Scotland 2022: The River Shiel and Tioram Castle

An account of a riverside walk centred on a 13th century ruined castle.

Those who read my first post in this series will not be surprised that following the events of Saturday we were all too knackered to do anything active on Sunday. Thus this post deals with Monday’s activity, a (mainly) riverside walk with Tioram Castle as its centre piece.

The River Shiel

For the first part of our walk we followed the road, but fortunately we were then able to divert on to a well made track following the river bank. The river Shiel is stunningly scenic, and as you will be seeing it has some quite interesting currents and whirlpools. Tioram Castle, a 13th century ruin that one cannot actually enter is located where the Shiel flows into Loch Shiel, a sea loch (for reference, what the Scots call a sea loch the Norwegians call a fjord). Here are some photos from the outward journey…


The castle is approached across a causeway, and then along a path that is tricky in places. Here are some pictures to end this post…

An A-Z of Me

A personal A-Z, inspired by a post on The Cornish Maid.


This post was inspired by The Cornish Maid’s post “A-Z about Me!!!“. Like the post I have just referenced there will be one entry for each letter…



I am autistic myself, and also branch secretary of NAS West Norfolk. This entry is a very appropriate starting point because it was my diagnosis and the role I then had running a support group for Asperger East Anglia that led me to create this blog. 


I have always loved books, and am a very voracious reader. In addition to my own collection I am a regular user of several of Norfolk’s libraries, and yes I do use them to borrow books. 


I have been an enthusiastic follower of cricket for over 3o years (my attempts at playing the game foundered on a chronic lack of talent). The fact that my employers had an auction yesterday and have another on Saturday means that I am off work today, and therefore able to listen both installments of the Women’s T20 double header. Here is the feature image from Saturday’s upcoming auction:



This is an extension of my love of books as a whole. I regularly borrow large quantities of detective ficition from thbe libraries. Among my very favourites are Edward Marston’s Railway Detective stories.


The village in West Norfolk where I began to rebuild my life after mental health issues had nearly destroyed me. I lived there for just over five years and was a regular visitor until my parents recently moved to Cornwall.


I have travelled on many ferries in my lifetime, but the one I particularly think of nowadays is the Lynn Ferry which has been running for over 800 years.

Ferry 2


I first visited Greece for a family holiday about 35 years ago and have been back mnay times. It remains a favourite holiday location. I have produced a number of posts about my most recent visit.



One of the many subjects I enjoy reading about. One of the reasons I enjoy going to Greece so much is the presence of so many historic sites.


I have been a staunch atheist for my entire adult life. For those who take the approach that the Northern Ireland census form used to I am a “catholic atheist” – that being the specific religion that I rejected. To paraphrase Richard Dawkins most people are as atheist as me about almost every god who has ever been believed in – I just go one god further than they do.


I love travelling, and being a lifelong non-driver am able to make good use of almost all my journeys – if the route is not familiar to me I will be observing the scenery and taking photographs, and if it is it represents reading time.
Major bridge from 37,000 feet up

Kernow is the Cornish name for Cornwall (this is the only entry in my A-Z that overlaps with The Cornish Maid’s), and although unlike the person who inspired this post I do not live there I have been there a number of times over the years and my parents have recently moved to that part of the world. It is a Cornish picture that appears on the reverse of my personal cards:

framed lighthouse


I grew up in London, and still visit the place on occasion. Also, I run a London Transport themed website, I will be back in London during the latter part of next week, for Marxism 2018 which runs from Thursday to Sunday. 

Crossing the the Thames


Another lifelong interest, and something that I am very good at. Here is a frecnet problem from that took my fancy:



Nature has always been very important to me, and I love being out and about in nature with my camera for company. My name is often to be found among those supporting campaigns to protect nature, and as a thoroughgoing internationalist I take pride in having been the first non-Swede to sign the online petition to save Trosa nature.

A spectacular creature, presumably some form of dragonfly.


Because of their shape many cricket grounds have Oval in their name. The two with which I am most familiar are The Oval, in South London not very far from where I grew up, and served by two stations, Oval and Vauxhall; and the Adelaide Oval, which owes its name to a transplanted Surreyite who suggested it because he wanted to be reminded of home.  Of the innings I have seen live at the ground the most memorable at either of these two venues was played by David Gower in 1990. England could do no better than draw the game, which as it happened was enough to give them the series. Gower made 157 in that innings, and by the time he was out the draw had long since been secured.


This is a hobby of mine, and also something I do at work. Here are some recent pictures:

Black Headed Gull III
Three recent bird pictures

Moorhen IIITwo moorhens

This was lot 840 at yesterday’s auction – some good tools but the box being solid iron makes for an extremely heavy item.


Lot 2188 in Saturday’s upcoming auction.


With my eclectic interests and retentive memory I am pretty good at quizzes (unless they are overloaded with questions about pop music), and generally enjoy taking part.


Railways are one of my special interests. I have travelled on railways in many different countries and have also built up a decent collection of railwayana. I may add to my collection on Saturday. 



These are two of my favourite countries to visit, both very scenic. I could find no way to split them so I have decided to honour both places.I have produced a number of posts about both Sweden and Scotland. Here are a couple of pics: through the window 2A view from Strome Castle, Scotland

DSCN9318This river is in Northern Sweden.


Yes – another cricket related entry. T20 (where each side bats for 20 overs) has been a great success since its introductiuon in 2003. However the new 100-balls per side competition is being too clever by half (and consigning the County Championship to the start and end of the season when conditions are least suitable for long form cricket). 


I find it fascination reading theories about our universe, its possible origins and its possible place in a wider cosmos. I also find the history of how we moved from considering our planet to be at the centre of a fixed universe to recognising it as pale blue dot (hat tip to Carl Sagan who wrote a book of that title) in the immensity of the cosmos to be fascinating.


One of the things I enjoy about my current job is that there is plenty of variety there. I am firmly in the camp of those who say that variety is the spice of life.


Jerry Coyne’s 2009 book with that title remains a firm favourite (along with his more recent Faith versus Fact), and it is also the title of a blog run by Professor Coyne that I follow. 


As I near the end of this post I exhort you to produce your own version – it is time consuming but fun. You have seen my version, and if you followed the opening link you have seen the version that inspired me to take on this challenge – now go and do likewise!


This is a bit of a cheat – it is my way of mentioning the game of Bridge which is a firm favourite of mine. A yarborough is a hand with no card higher than a nine and 4-3-3-3 distribution, and is named in honour of Lord Yarborough who had all bridge players at his house contribute a guinea to a kitty, while if someone had the misfortune to be dealt the hand that now bears his name they got 1,000 guineas (he was on to a winner – the actual odds against the hand coming up are 1827 to 1). I do not get to play very often but I am a pretty good player of the game.


A zoom lens can be a real boon for a photographer (my current camera has a zoom capacity of up to 60X) – a little tip from experience is to not stretch the zoom lens right to its limits – leave a bit of space around whatever you are photographing (you can always crop it out during the editing process). This post was inspired by a Cornish blogger, so I end with a Cornish picture.

St Michael's Mount and Flying Gull


Emails and Cameras

An account of a day at James and Sons, including my first public mention of a new project, some important links and some photographs from in and around King’s Lynn.


Welcome to this post about yesterday at James and Sons. I also have some pictures from King’s Lynn and a few links to share.


Today there were two bulk emails to dispatch., The first was a straight forward email to everyone living within a sensible distance of the locations concerned about the two fairs that James and Sons take part in every month. The second, following instructions relayed by a colleague was a targeted email about our auction for buyers of Medals and Militaria. I chose as well as altering the strapline of the email to create a new graphic featuring military themed items only , and as a matter of necessity I very carefully made sure that the list of recipients for this email did not include any of those who had received the one I sent out on Friday. Here are the images involved…


This was the image I decided to use.
This was the image I decided to use.

Militaria IMG2 Militaria IMG 499 451 448 447 440


As well as my usual duties connected with an auction, and my role running the database, and my role doing press releases and my unofficial role as in-house “Gordianus” (Gordianus is Stephen Saylor’s central character in his Roma Sub Rosa series and has the nickname “the finder”) I have yet another area os responsibility relating to our 28th October auction – we have received a car load of vintage cameras, and I will be responsible for catalogiuing them, as well as for producing the images. I have made a start on this new project, and the images will give you an idea of my approach…

This lot are just about worth listing as a boxful.
This lot are just about worth listing as a boxful.

A close up of the Thornton Pickard name.
A close up of the Thornton Pickard name.

Camera open and ready for action.
Camera open and ready for action.

Closed case - ready for carrying
Closed case – ready for carrying

This is the star item of the collection thus far (and likely to remain so - I have given it a deliberately conservative estimate of £60-80 - there is one without the case, instructions and accessories on the net at 119.99) This is one of four images I took of this item.
This is the star item of the collection thus far (and likely to remain so – I have given it a deliberately conservative estimate of £60-80 – there is one without the case, instructions and accessories on the net at 119.99) This is one of four images I took of this item.

point and click Kodak Mixed EKF EKF -b

A genuine antique, should attract some inetrest.
A genuine antique, should attract some inetrest.


Interesting again, but not worth a huge amount.
Interesting again, but not worth a huge amount.

Coronet Rapide

This is of an interesting type, and comes in its original carrying case.
This is of an interesting type, and comes in its original carrying case.

boxed mixed BN2b BN2a

This image and the next two are all of a camera that is worth selling singly only because of its antiquity and the fact that it is still in its original box.
This image and the previous two are all of a camera that is worth selling singly only because of its antiquity and the fact that it is still in its original box.


I have three things to share in this section, starting with…


The title of this subsection refers to the actions of the Student’s Union at Warwick University. An ex-Muslim named Maryam Namazie had been invited to speak at the university about why she had abandoned her religious faith and other related matters. Some idiot within the Students Union then decided that there was “a danger of her inciting hatred” and barred her from coming. A petition was quickly organised on to get the S.U to reverse this appalling decision, and with strong international support, notably from the team at whyevolutionisttrue it has duly been overturned. I have three links for you to gain further information…

  1. The original petition
  2. The official declaration of victory.
  3. A final word on the case from whyevolutionistrue.


This is an update on a long running campaign. Apparently many MPs who have been contacted about this (and I did not deem it worth my while to contact my own MP given how obvious it is where he will stand) have been sending form replies about the vote in favour of retaining FPTP at the last referendum. This is calculatedly dishonest, since at that referendum FPTP was not being tested against PR, but against a system called AV (although I made a point of voting for the latter so that my opposition to FPTP was a matter of record). Thus, I have two links and, courtesy of George Aylett on twitter, a splendid infographic to share with you:



This is a three-and-a-half minute you-tube video created by Autism-Mom and her son, the Navigator (it is more hearing than seeing, as neither are ever actually in shot, but there is some good text accompaniment to the voices). Please view this video by clicking here.


I finish this post by sharing some of my recent pictures from around King’s Lynn…

DSCN6205 DSCN6207 DSCN6227 DSCN6228 DSCN6230 DSCN6232 DSCN6233 DSCN6234 DSCN6238 DSCN6241 DSCN6242 DSCN6243

These pics from here until the second to last are from yesterday morning before work.
These pics from here until the second to last are from yesterday morning before work.

DSCN6253 DSCN6254 DSCN6257 DSCN6260 DSCN6264 DSCN6265 DSCN6269 DSCN6271 DSCN6274

This pumpkin field is near Knight's Hill, just beyond comfortable walking distance from the town centre - I took this from the top deck of an X8 bus.
This pumpkin field is near Knight’s Hill, just beyond comfortable walking distance from the town centre – I took this from the top deck of an X8 bus.

From yesterday evening, part of the light show at King's Lynn Minster.
From yesterday evening, part of the light show at King’s Lynn Minster.