Sunday, 20 May 2012

A Few Hours Detecting At Last


After a sad two months of funerals, executorship, putting the house up for sale and buying a new house I finally had the chance to spend a couple of hours out doing some metal detecting - a favourite hobby alongside reading, writing and cinema. Now please don't stop reading there. We aren't all like Paul Whitehouse in the Aviva ads; some of us are quite sane and I've had a pretty successful twelve months with my Roman gold bracelet link being voted the UK Detector Net's find of the year and The Searcher magazine nominating my medieval key as the Nation's Most Significant find. 

So I approached the field in the (somewhat blurred - sorry) photo above with an air of excitement. Not only was the field less than five minutes' drive from our caravan here in St Andrews but the weather was beautiful and the enormous site was close to two ancient routes into the medieval city. I was five minutes into searching it when I got a call from the estate agent asking if they could arrange a viewing - a good omen perhaps.


Maybe not as, after almost two hours criss-crossing the field in search of antiquities, this button was the sum total of my finds. It was not as if I had a pocket full of junk to go with it. No; this was it. Two hours of stumbling across unevenly ploughed land putting my replacement hip at grave risk resulted in zilch. So I did what any sensible detectorist would do and headed back to the car to lick my wounds and decide what to do with the other two free hours I had available.



I drove away from the lovely little city and,after a few miles, spotted a remote church with a farm nestling a few hundred yards beneath it. Hallelujah, the farmer was at home and, as I am finding almost every time here in Scotland, happy for me to look around his fields at my leisure. There was plenty of choice but I chose to search a large piece of meadow with an old doocot  (dovecot for those readers who don't speak Scottish) in the corner. I didn't have a lot of time but within minutes of entering the field I had already found an old spoon handle and an old spoon - a small improvement on the previous giant field.



An hour later I had this lot in my pouch. I know it's not exactly treasure but thirteen coins in reasonable condition are always fun finding. They started with Victoria and ended with George VI and comprised a sixpence, a threepenny bit, two halfpennies and nine old pennies. As you can see, there was a fair bit of rubbish too but it was refreshing to search a field that had clearly not been searched before even if the finds were no more than 120 years old. It reminded me of my early days detecting when signals were prolific unlike today when most fields have had at least one enthusiast giving them the once over. The farmer was amazed to see how many coins turned up and pointed out a ploughed field that locals used to walk through to get to the church - I'm going to give that one a go later in the week.






In the meantime we've got Sarah's Boden party to help with tomorrow and Tuesday. If you like Boden clothes and live in Fife, do come and have a look. Sarah will have five rails of clothes on display for you to try and there's 20% off orders placed on Tuesday plus free delivery and returns. I'll be there. Hope you can make it. You will be very welcome.