I realised that there could be only one explanation for a signpost in cengtral Downham Market giving the distance to the town of Civray, namely that the two towns are twinned. Civray for the record is pretty much exactly halfway between Poitiers and Angouleme, due east of La Rochelle. I include a map as well as a close up of the sign.

Civray 628Civray

 

The Aspi.blog 2018 Wall Calendar

Announcing the new calendars.

INTRODUCTION

Producing a photographic wall calendar has become a tradition for this blog, and courtesy of a magnificent offer at Vistaprint (25 calendars plus postage for £129) this year’s are now on order (eta with me October 25th). The rest of this post gives you a preview.

THE CALENDARS

Most of the pictures for this calendar come from my Scottish holiday, so they do no relate to particular months. There are one or two exceptions as you will see.

This is the locomotive that pulled the Jacobite train when I travelled it.
The January picture features the Skye Bridge
This shot was taken on the journey from Plockton to Applecross – it was nominated by Oglach, who blogs at natriobloidi.wordpress.com
This classic stone bridge can be seen on the Isle of Skye. 
One of the minority of pictures in this calendar that was not taken in Scotland.
Back to Scotland, with this paddle steamer.
This picture was taken in June – another Scottish classic.
Bawsey Abbey, taken on July 27th – nominated by my mother.
This was taken during an NAS West Norfoilk organised trip to a beach hut at Old Hunstanton.
Lock Gates, captured through the window of the Jacobite train, near Fort William.
Boats near Plockton, through the window of the train from Kyle of Lochalsh to Inverness (nominated by my aunt Celia)
A view of Kyle of Lochalsh from above.
A section of the Glenfinnan Viaduct (the actual viaduct over which the Hogwarts Express passes in the films).

The Gaywood River

An account of an educational event about the Gaywood River that took place in the Scout Hut on Beulah Street on Sunday.

INTRODUCTION

I have had a very busy few days, which is why there have been no new posts here since Saturday. I will mention my activities since Monday in later posts, but this post is solely concerned with the activity that dominated (in a good way) my Sunday. At the end of this post I will be including a variety of links related in various ways to its content. Here is a map showing the course of the Gaywood River:

FINDING OUT ABOUT THE EVENT

I got an email from my aunt a few days before the event was due to happen explaining her role in it and asking if I wished to meet her there and go back to hers for sausage and chips or if I would prefer a saturday supper. I decided that the event could be quite interesting, so I opted for the former course of action.

GETTING THERE

Since the event was taking place at the Scout Hut on Beulah Street, which is on the bank of the Gaywood (Beulah Street ends in a bridge that crosses the Gaywood into the car park that serves the Scout Hut) I was going to walking, and since it was a bright, sunny morning I decided on an extended route. Leaving my flat I headed across Baker Lane Car Park to the bridge over the upper Purfleet, heading across King Street to the north bank of the lower Purfleet. Here are some photos from that early part of the walk:

Moorhensigull with spread wings

From there I followed the line of the Great Ouse as far as my favourite cormorant observation point…

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…before heading round by way of All Saint’s Church to the Library and entering the parkland area, following the Broadwalk until the path through the Vancouver Garden splits off from it, when I followed that and then the path out of the Vancouver Garden that joins the Tennyson Road end of St John’s Walk, at which point I was back on what would be the officially recommended walking route to Gaywood. There were squirrels about (in King’s Lynn only the grey ‘bushy-tailed rat’ variety as opposed to the red ‘Squirrel Nutkin” variety), though it is not always easy to get good photos of them…

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Moorhen Chick
This picture and the next feature the heavily sculpted segment of the Gaywood River that passes through the parkland.

Moorhen parent and child

Traini
Apart from photograph opportunities the other plus side to being held up a by a train at the Tennyson Road level crossing is that you can cross the road itself in perfect safety as the cars are all stationary.

trainii

From Tennysod Road I followed the footpath the runs between the King Edward VII Academy and the Lynn Academy to Gaywood Road, which I crossed, then crossing the Gaywood on a pedestrian bridge before following its bank all the way to the Scout Hut. 

Butterfly
Although darker than their usual colouring I think from the markings that this is a peacock butterfly.
Gaywood river
A section of the Gaywood River

AT THE SCOUT HUT

Immediately outside the Scout Hut the Gaywood Valley Conservation Group had a gazebo and display boards (it was there that I took the photo that appears in the introduction). 

GazeboDisplay boardGaywood Valley 1LeafletsDisplay BoardGaywood Valley 2Gaywood Hidden HeritageGaywood Valley 3Display Board

Inside the hut was the Civic Society Stall, a cake stall, and various river related learning activities (colouring in pictures of river creatures for the artistically minded, an A-Z quiz of which more later). Although it was not the first thing I looked at, because it was my aunt’s reason for being there I start with…

THE CIVIC SOCIETY STALL

They were looking for people who knew about the history of the Gaywood river, because information boards will be going up at various points along it. They already had some good stuff, but wanted more.

Civic Soc display boardCS1CS2CS3CS4183818101960Wall DisplayMKBUrban Trees

Now we turn out attention to…

THE REST OF THE INDOOR ACTIVITIES

The cake stand looked awesome but discipline prevailed, and I did not sample any of the products. Although it was not really aimed at people my age I did the quiz, and predictably got all the answers in short order. The colouring proved popular, and many of the coloured creatures were then stuck on to a large picture of a river on the wall of the hut.

Quiz
I will reveal the answers (just in case anyone did not get them all) in a later post.

Colouring sheetsWall riverCakescolouring table

That is the inside stuff finished, but there was also plenty going on…

IN THE BACK GARDEN

There were two major centres of activity in the back garden, and I make my first port of call there, as I did on the day, at…

THE NORFOLK WILDLIFE TRUST GAZEBO

The Norfolk Wildlife Trust were showing children how to make portable ‘bug hotels’, and they also had a natural history display including a folder full of photographs of animals, and a stash of leaflets, to which I may return in a later post. 

NWTNH1NH3NH2NH4NH5NH6NH7NH8NH9NH10NH11NH12NH13NH14NH15NH16NH17NH18NH19NH20NH21NH22NH23NH24NH25NH26NH27NH28NH29NH30NH31NH32NH33NH34NH35NH36skull

We now come to what was for me the best of all the exhibits, courtesy of…

THE NORFOLK RIVERS TRUST

There were two parts to this exhibit. The minor part was display showing graphically how different treatment of land in the winter affects the soil:

Winter demo 1
These three models were side by side demonstrating what happens to soil when there is nothing there at all – gets washed straight into the river)…
Farm demo 2
When there are dead leaves covering it – still lots of it ends up in the river…
Farm demo 3
…and what happens when something suitable is planted – note the much clearer water at the end – most of this soil remains in place.

The second part of this display was a living exhibit from the river – two large buckets of river water with creatures that naturally live in it there to be seen (the amount of dissolved sediment in the water, the small size of these creatures and the fact that some of them live on the bottom of the river means that this the only way to make them visible). There was also a small sample dish which the person running the exhibit used to show as very small curiosities…

Caddis House
This is one of nature’s smallest houses – within it is a caddis fly larva, and at some point the adult fly will emerge.
Stickleback
The next three shots are of small sticklebacks.

Stickleback 2Stickleback 3

Gudgeon 1
This was described as a gudgeon, but looks different to the other gudgeons we will see later. The silvery sheen to its scales suggests a dace to my eyes.

Water shot

Stickleback 4
I am not sure what this piebald fish is, though it could be a stickleback.

Water shot 2

Sample dish
This shot of the sample dish showing the thumbnail of the dxemonstrator reveals just how tiny that Caddis fly home actually is – it was in this same dish that I saw it.

Water shot 3Water shot 4Water shot 5SaladsPond animals

Gudgeons1
Two gudgeons in the second bucket – note that as would be the case in the river they are at the bottom.

Gudgeons 2Water shot 6two sticklebacksWater shot 7Water shot 8Water shot 9

There was also a story teller outside…

Story

LINKS

To start this section we look at organisations who were actually involved in some way or other with this event:

Now we have a few science and nature websites:

  • Wildlife & Planet – interesting stuff about wildlife from all over the world.
  • WEIT – the website that grew out of Jerry Coyne’s classic book Why Evolution is True. 
  • Science Whys – the blog of Brandeis biology professor James Morris.
  • Rationalising the Universe – sets about accomplishing the big task laid out in its title and does a good job of it.
  • Faraday’s Candle – a science website that will really illuminate your life.

I conclude this section by mentioning a couple of bloggers who regularly feature nature in their work:

  • Cindy Knoke – keen photographer and nature lover. Below is the feature image from (and link to) her most recent post:
  • Anna – her posts about fighting to save nature in her part of the world are always inspiring, and her two recent series of posts “Paradise on Earth” and “Butterflies in Trosa” are both stunning. Below is the feature image from (and link to) her most recent butterfly post.

CONCLUSION

This was an excellent event and I learned a good deal about the history and nature of the Gaywood River. I have one kvetch which is that the event was poorly publicised – I only found out about it through my aunt and then only a few days before it was happening, meaning that anyone else I might have alerted would almost certainly have had other plans. If half of you have enjoyed this post even half as much as I enjoyed the event I have done a good job. I finish by urging you to take the time to follow up those links.

 

 

The Six Nations and Some Sunday Shares

Some thoughts on round two of the 2017 six nations, and a few Sunday shares.

INTRODUCTION

Yesterday saw the first two matches in round two of the 2017 Six Nations. This afternoon Scotland and France will fight out the final game of the weekend.

ENGLAND SQUEEZE PAST WALES

In the women’s match which preceded this England won 63-0, which gave them 89 unanswered points in their last 120 minutes of rugby (they were 0-13 down at half-time against France last week).

Wales dominated the men’s match for long periods, but too often did not turn pressure into points and eventually a 77th minute try put England in front for the first and only time of the match. England have not been all that impressive in either of their matches to date, but is the mark of champions to find a way to win even when not playing well.

IRELAND THRASH ITALY

Ireland were always in control of this match, with two players (Stander and Gilroy) recording hat tricks of tries. For the first hour the scoreline was semi-respectable but then the floodgates opened and the Irish winning margin mushroomed to over 50 points.

Two matches in to this tournament it is hard to see Italy doing anything other than bring up the rear, a long way adrift of the rest.

SOME SUNDAY SHARES

We start the shares with a couple of public transport related bits…

THE GREED OF THE PRIVATE RAIL COMPANIES

Private operators have creamed of more than £3.5 billion in profits from running Britain’s railways over the last ten years, while services get worse and prices go up. Click on the image below to read in more detail, courtesy of AOL:

Rail firms' £3.5billion profit despite passengers' fury at dire service

AN EXTENSION FOR THE BAKERLOO LINE

The extension, from Elephant & Castle to Lewisham is expected to open in 2028-9. Click on the image below to read the Time Out piece in full. I have already pressed a link on to my London transport themed website and will be writing about it in more detail in due course.

TfL has revealed where the new Bakerloo line stations will be

THE WENSUM VALLEY UNDER THREAT

The Wensum Valley is a very beautiful part of Norfolk, but a malign group of ‘planners’ are putting this beauty at risk – they intend to send a big new road through the heart of it. Please watch the video below to see what we are seeking to protect:

A COUPLE OF REGULARS

Another reminder that James and Sons next auction is on the 20th, 21st and 22nd of February, the first two days at our shop, the third at the Maids Head Hotel, Norwich. Click on the image below, from lot 891, to view a full catalogue…

891-a

Finally, the Autism Awareness Cup 2017 will be taking place at Ingoldisthorpe Social Club on June 4th. Click on the image below to visit the website.

Musical Keys and Imaging

An account of today at work and yesterday at Musical keys.

INTRODUCTION

This post has two very disparate strands – yesterday’s Musical Keys event for Autistic People and tody at work.

IMAGING

While I have imaged a wide variety of stuff today at work I am going to concentrate on some commemorative coin lots that were of particular quality…

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353
I did not have time to provide close-ups of all these coins…
353-a
…so I selected the one featuring a picture of Nelson (we are in Norfolk after all) for the treatmnent.

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354
This lot featured an extra requirement.
354-a
Namely providing a shot focussing on the coin and info sheet into which it is set.

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357
The last of the commemorative coins.

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510
A large collection of themed stamp books.

510-a510-b

511
Inidvidual mounted stamps
511-a
A close up of a single set
511-b
an even close up of two individual stamps.

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667
Old maps…

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689
… and an even older map to finish

MUSICAL KEYS

The 12 years and older session of the Musical Keys workshop run as an NAS West Norfolk activity started at 4:45PM yesterday and ran until 6:15PM. I was there both as participant and as one 0f the two designated committee members to be present at the event (the other was group leader Karan whose younger son was participating). As usual with Musical Keys the main piece of equipment we were using was a miniature computer:

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For the first part of the session we were playing computer drums:

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After a mid-session break during which a birthday cake which Karan had very kindly made (gluten-free as her son has an adverse reaction to gluten) and which was absolutely delicious, we moved on to the second part of the session, which featured a system whereby lines had to be drawn across the screen so that balls would bounce of them to create sounds. For those of my generation it looks a bit like a very early BBC Micro game!

As anyone who knows what the weather was like in King’s Lynn yesterday early evening will be aware it was not suitable for photography on the way to the Scout Hut, where as so often with NAS West Norfolk events this took place, but I did get this picture on the way home…

DSCN6343

More Than 1,000 Species Found in a Day at Brancaster

Acknowledgements to the Eastern Daily Press for this story of local diversity…

From dusk ‘til dawn, volunteers scoured 25 nature reserves and beauty spots to see how many species they could record there.

And now, with the results all in and analysed, the winners can be revealed: with Norfolk sites in the top two spots. The so-called “Bioblitz” study was carried out by the National Trust at 25 of its coastal sites in England, Scotland and Northern Ireland.

The surveys were carried out over 24 hours, with volunteers scouring their patches for species, to see how many they could find in the time.

The location with the greatest number of species was the Brancaster estate, where 1,018 were recorded. In second place was Blakeney nature reserve, with 934 species. The Brancaster Bioblitz took place in July. Keith Miller, coastal ranger at Brancaster, said: “We only had 24 hours to survey wildlife. I used every single one. From surveying for owls at midnight to leading bat walks for families the following evening.

Source: Eastern Daily Press