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March 2016

 Enough going on to make your blood boil!  Luckily I have low blood pressure.

A large institution in the UK, on the phone said "in an effort to cut down on wasting paper, we no longer send out statements that show how much you owe".  Well I had paid the bill (for Peter) that I believed to be correct, but, it seems it was not.  Therefore they sent him a reminder by post on March 9th, showing an outstanding amount due.  On March 10th I paid by BACs payment.  About a week later he received a second reminder dated March 9th.  I telephoned them and said I had paid.  A couple of days later he received a statement (the one they don't send any more) showing that he still owed this large amount.   (I thought it was another bill and was about to pay them), but, instead, contacted them and they said they could see the bill had been paid and only now owed sixty one pence, I said I would pay it, even though the chap said don't worry about it, therefore I BACs paid them the sixty one pence.  I am impressed that in order to save wasting paper they sent out 6 bits of paper in 3 envelopes!

A couple of weeks ago we stayed at a nice hotel and I would heartily recommend it, except for the fact that my bill for one night and a meal seemed rather large, checking the bill in more depth saw we had been charged twice for our meal, which they corrected.  The day before I had bought a few items in a large department store.  Upon unpacking my bag at home saw that they had charged me twice for a jumper.  Luckily I have their store card and my rating with them is quite good.  I remember telling the cashier that the security tag was still on the jumper and as she took it off, it skimmed the barcode reader, thus appearing on my bill twice.  Luckily for me I could sort it out at my local store and not wade into London!

Pete and I went to the Farnborough Stamp show (yes, he collects Postal History). The organisers claimed there was ample parking.  The car park was full, I saw there was an adjoining car park, I went through the tunnel, parked carefully and walked to the machine where it said permit holders only.  I left that car park and the adjoining car park.  Opposite the entrance was a huge sign about 20ft high saying car park - I drove into that road and found two huge concrete blocks blocking the entrance to what was once a car park owned by a company no longer trading, thus I turned the card round, turned left and followed the road, then saw a tight car park space, backed in carefully, got out, looked for the machine to pay and then saw a sign saying Asda employees only.  I finally found the entrance to the Asda car park.  40 minutes to park the car.


February 2016

We are just back from Madrid.  The guide books point out that people there do not speak English, no problem.  Cervesa, Rioja, Tapas por favor work just as well as Beer, Red Wine, snacks please!

We felt quite at home in that it rained every day, unfortunately the open topped bus tour with the cover pulled over was not quite waterproof.  I really felt like a tourist once I had my plastic poncho on, mine with Florida Flamingoes, Pete with Wildlife Perth.  Easy to get around, even easier to stop and have tapas.  Our local restaurant was fully booked every night - the travel guides do say to book these quality restaurants up to 120 days in advance, but, I only booked the trip a few weeks previously.  The great thing about European Cities we travel to is that often these small shops, bars, etc survive and the influx of the chains seems to be restricted, which is great, otherwise these small, often family run businesses would close down.  We did see people eating in KFC and McDonalds, but, who needs these when quality local Spanish food is available?

I managed to climb onto a stool and order wine and tapas at Cervezas La Fabrica, where Antonio, who spoke no English managed to keep us fed and watered all evening, basically until I fell off the stool, no, only joking!

We found the coin & banknote area by Plaza Mayor.  One shop suggested I visit Felix Cuquerella and kindly pointed me out how I should contact him.  Although he did not really speak a lot of English (more than my Spanish), he said he had met me at the London show many years ago and that Jose Esteve had mentioned our visit to Barcelona more than a year ago. 

Even close to the Botanical gardens the Restaurante El Botanico the prices were realistic and the food a lovely quality.  We found cafe con leche (coffee with milk) when bought with a pastry was often less than 5 euros.

We did a lot of walking, visited the Royal Palace and the Prado and a lot of sleeping.  The Radisson Blu was close enough to everything for us with a friendly bar opposite.

Now we are back, I must plan to visit Grenada and Seville.

January 2016

Well, there are so many things I could complain about, though, of course, you know me to be quite a happy person, I often let things slip by me.  I am not unhappy with what has happened, but, more concerned about these various things.

1. A collector asked me what my opinion was on a £5 Kentfield error note with the prefix BH27/28 - a shortened lower note with about half of the note above creating a large shark fin error.  I had to advise him this was a created error from a mini sheet of 8.  I always knew this sort of thing would go on when mini sheets were printed, therefore, it is always worth while checking out whether or not it is a genuine error or not.  He said it belonged to a facebook contact.  That must be a friend worth unfriending!

2.  It is no secret that we buy in auction and have had a few interesting things of note!

a) We attended an auction in order to actually view the notes.  The main note in the auction was listed as being uncirculated and even showed large as life on the front cover of the catalogue. We are now the proud owners of this note and are pleased to own it, though, have graded it GVF.  It is a travesty that this sort of thing still happens today.  If a collector or a non collector had bought this (along with other notes), they would have believed they owned an uncirculated note, not a GVF.

b) We bought two small low priced lots in a Provincial auction, paid a percentage for bidding online, paid £31.20 to Mailboxes to receive the two lots.  We all need services and mailboxes do a good job, but, it sorely diminishes my enjoyment when I realise how much extra I had to pay for the lot!

c) A certain online auction does not monitor forgeries being sold as genuine notes, especially those with overprints on.  Always check out our site for known Guernsey overprints.

January 2016

We hope you had a good Christmas break.  Hard to believe, but, I cooked a proper Christmas lunch for all three of us.  I even made mince pies.  It is amazing what you can buy these days - I had a little help with the mince pies in that I bought the pastry bases with stars for the top and a jar of mince.  I only burned the first batch a little bit!

I have been known to:

a) leave the giblets inside the plastic bag in the turkey whilst cooking it

b) get my hand stuck the wrong end in a turkey

c) cook the turkey with the paper base still under it

d) leave half the vegetables in a pan on the hob without having served it up to eat

However, I have learned that if we have a turkey crown we don't have to eat turkey for 10 days in a row. Although now I miss my turkey curry, the chance to do my usual 'throw it all in' meal.

January 2016

I managed to make a reasonably tasty Christmas lunch with lots of home made desserts.  Well, packets made well. 

I enjoyed the New York International show, but, possibly enjoyed the Sunday shopping even more!  It is rather a catch 22 for me.  If I attend an auction and am successful, I feel like I should also go and buy myself a dress or something too! However, I took enough money to NY to enable me to meander around the shops. The Waldorf Astoria, where the show took place was taken over a while ago and the amazing Oscars breakfast restaurant is now a Chinese restaurant.  I noticed that the large table with the most amazing floral display at the Park Avenue entrance no longer exists.  I know it would have cost a fortune to keep up and the new owners must have noticed too! I took all my thermal gear knowing how cold it was last year and did not wear any as the weather was extremely mild.  I did get to see 'Hamilton' the play, which was a foot stomping, jolly show.  Music and songs were terrific.  I heard it might get to London, but, not sure that many UK tourists or British people know who Hamilton was, or that he is due to be replaced on the $10 bill.

Pete and I then attended the York Racecourse show the following weekend, which was quite warm for this time of year.  Some of the Scottish contingent come down for the day. So nice to see club members.


October 2015

Finally back from all our travels. Since list 22 we have attended the Dublin Coin Fair at the RDS, Ballsbridge. We could not get a room at Bewleys hotel, which had been bought out by the Clayton group, so, I surfed a bit and obtained a room at the Herbert Park Hotel, a lovely hotel with a park behind it.  However we popped along to Rolys for breakfast and it was hearty and cheap.  E23 included a full Irish, toast and coffee. One night we dined (posh) at the Lobster pot.   A few other diners were there, but, it seems only for the early bird, thus, we were the only two diners one night, surprisingly exceptional service!

It is always good to go to overseas shows as you never know what is going to turn up.  We appreciate the opportunity to purchase - we need to buy - to find new material to offer, which is why attending shows is so important.

Whilst Peter went on a boat trip with the boys (barge on the Kennet and Avon), I flew over to New York for (not only shopping), but, the Wall Street bourse, organised by John Herzog with Tulis McCall (John's assistant) sending copious emails about the event.  It was held in the fabulous Wall Street Museum of Finance.  Many students attended to see paper ephemera/currency, holding history in their hands.  John puts on a well organised show with breakfast, lunch and drinks available throughout the day.  I did a bit of sightseeing. One evening with Robin and her friend, we viewed the new Freedom Tower and the memorial fountain in front of it.  Whilst standing by the fountain the wind blew and some of the water gently grazed my face, it felt like the tears of America and I felt quite sad. Then the moment was lost as security ushered us away as the area was closing for the evening.

Also heard that the Couch signature can now be found on the £5 of the Isle of Man starting prefix M, likely on the 90000 split with Cashen (there were no Shimmin £5, so you can stop looking).

And the Bank of Scotland will be issuing a short run of 50 notes with PUDSEY01 to PUDSEY40 with the balance of a further 10 having your specific number on - these are all to be sold to raise money for the Children in Need charity.  The design having been produced by Kayla Robson from Dundee, aged 13.  These will not be on general sale, nor issued to the public.

We attended the Valkenburg show.  With mixed weather - from severe rain, which we had already encountered in the UK to so hot, Peter caught the sun whilst we ate lunch one day in town.  I managed to only catch a cold, but, with day nurse and night nurse, managed to work the following weekend at the IBNS London World Paper Money Fair.  The cold turned into a bad cough.  Nearly over that then managed to twist my back.  Not like me to take time off, but, neurofen and wine work well, no, only joking.  I have been sleeping more than usual, considering I slept through the storm of 1987, nothing normally stops me from sleeping but, my position for sleeping with a bad back has!

We will be at the Dublin RDS 16-18 October, usually accompanied by the 'over 50s' show, but, this has moved on a week.  A bit of a shame as one year we had so much yakult to try even we were giving it away!

We purchased new stock whilst at shows and have attended a couple of auctions.  It is still surprising how much material turns up.  I am quite sure we see more material now than when I was a younger collector.



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