Some Autism Related Events

Information about various autism related events coming up in the future, plus a few extra links.


I have a few other things to share as well, but the focus of this post is on some information I have just received by way of NAS West Norfolk.


This came to me formatted as a word document – and as well as the screenshot below I have included a link to the original:



This event is taking place at the John Innes Centre, which is located close to the University of East Anglia, a little outside town (though there are regular bus services from central Norwich to UAE). Below the flyer I have included a screenshot from google maps.



This is taking place on June 4th, at Ingoldisthorpe Social Club. For more information, and/ or to support by the event by liking and sharing its facebook page click the image below:

Image may contain: sky, outdoor and nature


Not long ago a case involving one of Britain’s leading bus companies went to the supreme court, where it was established that bus companies, and by extension bus drivers are legally obliged to grant access to wheelchair bound passengers. Therefore, this story from disabledgo about an incident in Wakefield where the driver not only refused to allow on a wheelchair bound passenger but then allowed/ encouraged passengers to blame the wheelchair user for the subsequent delay looks even worse than normal. 


This next piece comes from To read it please click the image below:



This piece, titled “Big Wheels Old and New”, showcases seven of the lots going under the hammer at James and Sons’ next auction, which feature the Gigantic Wheel that stood at Earls Court between 1895 and 1906, while also mentioning the London Eye. Click on the picture of lot 1286 to view my piece and the picture of lot 1295 below it to view a full auction catalogue:



Earlier today I featured a superb post by Heather Hastie on this subject. Sam Harris, distinguished author of many fine books such as “The End of Faith”, “Letter to a Christian Nation” and “The Moral Landscape” has produced his take on this issue, which you can read here.


James and Sons July Auction

An account of yesterday’s auction, complete with photos, a link to a book review and a (well-merited) swipe at Stagecoach.


This is my account of the latest auction held by my employers, James and Sons, which took place yesterday at the Maid’s Head Hotel in Norwich.


Stagecoach, who have subsumed Norfolk Green, have very recently and without anything approaching proper communication cut a large number of services. One casualty of this piece of axe wielding is the 6:10 AM from King’s Lynn to Fakenham, which used to become the 6:55 from Fakenham to Norwich, and would see me arrive at the venue around about 8am, as needed. Fortunately, having been alerted to the mayhem while at work on Tuesday I had the foresight to check the timetables posted at King’s Lynn Bus Station and was able to come up with a back-up plan – I bought a single ticket on the X1 to Dereham and Norwich which is run by First Eastern Counties, departing at 5:55am and was in Norwich at the appointed time. This single fare and the single fare back from Fakenham (having travelled from Norwich to Fakenham as a passenger in the company van) amounted to £10 between them (£6 and £4 respectively) instead of £5.50 for a Dayrider Plus, to say nothing of the uncertainty created by the ham-fisted way in which these cuts were made. Surely if significant cuts to services are to be made (and I consider cutting what was the first bus of the morning on a particular route to be significant on its own – and I also know that half of the services that used to run between Fakenham and Norwich have been axed) the announcement should be made long in advance of the cuts happening, and every bus travelling on an affected route should be well stocked with new timetables that accurately reflect the planned reduction in services. Also, especially given the parlous state of public transport services in Norfolk, I consider any cuts to be unacceptable in any case.


With people arriving to view stuff not long after we had got there, there was not a lot of scope laying stuff out artistically, especially given how much of it there was, but a couple of areas were reasonably well done nevertheless…

Part of the toy display – inside that suitcase marked is lot 363 was a large collection of items of rolling stock.
A little cluttered, but at least the three smartest hats got due prominence.


I am glad to be able to report that there were no IT issues at any stage of the sale. While the coins & tokens, some of the militaria and some of the ephemera sold well, the stamps did not go well, and the vinyls did less well than we would have liked.

Once the auction finished we picked out all the stuff that had sold to bidders not in the room, loaded the van up for the return journey and were able to head back. I was able to catch the 17:38 rather than have the dicey prospect of relying on the 18:35 not having been cut (if they can cut the first bus of the day, why not the last?). However, I was not yet at liberty to relax – there was still the matter of watering a few plants at Hampton Court, Nelson Street. Thus, it was almost exactly 14 hours after I had left my flat that my time was my own again.


There are two members of James and Sons staff who can manage the IT during the auction, so we swap duties during the day (auction days are the only time I regularly do front-line customer service). My colleague did an IT session between lots 200 and 300, at which point we had a scheduled break. I then did the first 75 lots after the break, before swapping for 100 lots or so, for a period when a few things I was interested in were coming up, before I then went back to IT duties until the end of the sale.

The first items that I was interested in were five sets of railway postcards, lots 391-5:


These as expected went beyond my possible price range. Next to command attention was lot 403, a book of views of Cambridge:


Again, to no great surprise this rapidly went beyond my price range.

The next items of interest were some antique maps, which I was fully aware I would not be able to afford but enjoyed seeing go under the hammer. This set the stage for the last lot to command my interest, and unlike any of the foregoing it was one that I was determined to get if at all possible. Lot 450, “The Bus We Loved: London’s Affair With the Routemaster”, was not an item that I as someone who runs a London transport themed website could happily countenance going elsewhere. There was a mini bidding war as someone else was also interested, but when I went to £10 that secured the item. For more about the book please visit my review of it that is on my website.



Yesterday was a very demanding day, both physically and mentally. However, everything went fairly smoothly. Given the Stagecoach schemozzle referred to earlier, the travel element of the day was as good as I could have hoped for.



An Eulerian Birthday

A distinctive (I hope) way to mark the occasion of my 41st birthday.


Today is my birthday, which is the last part of the title explained, so where does the word “Eulerian” come in?


For all his immense output Leonhard Euler (pronouned “Oiler”, not “Ewe-ler”) is best known to the world at large for his solution to the “Bridges of Konigsberg” conundrum. Citizens of this then German town (it is now Kaliningrad, Russia) used to amuse themselves by trying to walk around the town crossing each of its seven bridges once and once only in the course of their peregrinations. Nobody ever managed it, and Euler (pioneering the science of topology, a minor offshoot of which is the “Beck Map”, versions of which are now used worldwide as an easy way to display urban public transport routes, in the process) proved that there was no way to do this. This is because each the four landmasses involved contained an odd number of bridgeheads – had specifically two (and it could have been any two), or all four of these landmasses contained even numbers of bridgeheads it would have been possible to devise a walking route using each bridge precisely once.

Much less well known than the above, Euler also noticed that if you feed values into the equation Y = X2 + X + 41 every value of X from 0 through to 39 produces a prime number for Y, and even after the inevitable break to the sequence where X = 40 produces Y = 1681 = 41 * 41, and X = 41 produces Y = 1763 = 41 * 43, the formula continues to produce a very large number of prime numbers – far more than any other formula of similar type. This then is why I described this an Eulerian birthday – it is my 41st. A clue to bear in mind for next year’s birthday is that the person who will play the role in my blog post on that day that Euler has played today was proud of the fact that he was born in Cambridge in 1953 and had initials DNA. More details, including a full listing of the primes produced before X = 40, can be found in Keith Devlin’s “Mathematics: A New Golden Age”.


I have some pictures, mainly from today at work. These are presented as a ’tiled mosaic’ – click an individual image to view at full size.


Many people on both facebook and twitter have wished my a happy birthday and I thank all of you for so doing – the main celebration, a Sunday lunch at the Crown in East Rudham two days before the actual day was superb.





Welcome to this post about James and Sons‘ November auction, which took place on Wednesday.


I managed to catch my intended bus, departing King’s Lynn at 6:50, and at that time of the morning it was no great surprise to enjoy a clear run to Fakenham, alighting at Oak Street at 7:30. Fifteen minutes later I arrived at the auction venue, the Prince of Wales Stand at Fakenham Racecourse. I was the first James and Sons employee to arrive at the venue. I took a few pictures of the auction lots out an display…


In spite of a few technical hitches we got underway at our scheduled start time of 10AM, and the last lot went under the hammer at approximately 2:30PM, a little behind schedule because some of the lots attracted very  intense bidding (i.e for the right reason). I am going to cover a few of the truly outstanding highlights and a couple that were of personal interest…

LOT 34

This was a file of photographic negatives of 1940s vintage (approximately 800 pictures worth – I did a count in response to pre-auction query), estimated at a modest £10-20, it soared to an eye-popping £300, the result of an internet bidding war involving at least four people.


This Prince Edward’s Island halfpenny token was valued at £15-25. We knew that it was a rare item, but obviously it was much rarer than even we had supposed. A frenzied internet battle pushed the price up to a barely believable £410. Appropriately enough the successful bidder proved to be a Canadian.

LOT 452

We had suffered a disappointment in the militaria section, with irrefutable proof that what should have been the star item of the whole auction was actually a clever fake rather than the real deal. However, a couple of items fared well. This item, a collection of Arabian/ Ottoman empire medals attractively displayed in a glass fronted box had been valued at £45-60, but internet interest pushed the hammer price up to £190


LOT 481

This German Luftwaffe Pattern officer’s Sword was valued at £90-100 and sold after some lively bidding for £240.

Our next auction, on December 9th, consists entirely of militaria, specifically badges and cloth patches collected over a lifetime by a Suffolk gentleman. Unusually for a James and Sons auction it will be taking place at our shop, 5 Norwich Street, Fakenham, NR21 9AF

LOT 504

This splendid Kelly’s Map of Bucks (actually Buckinghamshire and Oxfordshire) dating from 1920 sold to yours truly for £18. More can be found in this post on my London transport themed website where it has been given a whole post to itself.


LOT 577

Whereas the bid I put in on lot 504 was made more  in hope than expectation, this item given its nature really had to end up in my possession, and duly did so. Like lot 504 it has a post to itself on my website.



A two stage process, beginning with getting the stock that was still at the racecourse (either unsold or sold to bidders who were not present to collect) back to the shop and concluding with transferring the rostrum and a few other items to our storage unit in Syderstone. This done, my colleague Andrew dropped me off in central Fakenham on his way home, and I had time for a well earned pint at the Bull Inn before catching the bus home, arriving back at my flat almost precisely twelve hours after having left in the morning.