A Tough Three Days

An account of a tough few days at work.

INTRODUCTION

James and Sons had auctions on Tuesday and Wednesday, and I was then back at work yesterday, doing various things. Also, as will be revealed in the course of this post something else came up after Tuesday’s auction.

TUESDAY

Tuesday’s auction was a specialist stamp sale, and what should have been a fairly quiet afternoon actually became the most stressful period of the week. 

THE AUCTION

I have already posted a report on both these auctions on the James and Sons website. This auction did not feature any headline making sales, although quite a bit of stuff did sell. I am going to focus on just three lots, starting with…

LOTS 794 AND 795

In the run up to this auction I fielded a query about these lots, providing images to an interested party. It was this very person who subsequently bought both lots. Here are the images I produced.

794795

LOT 966

This lot was one I had an eye on, and it was duly knocked down to me. I have lots of pictures of it, starting with the images I produced for public consumption, continuing with some images from during the auction the feature it and ending with the ones I took of it today.

966
A six image gallery from work

966-a966-b966-c966-d966-e

Folder close-up
Displayed at the auction – next to it is lot 959.
Philately layout
The full display (most of the big albums were left upstairs)>
P1120460
A close-up shot taken at the same time.
P1120466
Lot 966 displayed on the big screen
SJI
Note the insert, which tells us what this cover is all about – this is the first of the images I took today.

SJIIISJIISJIVSJVISJVIISJVIIISJIXSJV

AFTER THE FIRST AUCTION

Having consumed my sandwiches I sought to update our website and discovered that it had been suspended due to a malware attack. This necessitated getting it professionally cleaned, and also arranging for it to protected in future. An hour and a half of exchanges with technical support staff at sitelock, discussions with my employer about which of various options we would go for, and a considerable amount of stress later the matter was settled, and I was able to head home knowing that the matter was being dealt with. At about 6PM I got an email sent to my personal email address confirming that the clean-up was complete and that they were informing Host Gator, who would reactivate the website. 

WEDNESDAY

In view of the information contained in the paragraph above it will be no surprise that I was determined to be at James and Sons early, and I managed to be on the 6:23AM bus, arriving in Fakenham not long after 7. A quick check up confirmed that the website was back up and running. It remained only for me to reset the password (one does not take chances when there has so recently been an issue of that nature) and do some editing. I then had plenty of time to help bring down auction lots for display and get the IT side of the auction up and running. 

This sale went well overall (see here for more details). There was however one serious annoyance. There had been a confusion over lots in the range of 165-200 and I had had to remove a lot of images from the-saleroom, and renumber them and upload them again. The screengrab below, taken from the ATG Media toolbox shows conclusively that I had done this, but nevertheless, when we came to those lots on the day the wrong images were in place. 

Toolbox screen

Here some images of the layout of this auction…

Wednesday main layout IIFishing rods and other tackleBilliards CuesWednesday main layout

POST AUCTION

One I dismantled the IT stuff and replace it all where it belongs, and then consumed my sandwiches, as I was able to get some more work done, editing the website and also updating the company database with details of online bidders. 

THURSDSAY

A quiet day, in which I completed the updating of our company database, started imaging for the end of April auctions and took some parcels to the Post Office. I now have the long weekend to recover from these three days, the first two of which were very draining.

 

 

Links, Puzzles, Pictures

Links, puzzles and pictures. Public transport features, as does some general politics, and mathematics. The pictures are of course my own.

INTRODUCTION

I have many links to share with you, and wilkl be setting a puzzle. I will be putting up another of my tree posts immediately after this one, so my pictures feature stuff other than trees.

PUBLIC TRANSPORT

This section comes in two parts, starting with…

NEWS FROM MY LONDON TRANSPORT WEBSITE

Just before lunchtime today I received the following email:

Dear Thomas.

I am writing regarding http://www.londontu.be 

My name is Andrew and I work for Nicola at Tour London. Nicola is a tour guide in London UK who takes individuals and groups to the most famous landmarks in London, as well as discovering hidden gems along the way! We were wondering if it were possible for us to appear on your “links” page in any way given that we share such a similar topic.

Alternatively would you be interested in content pieces? Nicola has a vast knowledge of London and would love to share it with your audience. 
Finally, If not content, do you have any other advertising opportunities?

I look forward to hearing from you.

Kind Regards,

Andrew | Marketing Executive
Tour London
Tourlondon.org.uk

 

Naturally, I was delighted to receive such a communication, and I have since put in some links, done a special post about this site and ‘pressed’ a couple of their pieces. Please visit londontu.be to read about this in more detail, and then explore tourlondon to see what they have to offer.

WE OWN IT – TRANSPORT

The campaign group weownit have created a resource with the catchy title Privatisation Fails. Below is a screenshot of the homepage for this resource:

pf

Of course, I followed up the bus and train links. Here is a paragraph from Privatisation Fails Buses:

Buses

30 years ago, our bus services were deregulated and privatised. This has been a disaster for our buses. Fares went up and routes that weren’t profitable were cut, meaning you now pay more for less.  In 2017, the Bus Service Users Bill was passed, which included a clause which bans local councils from creating their own public bus companies. 

On this page are the Big Five bus companies that grew out of deregulation and privatisation in the 1980s – together they control 70% of the bus travel industry in the UK. Many of these companies either own, or are owned by, rail companies as well.

Read more about bus services, and how and why we want to bring them into public ownership, here.

Next up comes Privatisation Fails Railways:

Railways

British Rail was broken up and privatised between 1994 and 1997, and since then rail services in the UK have been provided by private companies. There are 16 rail franchises in the UK, where the government gives train companies funding to run services for a certain period. 

Many of the companies that run our trains are European state-owned companies who reinvest millions of pounds a year in dividends from their British operations into their own transport systems. As you’ll see, these companies often own franchises within franchises. You might be surprised to learn who owns your morning commute! We’ve also listed three ‘ROSCOs’ or rolling stock companies, who lease trains to rail companies.

Read more about the privatisation of rail and what we can do about it here.

POLITICAL LINKS

Royal Mail workers have voted by a huge margin to take strike action. The official voting figures are:

Turnout 73.7%
Yes 89%
No 11%

This means that 65.593% of all those eligible to vote cast their vote in favour of strike action. I did this calculation myself, entirely in my head, but here for the record is how to get there…

Calling Turnout T and Yes votes Y and Overall Percent Yes as O we have O = TY/100. Putting the known figures into this we have O = (73.7 x 89)/100. To avoid decimals until absolutely necessary we change this to O = (737 x 89)/1000. To calculate 737 x 89 we can reduce to single figure calculations as follows:

737 x 89 = (700 x 89) + (30 x 89) + (7 x 89), and then splitting these up 700 x 89 = (700 x 80) + (700 x 9), 30 x 89 = (30 x 80) + (30 x 9) and 7 x 89 = (7 x 80) + (7 x 9). We now have a series of multiplications which can all be treated as single figure multiplications, with in some cases zeroes to be stuck on the end. Multiplying them out gives us 56,000 + 6,300 + 2,400 + 270 +560 + 63. Adding these together we get 65,593, and dividing by 1,000 requires a decimal point to go between the first and second five, giving us 65.593%. PS It took a lot longer writing this out than performing the calculations in my head!

I have two links for you about this vote:

A SKWAWKBOX QUADRUPLE BILL

The Skwawkbox, one of the best new media sites around, has had several particularly outstanding pieces recently:

PHOTOS 1 – ANIMALS

From Monday and yesterday:

Swan IV
Mute Swan (first four images) on the section of the Gaywood near Kettlewell lane.

Swan IIISwan IISwan IDucks and drakesMallard drakeMoorhen

Squirrel with Conker
This squirrel was sufficiently occupied by its shiny new conker for me to get this picture.

A TEASER

This puzzle comes courtesy of brilliant:

PNQ

PHOTOS 2: VIEWS

Minster Lumiere
Although all these pictures were taken in varying degrees of darkness none involved the use of the flash, which is an absolute last resort for me.

CH Lumiere VCH Lumiere IVCH Lumiere IIICH Lumiere IICH LumiereCustom House IICustom HouseNar meets Ouse, high tideWL Churchtownscape at dusk

 

 

JAMES AND SONS’ NOVEMBER AUCTION

INTRODUCTION

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

GETTING THERE

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…

THE AUCTION

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.

LOT 183 – CANADIAN TOKEN

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

452

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.

DSCN7755

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.

DSCN7760

THE CLEAR UP

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.

Website Sorted

INTRODUCTION

As well as the title piece, I have some good pictures from in and around King’s Lynn to share. These date from Monday, when I attended an NAS West Norfolk coffee morning.

HOME PAGE CLEAN

I have modified the home page on www.londontu.be so that the original stuff that came with the Hathor Theme that I selected is no longer on show, replaced with my own stuff.

PICTURES

With a bit of moisture to highlight the silk, Monday was an excellent today for photographing spiders webs – and King’s Lynn  rivals Mirkwood for quantity of spider webs if not for size or scariness of occupants thereof…

This was the first of many - and only just outside my door.
This was the first of many – and only just outside my door.
Partway down the first of two flights of stairs between my flat and the street.
Partway down the first of two flights of stairs between my flat and the street.
The remaining webs were all alongside Bawsey drain.
The remaining webs were all alongside Bawsey drain.

DSCN6885 DSCN6886 DSCN6887 DSCN6888 DSCN6889 DSCN6890 DSCN6891

Neither were the birds at all put off by the weather…

DSCN6892 DSCN6893 DSCN6894 DSCN6916 DSCN6918 River Birds