Wednesday, 17 April 2013

600 Mile Trip Almost Ends In Disaster

If you are a regular visitor to this blog you'll know that one of my hobbies is searching for lost artefacts with my metal detector. I've blogged about some reasonable successes with the machine over the last few years including finding this piece of Roman gold jewellery in September 2011. After going through the British Museum's lengthy procedure the item was recently declared as Treasure and valued at £500. The farmer and I agreed to donate the find to the museum in Penrith, the town nearest to the find spot.

The museum officials wanted a proper presentation of the find and invited me to attend. At over three hundred miles from our new home it was a bit of a trek but I'm keen to promote the hobby whenever I can and, sharing the driving, we set out yesterday morning and arrived  at the museum in plenty of time. 

I was very pleased to see the way that the find had been displayed in a case and enjoyed a quick tour of the museum with the curator Dr Sydney Chapman who told me a fascinating tale of how a coin he was once displaying slipped from his fingers, rolled across the floor and slipped down a crack in the floorboards. 

The photographer duly arrived and asked Dr Chapman to remove my find from its case as he needed it in more light.

Sydney reluctantly agreed to the photographer's request and I gingerly carried the find on its plastic display plinth to the required spot. I don't need to tell you what happened next. The photographer asked me to hold the plinth higher and tilt it towards the camera. As I tilted the find, it slid from the plinth and fell to the floor to gasps from the watching crowd of local museum supporters. To my great relief I didn't tread on it and it didn't slip beneath a floorboard but if you ever see the official photo you will no doubt notice my beetroot complexion. With three hundred miles to drive back I couldn't even steady my nerves with some of the wine on offer after handing the gold back to a mightily relieved curator.

We were back on the road at six thirty and made it back home before midnight. I reckon that we drove about 320 miles each over the day.

While on the subject of detecting displays, I ordered a couple of cases for the new garden office and managed to put some of my nicer finds into them today.


I think they look pretty good.

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