Thursday, 24 March 2011

A Visit To FLO, Another Ancient Find And Two Super Films

I visited FLO yesterday. No she isn't my sordid little secret , she is Dot Boughton, the North West's Finds Liaison Officer responsible for recording historic finds made by the public. She works out of Preston's, Carlisle's and Lancaster's museums and has regular meetings with metal detector users. I took my brother Peter's Bronze Age axe head to her for recording and thought that I might as well take all of my own significant finds made in her area of over the past twenty years before FLO's existed. Dot was delighted with the small collection of Roman and later artifacts and over almost two hours she painstakingly photographed and recorded everything including measurements and weight. I should get a copy of her report on them all in about eight weeks. As I had travelled all the way to Lancaster and the sun was shining brightly I thought that I might as well travel on a little further to where the bronze axe was found and do a little more searching.

It's good to be getting back into the hobby of metal detecting now that I have both the time afforded me by retirement and the new hip which makes walking more than a few yards possible. Here are yesterday's finds. As usual there are the shotgun cartridge cases and bits of foil that litter most fields in the area but in addition to those, the tiny washer and the old bulb, I found three coins. A 1960's threepence, a Victorian sixpence and a beautiful Roman coin.

I couldn't identify the coin but the metal detecting fraternity are a helpful bunch and a quick posting on one of their forums revealed that it is a Sestertius of the Emperor Trajan and it dates to c100AD. It's quite rare to find a brass coin from this period in such nice condition so it was a worthwhile trip. Funnily enough it was only a couple of inches deep whereas some of the shotgun cartridges were a foot down. I emailed a photo to Dot and she's recording it without me having to travel back to Lancaster.

The beauty of the hobby is that you really never know what you are going to find. On holiday last week in the Lake District I turned up this old tinplate model of the royal coach. It's a worthless piece of junk but interesting all the same.

An altogether different type of vehicle featured in The Lincoln Lawyer last night's Orange Wednesday offering at the local VUE. Matthew McConaughey plays a Californian lawyer who works from the back of his classic Lincoln. It's an excellent courtroom drama starring McConaughey as Mickey Haller,  a hard drinking but brilliant attorney who gets results. When hired to defend a wealthy young man who is accused of assault and attempted rape, Haller faces a tough assignment. The way that he oozes "cool" as he handles the case is a joy to watch. We both enjoyed the film very much. It's pacey, well directed, full of good performances and has a cool soundtrack to boot. Give it a try.

We had another cinema outing this week when we went to FACT to see the new Herzog film Cave Of Forgotten Dreams. Herzog got access to the magnificent Chauvet Cave in France. It was discovered in 1994 and contains the oldest art works known in the world at over 30,000 years old. Such is the fragility of the environment, only a handful of people have ever been inside and very few every will. The paintings are quite stunning and, although on one level the film could be seen as "just a documentary", with Herzog directing, there is a sense of humour and character that only he could achieve - the archaeologist who was once a circus performer, the perfumer who sniffs the hillside for signs of more hidden caves and the enormously mustachioed historian who demonstrates the stone age art of bison hunting in a wonderfully inept and endearing fashion.  An added bonus at FACT was the live link up by satellite to a Q&A session hosted by Jason Solomons in which Herzog showed himself to be as charming and enigmatic as his wonderful films. 

So many films to see at the moment ( we've still not seen Submarine and want to try The Eagle) but at least with retirement there's plenty of time to get to them.