Once Upon a Time ......

Thank goodness for Friendship

On a beautiful day, 2 ardent detectorists hit the very local fields as per usual. The common small finds of Lead, Buttons and Buckles were recovered when, after 2 hours, a lovely little object appeared. After perusing the small object for a period of time, his friend had noticed his colleagues lack of detecting, so made his way towards him to see what had been found.

His colleague slowly came to the conclusion that it was a broken combination key and had no real purpose. By which time his detecting buddy had got within range and asked "What you got there then?" The reply was the usual one given, "Rubbish, i'm going to chuck it in the ditch!"

At which point he drew back his arm, and as the arm reached the full extension, his good friend let out a scream "NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO! don't do that!"

"Why not?" came the reply

"Because it's a bl**dy Viking strap junction!"

"You what! this thing is Viking?"

"Yes"said his friend - "go check it out, or give it to me".

So the find was taken home, and low and behold, on checking with Benets Artefacts 2nd edition, there, on page 329, was the 11th century viking strap junction from a horse harness fitting, or strap adjustor.

Needless to say, the 2 good friends never miss an opportunity to wind each other up by recounting the story to anyone who will listen.

1683 - School Rules

posted Apr 11, 2011, 4:14 AM by A Standish   [ updated Apr 11, 2011, 4:24 AM ]

I was pleased to receive a copy of these school rules, which make for very interesting reading.

The school concerned was, i believe, located in the beautiful village of Flore.

Do you think that the punishment meted out could be what some of todays kids need?

Enjoy the read.

1963 & The Great Train Robbery

posted Jan 24, 2011, 7:31 AM by A Standish   [ updated Jan 24, 2011, 7:42 AM ]

.. and it came to pass that the day after the big heist, one of our club members was delivering goods to local farms in the Letchworth area, when he was stopped by the police at the very bridge where the robbery took place. Luckily for him [and us], a photographer from a national newspaper caught the event and published the picture of our colleague being 'quizzed' by the police.

His response to the first question, 'where are you going' raised a few eyebrows when he replied 'I'm delivering to local farms in the area'. I gather that this put the cat amongst the pigeons and pretty soon, he and his lorry of goods, were being thoroughly searched.

Luckily for him, he was able to demonstrate that he wasn't in the area at the time of the robbery and was sent on his way, with a wave!

It must be said that he recounted the story with some glee at our recent club meeting. It was a pleasure to hear all about his 'connection' with that big event. [Though some amongst us, questioned the fact that he may have been the one that had got away!!]

Button Mystery

posted Nov 20, 2010, 12:34 PM by A Standish   [ updated Nov 22, 2010, 9:49 AM ]

Just the other week a very experienced detectorist, whilst out on a relatively new field to the west of Daventry, came across a very modern button, with makers name and other prominent features that made identification that much easier.

A couple of hours of research spent on it, meant that almost every piece of information on the button was recorded on his database.

Two weeks later, when putting on his detector jacket, he noticed that he had a button missing off the jacket and yes, you guessed it ... the buttons on the jacket were identical to the one he had found a few weeks earlier!

Speculation is now rife as to whether the recovered button is indeed the missing one .............................. or not!

The Mystery of the Missing Manhole Cover

posted Aug 19, 2010, 5:29 AM by A Standish

I was reminded recently about a strange request received from a lady representing a local village parish council. They were trying to locate an old manhole cover outside the local village hall.

She explained that the existence of the manhole cover was denied by the local water, electricity and telephony services. There was no apparent record of its existence, yet it was known that 2 villagers had worked on its installation way back in the 1950s. Now the reason for the search was that the Utility companies were going to charge a small fortune to put in a new one, unless it could be shown that the old one existed.

An exploratory survey by the Utility companies, who took the easy option by yesterdays standards, sent a remote camera down the pipe and it indeed showed a covers existence, below ground. On the surface, everything was grassed over. However each of the Utility companies, said it wasn't theirs. So therein lay the problem, where was it and who owned it?

On the agreed date and armed with 3 different types of detectors, [just in case!], I arrived at the village hall and duly started to search, under the watchful eye of the parish council. No pressure there then!! Within a few minutes i got the first signal -- but it wasn't iron. As i dug it, up popped a ship halfpenny. Filling in the hole and moving forward, another signal came. This time it was a 1930's 6d and also in the hole was a decorated clay pipe fragment, [later identified as 18th century]. Having walked over the entire grass area, with the explorer 2, no strong iron signal was forthcoming.

So a quick change of tack, i resorted to a more basic machine, and lo and behold, within 2 minutes the signal nearly blew my eardrums out. Talk about overload!  Digging down, just beyond spade depth, we hit a corner of the manhole cover. The Parish council were now intrigued -- who's name was on it. 

Willing volunteers scrambled for the remaining spades and the sense of anticipation mounted as a lovely mesh decorated design started to appear, then some letters .......PR ......... O .......PER ........TY ............of ...................G.P.O. ..........................1957

Cameras clicked away and there was much excitement as they were now able to demonstrate its existence and ownership.

A few weeks later, i received a lovely letter of thanks from the Parish Council with an offer to reimburse my expense. Naturally, i was only to pleased to help, and declined the offer.

Try, Try, Try again

posted Aug 2, 2010, 4:35 AM by A Standish   [ updated Aug 2, 2010, 9:58 AM ]

Well, this little story is about perseverance. One of our colleagues was getting a little despondent about finding good quality finds. After a year of trying, there was a growing sense of frustration, to the point where they threatened to give up the hobby.

Then it all changed in a weekend!

Attending 2 rallies in 2 days, the first one saw our colleague glean a lovely silver ring from the ground. Everyone was in awe at the find and were very pleased, offering congratulations all round, [whilst at the same time secretly wishing that they had found it!]

The next day, on another rally, a lovely little hallmarked silver pepperpot was dug out. The date was 1935 and a makers mark 'R & Co' clearly seen.  Well done indeed, its a lovely artefact and we all hope that you have many more quality finds along the way.

So to those of you out there who wonder when the finds will come your way, remember the saying 'Try, Try, Try again' and eventually the rewards will come.

A Calf, A Barn & A Wedding Ring.

posted Jul 28, 2010, 12:16 AM by A Standish   [ updated Jul 28, 2010, 12:37 AM ]

On a cold Spring day in 2009, i received a call from a farmer, on whose land i detect on, asking if i could help find a friends wedding ring. Arrangements were made to visit the farm within the hour and on arrival were met by the farmer and his good friend who proceeded to tell me the following story.

The day before, he and his wife were helping deliver a calf in what was going to be a very difficult birth. So, his good lady removed her wedding ring and placed it on a hay bale, on the edge of the compound within the barn. They then tackled the immediate problem, to deliver the calf, which proved to be a titanic struggle, before the birth was succesfully completed.

The wife then turned to the location where she had placed her wedding ring, only to find that the hay bale had been knocked over and its contents scattered amidst the slurry on the floor. They had a quick search around, but in the evening gloom, it proved fruitless. She was very distraught as the wedding ring had been handed down from a previous generation.

I was invited to go along and help search the barn, but due to work commitments there would have been at least a delay of a week, before i could get there. So it was agreed that i give them a lesson there and then, on how to use the detector. After 30 minutes and lots of practice on grass and in a barn environment, they both felt confident that together they could work the machine. So, i left the machine with them, along with my telephone number.

Next evening, i took a call from a very relieved farmer. They had found the ring, about 3 metres from where it had been placed. His wife was very pleased with the outcome and a reward was offered and declined. Arrangements were made to collect the detector and the farmer then offered the opportunity to detect on his grounds after harvest was over.

......... a lovely story, that typically highlights good practice in working together.

The Digger keys ......

posted Jul 26, 2010, 9:36 AM by Tony Smithurst   [ updated Jul 28, 2010, 6:11 AM by A Standish ]

I thought i'd tell you about how we helped a farmer find the keys to his digger. Last year, i received a call asking if we could bring the metal detector to the farm, as he had lost the keys to his mechanical digger. I set about enlisting some support from fellow detectorists. On arrival at the farm, we were taken on a 20 minute journey, to where the farmer with friends had been working on a project to divert the course of a stream.

The mechanical digger was on hire and a set of spare keys had been lost. We searched the 20 metre length of tubing, which was filling with water at the time. No signal was forthcoming. So a decision was made to lift the tubing out, and search the bed of the stream. Shoes and socks off, and a careful search of the area revealed .................................. nothing.

So attention turned to the surrounding surface area. A careful search resulted in several Georgian coins and a silver Victorian 6d, but still no keys. Finally, we had to turn to the huge mound of soil that had been piled up, as a result of the mechanical digging. A quick external survey on the top, then down the sides and along the base revealed ................................ nothing.

At this point i had to make my excuses and leave, to attend another pre-booked function. So i made the decision to leave the detector with them, having given the farmer operating instructions. I couldn't get to the site the next day as my car was having its annual MOT. but towards the end of the day i took a call from a very relieved gentleman. They had found the missing keys, with the aid of the detector. Yes, you guessed it, almost at the bottom of an estimated 3 tonne mound of earth.

They were so pleased as there were a set of car keys attached to the digger keys and the owner did not have a spare set of car keys.  A reward was offered, which was declined.

It's amazing to think how our hobby helps others!


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