They say that time flies when you are having fun, but, it has been a whirlwind of being on the go. We have had a busy quarter, going backwards
We went to the Bank Note Society of Scotland meeting, December 1st, which I am a member of. It was a good feeling to attend a meeting in Edinburgh – I was at the inaugural meeting when it was an IBNS branch. The speaker had done a lot of work, collating information, visiting towns and areas, obtaining photographs of old bank buildings and bringing them back to life – many had become pubs, but, look on the floor or the ceiling/outside façade and the signs are all there!
Unfortunately, due to illness a couple of or appointments were cancelled, however, we did manage to see the film ‘Sightseers’, which will be great for the Tourist industry in England and a murderously funny film. We laughed a lot through this film, just as we did a couple of weeks earlier with ‘Silver Linings playbook’. Films should take you out of reality and into surrealism and fantasy. However, we did find ‘ The Master’ to be too intellectually challenging – I would have fallen asleep if I had not been so cold!
We did the Birmingham coin fair – what was nearly our last fair of the year, except I booked a table at the Nicolas Quentin Bagnolet Paris fair. So, I am for once, not sitting at an airport creating this blog, but, sitting on Eurostar. I am sure I will manage to do some ‘Le shopping’ before the Saturday show.
As the taxi stopped at the traffic lights motorcyclists were smoking and another was eating the end of the baguette!
As mentioned earlier it has been a bit manic and due to the Christmas eve being a Monday, our posting date will mean the office will slow down by the 20th. It will give me some time to get the stock together that we have bought over the last 3 months!
After the World Paper Money Fair, the following week I attended the RDS coin show in Dublin. They open the doors from the ‘over 50s’ show, which makes our show busier. I felt a change in purchasing at the show, but, managed to buy some nice Irish. Quality notes are becoming scarcer.
November we went to the London coin fair and went for a meal the night before with Mike Veissid, his wife Lu, daughter and son in law. A fairly sober event as we all had work the next day! The show has become a lot livelier and nice to see clients who come into town specifically to see us. We are always happy to bring accessories to the show/books, etc, which offsets the postage and packing!
We also went to Barcelona for the first time. I love London, but, Barcelona is great. It seems to have everything – a beach – shopping till you drop (I will have to go back for Summer clothes), reasonably priced food – breakfast, which consisted of a croissant, filled roll and cappuccino each reached the racy heights of 8 euros in total, better than paying 23 euros each in our lovely boutique hotel, which was a good deal with British Airways – the Mirror – everything in our room was white, you could lose a pair of white socks in this room. They even had an outside dipping pool and though we were warm walking round Barcelona, it was too cold to take a dip on the roof! We visited the Gaudi Basilica – what a feat of architecture – a marvellous structure that takes your breath away. If you’ve not been – go! We met up with Nicolas Quentin, his wife Ada and then Jose Esteve – a little unusual to be drinking Cava at 11am, but, at least we could stagger back to our hotel for a nap!
Just finished the IBNS World Paper Money Fair in London. As usual, a great show and nice to see the regular and new faces. No sooner had that finished then we went to the Auctions. There seemed to be a non- stop round of them, but, fortunately, I did not have to attend them all.
The Olympics have been a great triumph. Peter and I went to the Exel centre and watched some weightlifting, then Pete and Glen saw boxing and finally Pete and I saw some basketball – for this we were quite high up in the North Greenwich Arena (old millennium dome, but, they cannot call it by its new correct name of 02 arena). We went on the cable car – a nice ride. We watched far more of the Olympics on telly than we would normally and at the venues the atmosphere was amazing everywhere.
We did not get to see the Olympic park at the events we attended, so, got closing ceremony tickets for the Paralympics. What amazing athletes, such courage. A superb example of what people can achieve. The weather for the both events was quite good for England and some of the sunniest days warmed up the fantastic venues.
We went to the Birmingham coin fair and I found out I did not know how to answer my new smart phone. I could text, phone and add contacts,but, did not know how to actually answer it. However the person phoning me turned up at the show and they showed me how to answer it!
Then the round of shows started, no sooner are we packing up from one show,we are getting ready for another. Just been to Stuttgart, followed by Valkenburg, where I was, once again, interviewed by David Lisot of Coin week – live on the internet or as someone said “I saw you on utube”, then World Paper Money Fair organised by the London branch of the IBNS in London, then Dublin, which usually follows 2 weeks later, but, this year is one week after, meaning we have 4 consecutive weeks of shows.
Peter started watching a Murray tennis match, we went to the cinema and saw Snow White and the Huntsman, very good – we enjoyed it. Went to the pub afterwards and continued to watch the longest men’s tennis match and the end of it with Murray winning. As usual, sitting at an airport – the Isle of Man – it is pouring with rain, been into Douglas, did not see one person on the beach as it was wet, it seems the weather is affecting everything and at home we had the wettest June since 1860! The Isle of Man trip was successful and I brought home some goodies. I did hire a car for a few hours, re-learning very quickly to manage a manual.
Murray did not win, but, he did well to get as far as he did. Well done to him.
We went to Cape Verde for a holiday and it does seem like things slowed down a bit, but, that might also be because I answered as many emails as possible whilst away and slowed the business down on purpose. It worked. We will then be sorting things out for York – also a time to meet with some family members.
Well, we had the expected weather forecast for the biggest bank holiday weekend of the year – the Diamond Jubilee celebration. Our street had a street party and we had a fantastic day, topped off with a firework display. Of course, yours truly was on the committee, in fact, started the committee and had a great team of enthusiastic volunteers. The street all mucked in and it made a great day for the kids – seeing kids playing in the street – hopscotch, guessing games, cycling, no complaints, no computers, laptops or phones – smart or not smart (like my one, which is never turned on!). Now sitting at Heathrow Terminal 3 in the Servisair lounge, which is very, very plush. On my way to the Memphis show.
The sun is peaking through the clouds – other clouds last week delayed my flight to Jersey, rising just in time to arrive at 10am and get to the Jersey Treasury to collect the new £100 Diamond Jubilee notes, managed to get to Guernsey and collect the new £20 QE60 commemorative note. We also received during the week, the RBoS £10 commemorative. A plethora of new notes, but, nothing for the Bank of England, what a shame.
At the American Airlines check in, I smiled sweetly, well, at least he could see my face over the high counter. We had a little chat and he moved me all the way down to row 22 and gave me an aisle seat, even though I had already moved myself down from 44 – next door to the toilets, down to row 33 (not an aisle) and had my boarding pass printed. What a nice chap. Take off so smooth didn’t even know we had moved off the runway.
Now the show is over. The weather was the coolest we’d ever had. It was so pleasant that often we walked back from Beale Street – normally it would be so humid you’d get the trolley car. I don’t think there were as many visitors to the show as usual and as they say in America – the attendance was soft, however, it was enjoyable and worthwhile – having the three new Diamond Jubilee notes – Royal Bank of Scotland £10, Guernsey £20, Jersey £100 brought collectors and dealers to the table. I even sold 2 china plates made by Wedgewood depicting Princeton University and West Point Military Academy. Every year you have to decide what shows to attend and I always end up putting Memphis on my wall chart. It cannot just be the Sunday afternoon shopping in the mall that just adds to make it a great show! I did attend the charity poker game run by Lyn Knight at the local ballroom (a walk away). Having never played poker before – I was dubious I would last the first round, however, I did last nearly 3 rounds – winning 3 hands in a row when I moved tables, but, it did not last. Such is life.
Having reached Chicago airport I thought I would ask about the chance of buying an upgrade, in an effort to ensure a good night’s sleep, knowing I have a full day’s work ahead, catching up with orders. But, the $7000 quote brought tears to my eyes and I had to admit it was not something I could take up, instead, I asked Mary if my seat (already reserved was an aisle?) as it wasn’t she kindly moved me to row 20 – the baulkhead with plenty of leg room – normally where all the families sit with the babies. Maybe I’ll save up for next year!
Someone asked me what shows I would be attending next and I had to say July – York Racecourse, but, that end of July and indeed, the whole of August, nothing was booked. However, September and October will be manic! There is going to be a coin show in Warsaw – we may just visit and not take a table, then a couple of weeks later Stuttgart coin show incorporating the Cologne show, then, Valkenburg, then, the London World Paper Money Fair organised by the London branch of the IBNS to be held at the Bloomsbury Hotel, Great Russell Street, London on Friday 5th and Saturday 6th October, followed 2 weeks later with Dublin – where does the year go?
Glen has now done his exams – a nail biting wait to hear if he has passed, which we hope if the case, especially as he has put his name down for a flat. Astounded to find that we have to pay £180 for a credit check on us and stump up £60 to have one run on Glen. No wonder people cannot afford to move flats at this rate!
Went to see the film ‘Salmon Fishing in the Yemen’. I had read the book, so, not surprised to find they did not stick to the story at the end.
The IBNS club meeting was the fullest it had been for a long time, a most unexpected bonus as the weather had started to climb into the heights of Summer. A Diamond Jubilee street party played its music further along the street, but, did not impinge on our speaker, Mike Brill who gave us all the info on Royal Bank of Scotland. Some new visitors to our little club enhanced our enjoyment. Being the pushy Chairperson I did, on occasion ask for quiet and someone said “it’s like being in a classroom”, thus, I pointed out, we were in a classroom!
Of course, with wonderful weather, a visit to our favourite pub, the Wargrave Arms, after the meeting for a well deserved pint (not me ) was on the cards.
We went to the Valkenburg show. It really is a great place to visit, but, this year the weather was not its usual sunny self. Always a lovely social scene, great restaurants, plus banknotes to buy and sell. All in all a great time had by all.
We managed to purchase some new £50’s AA01 prefix , but, we don’t know yet what the last prefixes on the other denominations will be. I am sure we will know later this year. If we do not find out the last prefix, then, we will surely know the first prefixes!
Managed to stock Hendon albums again after a short wait for them to be manufactured. We never actually ever ran out, but, there was some consternation about the supply chain as the original manufacturers just retired.
It seems I only have to leave the country for articles to appear in newspapers etc, that I would love to have seen first hand, but, we have so many kind, caring collectors that they all wanted to keep us up to date with information on Bernhard Forgeries. Nazi forged bank notes hit sterling confidence, MI5 files show.
Well, can you believe I missed a flight! After arranging flights/holidays/trips for so many years, latterly online, I managed to arrive at the airport at completely wrong time. I will from now on, highlight the time I am leaving. In desperation I went to the first counter that sold tickets and was told it was £260 plus £60 for the luggage, but, she was kind enough to say, do go round to Aer Lingus in case they have not closed the gate, of course, at section H, the gate was closed, but, all the check in girls were there. I told them I had mucked it up and missed the flight and was really sorry, was I too late? Yes, I was. However, she said I could get the next flight, but, it would cost £63 including my luggage as that was already paid for. What a result, I was very pleased to have just saved myself some £260, but, could not really celebrate as I had an appointment at 10am in Dublin and now was not arriving until 12.10pm and no way to contact the client. I sent him an email, but, in my heart knew he would have already set off on his journey. Just hoped he would be forgiving.
However, I had a phone call upon my arrival in Dublin – the client could still see me, but, only spare 20 minutes. As we had already discussed quite a bit, the rest was easy to evaluate. I told him how much and he was over the moon. He’d even now look for the missing notes.
I whizzed off to the hotel, dropped my cases off and went shopping, pleased to be able to add to my wardrobe and boost the local economy. Michael Kelly was at the hall where the coin show takes place at the RDS and he was all set, so did not need any help from me, I just dropped off the books and plastics. I ambled back to Bewleys and joined Breda and Mick Cooley for an evening meal. An early night for an early start the next day and I managed to blag a lift to the show.
The show started slowly, but, moved up a gear. People were turning up wanted evaluations and we were offered (and bought) a nice selection of material. The organiser even got on the evening TV show and whereas Sunday’s were normally quiet, it was the busiest I’d seen it for about 10 years. Newspaper people were there, photos being taken everywhere and constant stream of people wanting notes valued, not necessarily for sale.
I took great care to make sure I left with good time to get to the airport and found myself sitting next to a nervous flyer, I worked this out as she seemed uncomfortable and kept dropping things. Not everyone is used to flying.
January / February
The Dublin show was amazingly busy. The organiser, Michael Kelly, had appeared on local Television, spoken on radio and an article was run in the National papers. So, the place was buzzing, mainly with the public looking for valuations – when they realised they had a long wait for the Auction evaluation, they walked round the room asking for valuations. It was interesting, but, nothing really came of it. But, it was great to be busy, especially on the Sunday, which is normally quite quiet.
Pete and I went to Madeira for a week’s break. I always used to say it was where the old people went, so, a bit surprised to see myself there – maybe time caught up with me. We caught the tail end of a storm for a couple of days, but, the sun did shine. It was not too hot and we did a lot of walking, it helped walk the cakes off!
The last Thursday of the month came round all too soon and the IBNS London branch meeting took place, as usual, at Sylvia’s school. I popped into Sylvia’s office to eat my sushi and just in time opened our room up and started to re-arrange the tables and chairs as avid collectors arrived. Two new visitors to the meeting was an encouraging sign for our speaker, Jonathan Callaway, he spoke about Scottish commemorative notes and brought the actual notes to see, which is often the highlight of the talk – little discussions took place including the time I once went on a friend’s bus to collect people for a night out from a mental hospital – at the end of the evening I had said to Peter, I thought it was a bit dangerous to take people out of a mental hospital to another hospital for social events, then, he told me that they weren’t the patients, but, the staff – this discussion came about as the fairly newly built Royal Bank of Scotland’s head office at Gogarburn was once the site of mental hospital – as was the Bank of England’s St. Luke’s printing works – the home of Lunatic asylum, but, don’t they say, who is sane and who is not? Who can tell the difference?
The phone call seemed interesting, he had 18 error notes including a white fiver and lots of other notes, but, lived in Scunthorpe, so, I thought, if I could wrap the visit around some other meetings/events, it could be worthwhile, plus Glen lives in Derby, so, we could meet up with him too.
We got up early, drove to Scunthorpe and met our man, nice man, but, he had not found all the error notes he mentioned and the lots of notes turned out to be a few really ragged notes and about 9 last issue BoE pounds, some not in well used condition, the white error, turned out to be a low grade Bernhard, however, after this long a journey, we had to strike a deal and he was happy to sell with a promise to find the rest of the notes and get back in touch. However, all was not lost, an email requesting a valuation on some provincial notes (cannot say exactly what) had me asking – where were they based as we were in the Derbyshire area that weekend, lo and behold, they were only 30 or so minutes away, but, could not see us till later in the day,so, we drove back past the pink pig farm, which had a lovely café (early lunch) and onto Hemswell cliff antiques centre, had a lovely cup of tea and tasty slice of cake, then, on to meet this lovely couple who lived in a converted stables. We made our purchase and drove onto the Mercure hotel in Wetherby.
Saturday morning we were up before the morning alarm call, which was lucky as it never came, the manager apologised most emphatically, fortunately we also turn the phone alarm on, but, actually woke up before that too! Then off the Wetherby racecourse antiques fair. I managed to pick up a tin badge that I had not seen before to add to my collection of badges with Treasury banknotes on it and a savings tin for a bank, which will go into stock. We then drove onto the Emporium antiques centre, which was more like a boot fair, just before turning into the road for the Emporium in Sheffield we’d driven past a shop window called Langtons, so, we decided to walk down to this other antiques centre, past Chapel antiques, which had the busiest section of buying gold and a queue of people, but, and specialised in material and furniture. Langtons, although we did not buy anything was a great set up, lots to see, nicely laid out. However, upon our return to our car we’d seen across the road another building, which seemed to be promoting furniture and decided to be so close we should look in, surprised ourselves as it was more collectables than furniture and an opportunity to enjoy a nice cup of tea.
English Paper Money 8th edition has been received well. We have updates on the website, click News & Info along with feedback.
The new Salmon signed £50 note appeared in November and subsequently AA01 has been logged as the first prefix.
We have just updated the picture library on the site – so, do check out all the sections.
I never make a New Year’s resolution as it gets broken far too soon. However, I’d really like to see a £5 note commemorating the Titanic in 2012 – a hundred years since this terrible disaster. Samson & Delilah will be historic monuments forever sitting at Belfast Dockyard.
With the celebration of the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee I know we will see coins being issued to commemorate, however, there will also be a Jersey £100 note issued also to commemorate this momentous occasion.
We will be at the York Coin Fair on Friday 19th Jan/20th Jan, hope to see you there.
Check out CoinWeek for my latest interview
Wishing everyone a Happy Collecting New Year
Not sitting at an airport, but, watching telly as it is Christmas Day. Glen came home for a week, but, had to return to Uni as he was due to work (his job as a Dyson demonstrator) in Leicester on Christmas Eve, so, we had Christmas lunch early, surprisingly for me, it turned out okay, quite edible.
With such warm weather in comparison to last year, it does not really seem like Christmas.
We had a table at the London Coin Fair at the Holiday Inn, Coram Street and David Lisot of Coin TV did an interview with me. He asked many questions and I responded, then, a customer asked a question and David said “that’s the answer I want, we’ll ask the question again”. The interview can be seen on www.coinweek.com then put London Coin Fair in the search box and you can view it and others.
On 22nd December I was on the One Show with Phil Tuffnell. He was doing a story on the Bank of England printing works when an internal robbery took place and the Bank of England prosecuted the gang concerned in the early 90’s. I was a bit nervous when I met Phil, but, he was really nice to work with and tried to put me at my ease. You can catch it on BBC i-player.
Pete and I had worked at the Birmingham show. It was nice to be there at Christmas time and many tables put sweets out for the visitors.
I have just attended the Perth IBNS 50th anniversary event. It really is an educational forum. The days were taken up with talks, wonderful displays, an auction of all sorts of things, the 50th anniversary dinner on the Saturday night and short talks on notes with 50 on them. Heather Arthurson and her team are to be congratulated on an excellent event. The venue was perfect for the show.
I listened to all the talks and they were interesting and some very funny too, as jet lag actually hit me at 3am each morning, but, a few games of spider solitaire on the computer worked wonders in sending me back to sleep.
I also got the chance to go on a 3 day trip with a group of us (16 in all). We first went to the Yanchup National Park, saw live Koalas doing not much, so, it was lovely to see one moving. A large lake called Lock McNess (wonder where they got that idea from) and the small cave with its stalacmites and stalactites. Then onto a small town for outdoors tea, the one with the sand dunes that sand dune board riding takes place (done that last time), then, onto Lancelin, where we all stayed in a motel. The trip organiser, Vikki had arranged for us to eat at the Country Club across the road, the rain storms fortunately hitting us whilst on the journey here and whilst I was busy replying to emails in the free wi-fi in the foyer. It was a great evening, topped off with a small quiz I devised of guessing which country’s denomination was in each of my 5 pockets – the nearest guess was 4 of them.
I finally got to see Stromatalites – the oldest living creature in the world. First read about them in a Bill Bryson book – I think it was called the short history of the world and I read about these unique creatures.
We had a great time, visiting vinyards, chocolate factories etc. There is no shortage of places to visit within 3 hours of Perth. We saw real kangaroos in the wild, even a wild ostrich.
Whilst in Hong Kong, felt a bit miffed. Paid $70HK for internet access In the hotel, but,if I cross the road and go into the isquare and buy a coffee in Starbucks, I can get 20minutes internet access free! Not that I want to walk all around Hong Kong looking for internet access,but, sometimes even a McDonalds has one. However, you’d think here the wi-fi would be free everywhere as this is a technologically advanced country, but, money talks!
There’s nothing like a good old moan – who said that? After spending millions of pounds on security at Gatwick South the bag check system seemed antiquated. The huge blue plastic trays arrive only after the people in front have been good enough to read the sign that tells you to place your tray at the very end, only then will it arrive at our end, easy enough, but, people stand so close behind you that you almost knock them over whilst you extract the huge blue tray from below to the top. I needed 2 of them as I had a laptop and that is always placed separately, some of the blue trays which were full were syphoned off to behind the screen and people turned up and walked in front of me to collect their trays, which obviously would arrive after mine. A man collected his belongings and left the try, another put his tray on top of the tray in front. I tried to help out by putting 3 trays at the end – maybe one of those really really old fashioned round and round systems could have been employed? You know the sort of thing that was designed decades ago?
However, of course, now you know I am on another journey, this time to Dublin. A brand new airport, yet, a walk down off of the plane and up 30 steps to get to passport control. I don’t want to be old or frail or find it hard to walk, otherwise the future will have to incorporate an “app” in my head to tell me the best of everything I need for my journey. The Aircoach service has moved physically, but, I did find it, paid my 8 euros for a single – as I don’t know if I am coming back to the airport with someone or not and then found out it was a 15 minute wait. It is freezing cold here, but, the same at home, but, I don’t want to wait 15 minutes in the freezing cold, with smoke blowing down wind. However, after about 8 minutes it arrived early.
Pete and I have been loading new stock onto the site and Pete has a bad shoulder, pain in his arm, mainly due to using the mouse. I, of course, then, follow suit and have occasional stabbing pain in my right hand, which stops me from holding things, alternatively means I might drop them. It is very sharp and I know it is RSI, which is worrying as my working life – until pensionable age is over a decade away. The stabbing pain does not always happen when I am typing, which is even more worrying. Oh well. C’est la vie.
The Irish show has started, amalgamated into the Stampa show. I asked what time the show opened for dealers and was told as it was Michael ( the organiser also called Michael ) that was in charge of security we could go in from 7.30am – no official time, though I did think it was originally 8.30am and I know in the past I have turned up and the show was buzzing with dealers who had arrived earlier than me, this time I was not going to be late. So, I ended up helping a few of the dealers unload their vans/cars as opening time to the public was 11am. Plenty of time to nip to Insomnia coffee bar and buy a coffee (and one for my neighbour). The day was fairly busy, many questions being asked by visitors to the next door event – The over 50’s show.
In the evening I joined Richard Walshe and his young looking wife, Renu and their son, James. Renu looks younger every year. Some of their children are at University and they are all great characters
Just sitting on Eurostar waiting to leave Brussels, been to the Valkenburg autumn show. It seems like I have been here for so long, but, only arrived on Thursday and it is now Sunday. I am now sitting comfortably as the seat in the taxi/bus was broken, but, I am here now.
At the show, David Lissot of CoinTelevision did an interview with me (and many others) for the IBNS, I wanted to mention more about the World Paper Money next week, but, it will probably be cut as it is meant to be more about collecting and the IBNS than shows. Of course, normally I can talk the hind legs off a donkey, but, found myself a bit tongue tied, I know you would not believe it! You can view it on: www.coinweek.com/news/currency/pam-west-on-collecting-british-paper-money-the-ibns-and-the-maastricht-paper-money-fair
Glen, my son and heir has accidentally taken my new laptop with him to University, he will bring it back, but, for the present I am on the old one and yes, the reason I wanted a new one was that this one logs off at will, which it just did and I lost all the text I had typed.
To cut a long story short, well, actually, I don’t think I will, Pete and I met a client whilst we were in Edinburgh and he told us about a special magic show that would be playing at the London Palladium on Monday 19th September, and, although, a busy time of the year for us, we thought, great, we’ll get tickets. Had the usual problems trying to process the payment and the organiser helped me out. Thus, we booked 2 tickets. Then, I saw, quite by accident a special Lords Taverners charity comedy show at the Savoy Theatre, a theatre I had wanted to visit, let alone with a comedy event including Jo Brand, no less. Then, I remembered that that particular weekend was open house and said to Pete, “I know, we’ll stay in London on the Sunday night and view the Spink Auction on the Monday 19th”, thus, killing two birds with one stone. I booked the Radisson Edwardian Hotel by Warren Street tube station at a reasonable London price. When we entered our room it smelled of paint, I think they were still building it, but, it was a good size room and would have been better if we had noticed they had tea/coffee facilities in the room, doh! Anyway, having read the week before about places to visit, the journalist mentioned Canada House, which would be perfect for us.
We arrived on a nice sunny Sunday at Leicester Square Tube and walked down to Canada House – it was closed for repairs and looked as if it had been like it for a long time. We thought we would walk down towards Downing Street, but, there were racing bike trials and the roads were blocked off (not permanently) and we were allowed to cross at set points, we saw the original building of Scotland Yard and ambled around, returning to Trafalgar Square. I told Pete I had eaten a lovely meal in the Sainsbury wing of the National Gallery, so, we popped in, but, it was closed for a private function. We went to Patisserie Valerie for lunch. We booked tickets for the Odeon to see Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy, which was slow, but, excellent and even better was they were giving 2 for the price of 1 tickets and anyone who received this voucher then passed it on, so, we made a saving, which still did not make up for the unsightly mess that has now become the Leicester Square Park, which once was lovely and I am sure had only been renovated a few years ago. It was closed off and has been so for some time.
We wanted to return to Joe Allen’s restaurant at the back of the Lyceum, having visited previously and enjoyed, but, a bouncer told us it was closed for a private function – where have I heard that before, I wonder? But, he suggested their partner restaurant, Orso, which was great, we loved it – the meal was great and the Panna Cotta to die for. Then, on to the comedy show, which was brilliant – I can only remember one joke and, unfortunately, I cannot repeat here.
The next day, we viewed the lots in Spinks auction and ate our evening meal in Carluccios near Covent Garden. I must be getting old, but, it was difficult to hear the waiters/waitresses, it was almost as if they did not want to disturb the peace. My meal was great, but, some of Pete’s was hard and dry and I tried his spinach and ricotta balls, which tasted like cardboard. One day, we will both order the same thing.
The magic show at the Palladium was brilliant, International magicians with superb acts, we could have been in Vegas. All too soon, the evening was over and we got the train and bus home – yes, we are mortals.
Going to London can be great, but, I often wish it wasn’t always full of roadworks and renovations. Must check if what we want to visit is not closed next time!
As usual am now at an Airport. Actually, Bonn airport in Cologne. The woman in front of me in the search queue waited till she was asked if she had a laptop and got it out of her carry-on case at the last minute, having been in the queue for at least 8 minutes, more than enough time to get the laptop out!
Well, did my usual experienced traveller bit today. We knew the weather was to be 21degrees and that rain was likely. We went to Hiroshima-Nagasaki park to walk through it, of course, got caught in the rain twice (especially without a coat – yes, left the rain mac in the suitcase) no jacket, had a coffee then the heavens opened and thunder and lightning forced us to return to the Pullman Hotel. After a lovely sauna and steam, we went out again when it was dry for another walk (with jackets and the loan of an umbrella, which was not used. Yesterday, on the Saturday it had been blisteringly hot and we had enjoyed eating our evening meal outside – a rarity for me, let alone in September. The show, organised by Michael Lang and Christian Fouillot is still in its infancy, its second year. The hotel is great, but, very warm, in fact, so warm, you can wash the small items you require the next day, leave them overnight on the floor in the bathroom - with the underfloor heating and they are perfectly dry in time for breakfast.
Our neighbour on one side at the show was a fascinating man who had hundreds of notes for sale, but, his real occupation was as a Professor of Computer Sciences in a University. Our hobby is full of diverse and interesting people. On the other side was a graduate of Computer software, the son of the newly nominated President of the Dutch Chapter, Ed Absil – who will be running a show in Holland in December.
It is 8.30pm and the food on offer at the airport has a turned up at the corners - ham or cheese roll or a last minute subway sandwich. The coffee is with cream, urgh! So, buying expensive water. The ladies toilet closed as usual, but, opening soon. For an International airport I must remember that the airport lounge closes early as it is Sunday. It is also a remembrance Sunday – September 11th. A time to reflect.
Yes, I am a virgo and had my birthday last week. I am, in fact, a twin, but, often say he is short, fat and ugly and really does not look like me, but, somehow as a twin, maybe there is a similarity – I know – we are both short!
Some things I hate:
Buying a nice long waffle bathrobe that comes to my shins, but, after one wash is a mini.
Zips on gilets (sleeveless jackets) that get caught all the way up and murder to undo.
Trying to complete a transaction online that then won’t accept payment.
Having a voucher/money off/points that run out the day before you try to use them.
Being on a permanent diet.
Some things I love:
Getting on the bus and the driver not charging me as I have left my oyster card and only want two stops because of the rain and just having had my hair done.
Otter Vale chutneys
Choosing what colour cars I will let out of a turning for the day.
Creating a meal with a recipe that turns out nice.
Been through the usual humiliation of pretending I am a seasoned flying traveller by having my big handbag checked. He said you have money here did you know, I said, No, that’s not money and showed him a packet of £50 money handkerchiefs, he laughed, but, said he still could not find the problem item. He re-scanned my bag and came back to recheck the bag, he opened a zip pocket and I said, there is real money in there, however, the culprit was a metal nailfile, which was duly measured and I was offered the chance to go back out and post it to myself, but, I said, maybe I could break it in half and at least have something, but, it only bent, so, I just gave it to him. It was satisfying in a way as I had forgotten a tube of 100ml savlon!
However, glitches aside, we have just had a wonderful time in the Scottish highlands, more a culinary break it seemed as I am sure I put on about six pounds. Today, with only a short day as we are flying, we went via Nethy Bridge where just at the time we arrived the steam train stopped at the station , which may have been called Bogle – not just any old train, but, a steam train – lovely. We went to Kingussie, where there was an antique/y shed, but, he was only open on Wed to Sat, but, it was Monday. We had stopped for a cup of tea at Pam’s tea shop, I thought it most apt. We followed the B road, past Loch Insh and stopped at Grantown on Spey for lunch.
Yesterday, Sunday, we were going to go to an Antiques fair in Nairn, but, were enjoying our drive out, so much so, that we did not get there. We went to Ullapool and back down, passing the Dundonnell Forest, past Victoria Falls, Aultbear for lunch a surprising place as upon parking we were struck with the thought – oh, this looks like a dump – the Aultbear hotel/pub, but, the only place it seemed in town. However, we were most pleasantly surprised, walked into the public bar and the barmaid was pleasant and took us through a lunch room and into a conservatory with a view over the bay. The young waitress was great, helpful and a pleasure to deal with. She had grumpy people at another table. Properly stuffed, we drove on past Gairloch, outstandingly beautiful and onto Ben Eighe. You can stand on the shore and look for the rare birds that only nest there, you can go a bit further on to the information centre for facilities. At this point I have to say, The Highlands Tourist Board have done an outstanding job. The roads were clean, toilet facilities available and they were keeping the place a pleasure to visit. We passed Loch Carron and wended our way home, once again to Inverness, over the Kessoch bridge.
Saturday saw us out and about and to the famous town of Cromarty. For those of you who are young, you won’t know that we always used to hear the weather on the radio and he’d end with towns and names and unusual words, such as Cromarty Firth and after a while you realised he was giving the weather at sea and thus, we ended up at Cromarty having a cream tea. A hidden surprise was a fabulous little beach by the harbour and a beautiful green for visitors and locals alike.
Now my days will get mixed as we went to the Cairngorms and up the funicular railway to the highest train station in the United Kingdom – Ptarmigan station – it was 21 degrees at the bottom, 11 at the top and it was August, luckily I had my hat, scarf, coat and big boots on for the viewing platform at the restaurant, yes, another cup of tea. Down through the Glenmore Forest and a stop by Loch Morlich. We had stopped at Carrbridge on the way, which seems to have been the first town noted for being a Ski town.
Another day we went round Loch Ness, which I did not realise you could do, maybe a long time ago, you could not do it? We stopped at Foyers and viewed the waterfall, a fabulous area. Anyway, there are some lovely towns by the Loch and at Fort Augustus we came across the only foreign staff in a restaurant, being a Saturday most places were shut, but saying that, there did not seem to be a lot to see here.
We dined at different restaurants in the evening all at Inverness – the Rocpool Restaurant, which was lovely, the River House Restaurant by the bouncy bridge (you walk on the bridge and it physically bounces), which was fabulous, the Rocpool Reserve, which is an Albert Roux restaurant which, in our opinion was not as good as the River house and Riva Italian restaurant, where the staff were the speediest I have come across, but, nothing wrong in that. Everywhere people were friendly, car courteous and helpful.
Would I go again, absolutely. Oh, we also bought a Banknote collection!
My usual lackadaisical self has forgotten to blog – since Memphis, it has been full steam ahead with getting English Paper Money 8th edition ready and this seems to have taken forever, but, is due out Sept 8th. Having sent it off to the Printers, the pressure is off.
We went to Verona to the Fair and bought odds and sods. We did the York Fair and it was still buzzing. The week after we went to Leeds to my nephew’s wedding and then onto Skegness,but, came home with a cold, not that it stopped me working, but, day nurse and night nurse certainly came in handy. My head hurt, then, throat, then mouth ulcers, but, managed to produce an English list, just after an Isle of Man list. So, nearly back to normal.
When I booked my trip to the States with Dial a Flight – the chap was friendly and helpful. But, I did notice the next morning when I printed up the emailed schedule that I would be flying back from Minneapolis and not Memphis where I would actually be returning from, so a quick phone call sorted out the right airport . Well the first part of my journey to Detroit all went okay and as I was taking a large package for my friend onto Memphis she offered to pay the $25 for the extra piece of luggage (we checked on the phone with Delta airlines. When I go to the ticketing booth, which in 91 degree heat was outside, the girl said “oh, you have two bags to check – that will be $30 a bag as this is a domestic flight”. I suppose a bit like booking a cheap walk on with a carry on bag flight, so, I paid up. Now whilst I am sitting here, I realise I will be returning home via a short flight to Atlanta and then onto LHR – I hope I don’t have to pay to bring my luggage back home again!
Just before I came out I also looked at the time of my return, remembering that the first chap had told me it was a direct flight and I had said I’d never had a direct flight from Memphis before – of course, he was sending me home from Minneapolis – so instead of leaving on Monday at about 1pm and arriving the next morning at 6am I leave 7pm and arrive midday – losing a days work – along with jetlag. Oh dear, I will have a lot of shopping time on Monday!
On the Friday morning I was a guest of Mark Anderson, president of the SPMC (society of paper money collectors) breakfast, which was a suptuous affair, but, I hate standing in line and went up with the last 5 stragglers, which meant I was eating whilst all the speeches were going on! It was a fun event, especially when non winners of the raffle had to say their number and Wendell would pull out their exact number!
On the Saturday morning I attended the IBNS Board meeting. In the evening, Lyn Knight had arranged a soiree in the ballroom opposite the show room. It was a lovely event and a game of Jeopardy took place, the most thing in jeopardy was the wire which was attached to a large computer screen that blew up as it was under a ground leven plug with a flap over it and as the compere walked back and forth over it, it must have worn away, it lasted until the last question of the evening and then the screen went black. When the evening was over we found we were in the middle of a huge storm stopping us from going into Beale street to enjoy the music and ambience of a late night party.
Well, once again I am sitting at the airport and today has been interesting. The hotel has a computer for the explicity use of checking on flights and you could also print your boarding pass – well done Marriott hotels! One of the most useful free services I have come across.
I was suprisingly bright and bushy tailed considering I had gone to Tunica, gambling with Mike Crabbe and John Schwarz. We ask nicely (with the English accent) for complimentary buffet tickets, worth about $20 each, then agree to meet at midnight.
I went shopping at the Wolfchase Galleria with Julia Vostal. We spetn 3 house rushing around the shops – me to get Pete’s Levis and t-shirts for Glen (birthday next month) and the taxi driver came back for us. On the way back to the hotel we had one of those American Humungouse storms – the skies went black, hailstones came down, bits of tree were flying around. I had extended my room stay, but, seems noone told me I had to have my keycard re-set. So, I went back to my room. Then housecleaning turned up and they had not been informed that I was a late check out.
However, that was nothing compared to getting in the lift and it bunny hopping up a floor before saying there is a malfunction – error with the elevator. I sounded the alarm as it stopped and the door would not open – we’d had the big storm and I thought oh, I am going to be stuck here for sometime, but, they normally have a manual override. They finally worked out that I was on level two, which actually was floor 1, but, they don’t have a floor 1, just like they don’t have a floor 13. Anyway, whilst I was stuck in the elevator, the barman in the Trolley stop bar, where I had ordered my lunch had called me room to check if I was returning for my lunch as I had said I was just popping to my room. I was stuck in the elevator for about 15 minutes, but, fortunately for me my meal was not cold. On my ride to the airport, there had been an eight car and one truck pile up on the other side, with more rubber necking my side causing stop start traffic, so much so, my taxi driver took an alternative route where the traffic lights were out and it took great care. My taxi driver turned out to the be the one who took us to the shopping mall, so, I was used to Mike!
8th May 2011
Just sitting in the garden after being at the Bloomsbury Hotel coin show on Saturday, well, I think it was Saturday as the weather has been balmy (not barmy) and I get a phone call from a young man at Facebook. He asks a few questions and then asks if I use Google Ads, I asked if he said Google Words as I did not remember using that, then he repeated Google Ads, I said I did not use them, then he went into his big story about a great free trial for 30 days on Facebook giving me the chance to reach five million people. I asked if they fitted the profile of my customers and he had to check his files. He mentioned that another ‘Banknote’customer had used them and had been very happy. I asked him who it was and funnily enough, he told me. Well, as you all know it is a small world we live in and I not only knew the name of the company, but, the owner too. He then mentioned a price of only £299. I said to this nice young man I’d consider the offer and maybe he could send me some information on an email, but, changed it to say on Facebook. I also mentioned I’d give ……. A call and ask him how the ad campaign went. Of course, I knew before I called my colleague that he had not run the campaign or paid the amount quoted for the free trial, let alone for a few months. A telephone call confirmed my opinion. I don’t mind a bit of artistic licence, but, having sold advertising for many years, at least know your client before you make exaggerated claims, let alone ones that can be so easily discounted by a professional.
The Easter weekend is now over. We had fabulous weather. On the Sunday Pete and I went to Worcester on our way to the 3 counties flea market and collectors fair on the Monday. The hotel, the Whitehorse has a car park and that is great for us. Of course, we were going in the morning before breakfast but found they did a continental breakfast at any time we chose and it was fabulous. The showground was full and it was sunny, we even found some items to add to our eclectic collections. On our journey, we popped into the Yarnton garden centre/antique centre, but, it was Sunday and was closed, many cars followed us and turned around too. We then went onto another antique/collectors building, but,it was closed for refurbishment. It was then on to Stow on the Wold, in the Cotswolds, a lovely town, full of people shopping and enjoying the wonderful weather. Once we were in Worcester we found it hard to find somewhere for a coffee and came across ‘bytheways’ coffee shop where the waiter kindly informed us that he was closing in 10 minutes, but, happy to serve coffee. No food, but, we were hungry, however, capable of supplying a scone with cream and jam and some grapes. We sat and viewed the statue of Elgar.
My occasional blog is now in the making. This morning on my underground train journey to London, the announcement said: The next station is Russell Square, the doors will open on the right hand side. Well, this is an interesting turn of phrase as it is only the right if you are sitting on the same side of the doors due to open with them on your right – otherwise they are on your left. I presume this is all to get ready for the Olympics and they will eventually put a sign on the doors stating which ones are on the right – will they have to signpost the ones on the left too?
Just got back from Valkenburg – a lovely town in Holland. A waiter in a restaurant lost my credit card – it was a pure accident, nothing sly, however, I left the restaurant without seeing the bill, nor paying and left my details - I had been there the night before with a larger group of people. However, I managed to get the phone number to call and cancel and the hotel obliged by advising me of the number of the card. Just in case, I called the next night to confirm all was okay and found that the card had not been cancelled. It had not been used and probably fell down a drain or something like that. I returned to the restaurant and paid my bill.
Worst was to come as it was my company card and the first thing I tried to order online came up with card logged with them as being no good – so, now I will have to re-register my company card with all the companies that hold the card for regular/irregular purchases.
Yes, we do have a special company that can cancel cards etc, but, I did not have their phone number with me – as they say, you never make the same mistake twice, so, their phone number goes on the mobile this weekend – let’s hope I don’t lose my mobile. Ha.
The sun shone and we had the opportunity to sit and enjoy a cold drink outside. Glen ended up with a huge chocolate Easter bunny – bought in Carrefour – 7 euros for a kilo of chocolate – yes, still a child at heart, even though he is going to Derby Uni at the end of the year.
For those of you that know me and know I have an association with the IBNS you should be aware that the Society celebrates its 50th anniversary this year and the London branch of the IBNS is arranging a dinner for Friday 30th September at the Bloomsbury Doyle hotel, Great Russell Street (where the World Paper Money Fair will be taking place). We have managed to get some wonderful sponsorship and are planning on making it a night to remember.
I am still only an occasional blogger. This morning Peter took me to Gatwick Airport as doing the Dublin show (Feb 19/20). A woman not only overtook on the inside, but, she was texting at the same time. So, Missee in the red BMW cr reg: AP08….. stoppit!
I arrived in Dublin on the Friday, met some clients and pottered around town – having had a delayed flight, (due to fog) and took in an early night.
The next morning, I went down to breakfast at the hotel (Bewleys) and met a huddle of dealers – waiting for the restaurant to open. One said “well, you don’t have to unload all the stock – it is easy for you”, I replied “ well, you did not have to fly here”!
At the show, having a gossip, one dealer said he was at a show overseas and someone came in and asked the value of a note in his hand, the dealer told him and he then wrote it in pen on the note, doh!
The show was far more buoyant than usual and far more people came in with notes for sale and actually sold. I think it is the recession forcing people to see what they have for sale. I think many people were pleasantly surprised, especially those who had nice condition notes. But, there were some people who’d had the notes for many years screwed up in the bottom of a bag, unfurled them for me to view. They see the notes in the display case and say – “ I have one of those”, but, of course, they don’t have a 1977 £100 Lady Lavery in uncirculated – they have a note that is well used with writing on and when they are told why it is not worth the same they do understand and I feel a bit sorry that they don’t have a great condition note – but, it is reality.
Anyway, even the Sunday was busy. The taxi driver dropped me off at the new Terminal 1 and I walked through to Terminal 2. The sign by the lift said – Departure Gate with a small picture (and in Irish) and below that Check in Gates the only number on the sign was level 2 – so I went up and asked. The girl was very helpful and said the airport was very new and the sign was not correct and took me down to level 0 to check in at Aer Lingus. Then I went back to 2 to go to departure lounge. I thought I’d sit down and have a nice meal as I was early – the only food place open was Burger King – along with 3 places to have a drink. So, I bought an open topped sandwich and coffee, then found there was nowhere to sit with a meal. When the gate was announced (sorry shown on the board), I went down to another level to sit at the departure gate, where surprise, surprise, a delay was announced. I am getting used to these delays and called Peter to delay his trip to the airport.
Had the first London IBNS branch meeting in our new venue. A few glitches to overcome, but, I am sure the club will be more than happy to have saved a fortune in rental fees and we are only down the road from our old venue. A school is also a place of Education and our first talk by De La Rue was certainly Educational. Of course, cannot tell you about it as signed the official secrets act – no, only joking – they were great. So, thanks to Stuart Rost, Mathew……… and Andrea Gibson. We took a few photos and I will get them loaded up to the London website, which is: www.ibnslondon.org.uk.
Had a long journey back from London on Thursday, just before going to Dublin – a signal failure on the Northern line meant no trains from Stockwell, thus, a million people wanted to catch a bus. It took 2 and half hours to get home plus time for Pete to pick me up in Croydon.
The snow came and stayed in December, so unusual, but, then, I was not around for the Ice Age!
I contemplated booking a holiday over the New Year and thought there would not be any snow to contend with and I was right, but, in the end, opted for a holiday from the 9th of January, leaving Glen to fend for himself. Well, the microwave broke, just after the washing machine and the Fridge is about to go too. So, we bought a new washing machine, a new microwave, which we took back as it was making some unusual noises and then ordered the Fridge and the exact same microwave from another store. Unfortunately, the microwave had not arrived before we left for Egypt so all the food I bought for Glen can be boiled or baked. No doubt, he’ll pop into the local take away too.
Glen suffered with a bad cough New Year week and with his one day off managed to only take one day off of work. Of course a week later I ended up with a cold, not that it stopped me from working and whilst I am sitting typing this blog on the plane, I had a nose bleed too. I am on Day nurse and Night nurse and hope the warm weather in Egypt will heal me sooner than it would at home.
The Christmas was quiet and yet again, we popped into the office on Boxing Day. We have a lot to get through with constant work on EPM, plus sorting stock out.
January will see us at the York Racecourse for the coin show – a great show and I get to see my Brother and his family who live locally.
In February we will be taking a table for the first time in many years, the Holiday Inn Coin Show in London.
At the end of February (19-20) I will be at the RDS in Ballsbridge, Dublin. The weather can be a bit on the cold side and I will be taking my sheepskin gloves to keep my hands warm. I got a good deal at the Bewleys Hotel – they had been reasonable, but, the prices increased steadily until it seemed reasonable to stay at the Herbert Park Hotel and breakfast locally. But, it seems times are tough and I can reap some reward for my years of staying in Bewleys. There’s nothing more annoying than arriving at an airport with huge adverts promising cheap rates and absolutely no chance of it being related to the dates you actually want.
Anyway, our flight to Egypt was delayed by 2 hours, so, my holiday is already being cut short – I don’t call sitting around Gatwick holiday, more like being in never never land.
The holiday was great. The staff very attentive and Pete and I went snorkelling after signing something –like – if you get eaten by a shark, you are not covered by any insurance. It was great. We saw a turtle and lots of fish. We were not allowed to swim in the sea by the hotel, but,the pool was warm and I managed to read a few books, including Steig Larsson’s Girl who kicked the hornet’s nest – having seen the film – girl with the dragon tattoo &ndash