Tag Archives: Numismatic Society

I Have a Problem

My positive thinking campaign has paid off so far. I have written more and have submitted to two magazines that I have a patchy record with, one that has always turned me down and one I have never submitted to before. So far, two have replied and both accepted something – one senryu and one Haibun. These were, to be fair, the magazines that had published me before, even if it was not a regular thing. I’m now waiting to see what happens with the other two. It could be months yet, as neither are particularly speedy.

Unfortunately, though I’m doing more work, I am also finding myself bogged down by admin. Some of it is out of proportion to the increased workload. I could keep track of most stuff I was doing with just a brain and a piece of paper but now I’m picking up the work rate and increasing the submissions I am having to keep better records. My brain is marginal at the best of times but give it four new magazines, and the  30 extra poems and I am struggling to keep up.

So far this year I have made 38 submissions. By the end of the year it will be about 50. It’s a long way from the hundred I used to talk about as a target, but it’s near enough one a week, which seems quite a lot when you are the one doing the writing. I don’t know how the woman who wrote the article managed a hundred.  I just looked it up. She was actually aiming for 100 rejections a year. However, all she got was  43, and five acceptances. Lightweight! Makes my submission record, in a lazy year, look quite good.

Today has been mainly taken up with sorting out two submissions, working out my paperwork system, cookery, reading blogs and  drinking tea. Well you need some relaxation time don’t you? I think I have things sorted now, but it’s been a struggle.

It’s now time to complete a blog post telling you all how hard I am working.

Ooops! I just realised that the first meeting of the Numismatic Society is taking place on 11th and I wanted to put on a small display of some local items. I hve the items (mostly) bu I now have a week to do the research. It’s going to be a bit tight.

The Numismatic Society starts again. Can winter be far behind?

Oh, the problem? Time. It’s always time . . .



Holiday and a Reality Check

It ws decided a few weeks ago (not by me) that we would close the shop from Wednesday to Wednesday. The owner is on holiday and decided that it would be easier for staffing if he closed the shop. In other words, after the debacle at Christmas, and his solution (making us take one of the weeks off out of our holiday entitlement because one of his staff (again not me), had made a fuss about coming in for some of the time despite us being given time off as a bonus.

Stamps, stamps, stamps…

The result is that we are now being directed when to take holiday and I am no longer paid for working on Wednesdays (normally my day off). To be honest, I can’t be bothered to argue about it as I have less than a year to go. At that point my small works pension and my Old Age pension will combine to produce an income approximately equal to my current part-time shop job. That’s the advantage of my pitiful career trajectory – retirement will not see me any worse off than when I was working. If I can actually find a part-time job after I retire I will actually be better off as a retiree.

Meanwhile, we had the AGM of the Numismatic Society last night. Eighteen men of a certain age gathered together to mutter and raise hands as the Treasurer read his report and the Secretary read his report and the Chairman gave his annual address The age range is from 45-85, with more at the top end of the scale than at the bottom.

Display of old relics at Flintham Show

Fears about being in a dying hobby are well-founded. Cigarette card collecting used to be a big collecting area. These days, despite a large stock, we sell very few cards and the collectors are mainly in their eighties. Card collecting continues, with football and other gum cards (such  as Star Wars and Batman) still having a following. Pokemon cards have a strong following too, as do many other sorts of card that we don’t deal with. Old dogs and new tricks spring to mind, but as most of the young people do their business online they don’t need a shop.

There were, as I recall, ten collectors shops with coins and medals when I moved to Nottingham 35 years ago. Now there are two, one of which is mainly a jeweller these days.

That’s how it’s going. Collectors generally find eBay a great place to buy (as I do) and they just don’t bother coming into shops these days, a trend I saw starting over 20 years ago. I’m one of the last remnants from the old days, already halfway between dinosaur and fossil . . .

Silver Coin Set

A Quiet Night Out

We had a committee meeting of the Numismatic Society last night. It was difficult to tell it apart from a group of elderly men having a meal. The average age must have been 65, the average hair was white and the eldest member joined the society before the rest of us were born.

It is the 75th Anniversary of the society this year and the conversation was mainly about ex-members, including a fair number who have stopped collecting and joined the choir invisible. Against that background, one of the younger members tried to start a conversation about recruitment of younger people and the future of the society. Most of the members were too deaf to hear him so a potential moment of tactlessness soon passed.

And that is about all that happened at the meeting. It only meets once a year and is not the most active committee I have ever been on, I must admit. At one time I would have had a go at livening things up but I can’t really be bothered.

I did, however, have a very nice Steak and Ruddles Pie with gravy, a small portion of chips and a tiny blob of mushy peas. It was an adequate portion, but, as you may detect, one that fell slightly short. The pie was excellent, and large, so I wonder why they feel the need to make themselves look mean by skimping on the cheap bits.

Ruddles, for those of you who don’t know, was once a great British beer formerly brewed in the county of Rutland. It’s a bit annoying that the Greene King pub chain has taken Ruddles over, plundered and pilfered its good name, altered the recipe and is now using it to add luster to its steak pie.

They call it marketing, I call it another reason I hate the 21st Century.

British West Africa 1/10th of a Penny

A Very, Very Good Day

Breakfast was very nice bacon served in a roll from the local bakery, which includes chia seeds. So healthy . . .

Lunch was corned beef sandwiches with lashings of cucumber (I seem to have over-ordered again on-line and you really can’t mess with cucumbers, which have a habit of turning on you). The house is currently full of the scent of toasting spices as Julia is making Hot Cross Buns for afternoon tea. She is full of energy today as she was planning to garden and has been stymied by cold rain and high winds. As a result, I haven’t had to lift a finger except to change channels on TV. This is my idea of an ideal life.

On top of that I seem to have solved the problem I was having with one of the repeat lines of the new villanelle. As days go, this is a good one.

Talking of which, here is a link to a poem in Contemporary Haibun Online. Yes, I am showing off again. You might like this one too. It’s by Xenia Tran, better known to WP readers as Whippet Wisdom.

There is a break in continuity here as I went off to do Numismatic things.

I set off a little late for the Numismatic Society Auction tonight, stopped at a cash machine and found it was empty. This was irksome as it left me short of money and even later. I’ll tell you all about it tomorrow. It all worked out well in the end.

Returning home, I was presented with a meal of lamb, cabbage, sweet potato, carrot/parsnip mash and broccoli with gravy, Yorkshire pudding and mint sauce.

TV, Easter eggs, roast dinner, bacon rolls, Hot Cross Buns, Numismatic Society and new things for my collection. This was one of the best days in my life. Not quite as good as my Wedding Day or the kids being born, but I’ve definitely had worse days.

An Ambitious Day

Yes, it was an ambitious day. And no, of course the ambition didn’t translate into massive advances in anything. I have a couple of poems in my head, the outlines of ten slides for my talk and not a lot else. It’s better than not having a couple of poems in my head (though they are never as good once I get them on paper) and not having the outline of ten slides done, but I had hoped for more.

It all started off with my decision to get dressed this morning. Normal clothes seemed to speak of standards being maintained so I opted for that rather than the Christmas Victorian Miser Chic look. That would have been warmer, and probably more productive, as the cold kept driving me through to the other room, and TV. And the coffee machine, the remnants of Christmas biscuits and conversation.

At least I did get some stuff done. There have been other Sundays where I have done less. I’m just cooking pizza now and will then be adding salad and going through to watch the Great Pottery Throwdown.

I’m using the word “cook” in its loosest sense here. Ready-made bases, sauce from a jar, grated cheese from a bag and a few sliced veg is not the height of pizza perfection. Nor is coleslaw from a  plastic tub, a sprinkle of cherry tomatoes and some leftover canned sweetcorn. At least it’s not a takeaway.

There’s not much to say apart from that. An inactive life leads to an uneventful blog. On Monday, it will be three weeks util my talk. At the rate I’m going, it should be OK, but I need to ensure that I do keep going at this speed. Bearing in mind I have ten submissions to make (it’s a busy month) this is going to be a hectic few weeks.

A nice cup of tea

Interesting Times

We had a good talk at the Numismatic Society tonight. The subject was FAO coins and the 57 slides passed swiftly, taking just 45 minutes. That’s what I like about a talk – informative and short. One of the other members then spent five minutes checking that his PowerPoint would run on the technology we have available. It does. He is due to give his talk in January. I’m due to give mine in February and I haven’t even started. It is a slight worry, but there is plenty of time. I will, of course, still be saying that a week before the talk.

Sorry, I was tired when I wrote this post and forgot to add information about FAO coins. They are a series of over a thousand coins (1,214 according to one article) released under a programme directed by the Food and Agriculture Organisation of the UN. The idea was to raise funds and awareness by the use of coins. It originally started with stamps but the organisers soon realised that many of the poorer areas of the world were more likely to see a small denomination coin than they were to see an organised postal service.

One of my headlights has blown in the car. That’s not so bad at the moment, but will need replacing before I drive in the dark again. I still have plenty of light, and it’s still light when I drive home at the moment. However, as winter draws on, this won’t always be the case.

DEtail from the barge

A detail from the barge

On my return from the meeting I found a wonderful meal of sausages, roasted veg and gravy was in the oven and nearly ready to serve. I had taken no chances tonight, as Julia often loses herself in preparing for tomorrow. The vegetables were all a little faulty (woody parsnips, tiny carrots and a rather bulbous leek) which I attribute to the general malaise affecting farming and the supply chain since Brexit and Covid combined to bring us down.

Readers in fifty years will probably be appalled that we didn’t have everlasting lights and radar, but particularly that we had to drive ourselves.. Give it a few more years and we will all be travelling in driverless cars. Not a prospect I welcome.

Pictures are details from the wharf at the pottery.

How to manage a rope

I just deleted this post, but managed to get it back. maybe I’m starting to get the hang of this stuff.

Butlins Veleta Competition Medallion 1954

Day 101 (Part 2)

I may have been incorrect when I said I would post immediately if the talk was good. The spirit was willing but Julia had pasties in the oven with potato wedges and you know how it is . . .

It wasn’t the most sophisticated of meals, but it was filling and warm on a cool night.

The talk was excellent, talking about 24 different coins and the personalities associated with them. They were rather too old for me as I know very little about ancient coins, but it was interesting all the same. As an added benefit, I now have a better idea of the timings for my talk next year and know that I can cover about 25 medallions in reasonable detail.

It covered the famous Greek coin with the owl on, Julius Caesar, Cleopatra, Mark Antony, Alexander the Great, Genghis Khan, Richard the Lionheart, Saladin and the Duke of Wellington. And the widow’s mite, Legionary denarii, the debasement of coins, the death of Archimedes and Hannibal. That’s quite a lot for one evening. I’m not sure how long it lasted but that is a good sign. Usually, by the forty minute mark I am yawning and clinging desperately to the last vestiges of my sanity.

It was, to be honest, a night of mixed emotions. It was fun and interesting, and has taken the hard work out of planning mine, which is good. However, it has also set the bar rather high in terms of quality. Content is not a problem, but quality of design is another matter. I had enough problem with simple slides and plain backgrounds last time. Now it looks like I will have to do a lot better than that.

The pictures are from my collection. The medallion is from the Butlins Veleta Competition in 1954, which was the the biggest dancing competition in Britain between the wars, and probably up to the 1960s.

The other two show an item from my collection of plastic transport tokens. When I was asked to talk at the Numismatic Society it was on condition I didn’t talk about my transport token collection. There is no accounting for taste.

They were provided for a number of reasons – pre-payment, employees, postmen, school children and, in this case, Air Raid Wardens, allowing cheap travel for various categories of people who needed it.

Nottingham City Transport 1d ARP token - size comparison

Nottingham City Transport 1d ARP token – size comparison

Nottingham City Transport 1d ARP token

Nottingham City Transport 1d ARP token






Day 101

And the decision is . . . that I will make a decision later. I want to get this written before I go to the Numismatic Society and decision making will only delay it.. The talk is History’s Great Names in Coins.  It is, according to the speaker going to be “a bit different” and “interactive”. This could go either way. If it’s ground-breakingly brilliant I will come straight back and tell you. If it isn’t, I’ll eat my tea first and then tell you.

To be honest, I don’t generally favour new things, so it’s unlikely my evening meal will be delayed. However, we do have a member who tends to start ranting in a disconnected way halfway through most talks and it will be fun to see how he takes it. It is, as we are often told, wicked to mock the afflicted, so I won’t. On the other hand you can’t blame me for wondering what is going to happen. Will he be engrossed? Or will he be provoked into louder than usual ranting?

A letter arrived for me today. It has taken five weeks to get from the USA to Nottingham and is actually two days quicker than forecast. It seems like a long time. I won’t say anything derogatory about the US Mail system, because it’s generally not too bad and I’m sure it has problems that ours doesn’t, such as long distances, bad weather and bears. These, of course, are all minor inconveniences compared to the challenges faced by the Pony Express and the early Air Mail pilots.

Day 45

I took cake home from work and this seemed to smooth things over. A new cakeshop has just opened over the road from the shop where the sandwich shop used to be.

Then I went to the Numismatic Society for the talk on Smith’s Bank. The banking bit was a little dry but some of the family history was interesting and the speaker (who also happens to be my employer) had done a good job of adding coins to convert it to a suitable talk for a coin society. I will give you a choice of following the link, rather than have me inflict a second hand version of the story on you. It’s not quite as interesting as the talk, but it’s infinitely better than my garbled retelling would be.

There was  a rainbow in the sky tonight as we left the shop, maybe a sign of brighter times. So far we have had a very mild winter and I’m hoping we will get through the next couple of weeks without a storm. The rainbow fade as I got the camera into action, but you can just about see it in the header picture.

The second picture is a cigarette case in the form of a British wartime blue £1. They were changed from green to blue to make counterfeiting harder and were the first British banknotes to include a security thread. After the war the colour returned to blue but the thread was retained. It’s not in as good condition as the last cigarette case we put on eBay, but it’s still interesting.

Wartime Blue £1 on cigarette case

Day 44

There’s something solid and satisfactory about the number 44. It’s a far cry from 37, which always has a shifty look, though clearly lacks the gravitas of 88. Having said that, if I pull my belt tighter I can do a passable imitation of the number 8. I wouldn’t know where to start with imitating the patrician number 4.

After writing that paragraph I looked up numerology. It doesn’t say much about the personality of numbers, though does talk a lot about 888, which is a happy number and is also known as the Jesus Number. It is a fine number from many points of view, including my favourite, that it looks like my grandmother and her two sisters standing side by side. They don’t mention that in the Wiki entry, though they do say that it reads the same back to front and upside down. All in all, I like it, but I’m not sure if it’s a number I have much use for in everyday life.

I’m not sure what number I’m going to use for 1st January 2023. It could be 366 I suppose, in which case 888 will fall on 6th June 2024. On the other hand that’s a lot of counting, so I may have to rethink. I hadn’t thought about what happens in Year 2 when you start using numbers for titles.

We are having steak tonight. We traditionally have steak for Valentine’s Day but tomorrow I am going to the Numismatic Society of Nottinghamshire for a talk on the Smith’s Banking Family of Nottingham. Julia, for some reason, turned down my invitation to come to the talk and have a bag of chips on the way home. I’m just hoping I can stay awake through the whole talk now she won’t be there to prod me in the ribs.