Bob’s Bits

Nail Shop Tools

Bob Burton lives in the Black Country, a name given in the mid 1800’s to the industrial region located in the midlands of England. As the industrial revolution gained full momentum the area was considered the ‘workshop of the world’. The name is derived from the smoke of many thousands of ironworking foundries and forges. There would also have been local cottage industries manufacturing nails in the area. Bob gives us a reminder of our industrial past.

BOB SAYS: “My nephew and brother-in-law have recently moved into ‘Nailers’ Cottages’ and I have helped both of them with a bit of gardening. I have also supplied them with metalwork such as horseshoes, buckles, flagons and bottles for external decoration.”

“When I found an old nail whilst detecting it got me thinking just a little differently about nails and the life of the local nailer. The hand-made nail shown above has a square shank and dates to before 1800. I understand that nails with rectangular shanks are Victorian.”

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A Shropshire Lad

if you expect to read about Garrett detectors, then forget it and move on. This is a reprise of a blog made years ago. Enjoy. The mention of Garrett is just clickbait. 🙂 My rules; my blog. Take it or leave it!

Okay. I’ve had a change of heart and there is a post at the end re metal detecting.

Sir John Betjeman

A few years ago I mentioned Captain Matthew Webb, the first guy to complete the successful Channel swim in 1875. John Betjeman’s ‘Shropshire Lad‘ commemorates the death of Captain Webb, portraying his ghost swimming back along the canal to Dawley.

Click on the link below to hear Betjeman reading his own evocative poem set to music by Jim Parker. This is a treat–don’t miss it! The poem is from Betjeman’s debut album ‘Banana Blush’ written in 1974, which he describes as a ‘vulgar pop song record’

The gas was on in the Institute,
The flare was up in the gym,
A man was running a mineral line,
A lass was singing a hymn,
When Captain Webb the Dawley man,
Captain Webb from Dawley,
Came swimming along the old canal
That carried the bricks to Lawley,
Swimming along, swimming along,
Swimming along from Severn,
And paying a call at Dawley Bank
While swimming along to Heaven.

The sun shone low on the railway line
And over the bricks and stacks,
And in at the upstairs windows
Of the Dawley houses’ backs,
When we saw the ghost of Captain Webb,
Webb in a water sheeting,
Come dripping along in a bathing dress
To the Saturday evening meeting.
Dripping along, dripping along,
To the Congregational Hall;
Dripping and still he rose over the sill
And faded away in a wall.

There wasn’t a man in Oakengates
That hadn’t got hold of the tale,
And over the valley in Ironbridge,
And round by Coalbrookdale,
How Captain Webb the Dawley man,
Captain Webb from Dawley,
Rose rigid and dead from the old canal
That carried the bricks to Lawley,
Rigid and dead, rigid and dead,
To the Saturday congregation,
And paying a call at Dawley Bank
On his way to his destination. John Betjeman

A few years ago, Mrs. John and I spent a short holiday based in a farmer’s barn near Bodmin Moor. Betjeman also had a lifelong love of Cornwall and wrote many poems about the area. He died in Trebetherick and is buried at the ancient church St. Enodoc, near Rock. We trekked over the sand dunes to see where he was buried.

Sir John died in 1984 aged 77 at his home in Trebetherick. He was buried at St Enodoc church near Rock. Picture by JW.

Rating: 5 out of 5.
Continue reading “A Shropshire Lad”

Random Thoughts

Don’t see any of the clone guys digging holes! I‘d up-sticks and try somewhere else.

Thoughts on Detecting at Random. Random is a beach resort in Cornwall.
Just made that up. Picture: joyreacter

One of the popular posts (now unavailable) on my last site had 43 comments. I have updated it for the current clientele and it makes another appearance. Same name, different content: Random Thoughts – of a Metal Detectorist .

They (well, one of my friends) has asked me to reprise the post on the ‘Vulgar Penny’ and, no doubt, it will surface later – depending on the results of the simple poll below.

History Myths Debunked

Sometimes I have a temporary failure to think clearly. This lapse of concentration happens to all venerable men. Take my Texan doppelgänger Dick Stout for example, who is particularly well-endowed. Not only has he aged well but along the way he has piled on the wisdom and secretes oodles of character. When HE cannot reason correctly, he uses a phrase that he taught me – BRAIN FART. You’ve just been reading one! Check out his blog HERE.

Sorry, I have strayed again. Over the years people have used my work from the Net and passed it off as their own even though I say in my blog:

And it’s happened again. Whilst perusing the Net I noticed that a blogger in the ‘Wild West’ state of America had used MY illustration of the different pennies and credited the picture to someone called Matt Phillips. I contacted the lady and explained the situation. She was very apologetic and immediately credited the guy who originally photographed the pennies-me.

Most of the images and words on this blog are my own. Where images have come from external sources I have aimed to credit and link back to the original source to respect the owner’s copyright. If you think I’ve missed anything please get in touch and I’ll rectify it straight away. Likewise, if you’d like to use any of my images please just let me know. Thank you and enjoy!

Another ‘Theft’

I have several examples of picture purloining to choose from – I’ve topped the bill in Warsaw Wally’s infamous blog many times. He calls me the ‘Grumpy old Detectorist – amongst other delightful names – who lives in Tekkie La-La-Land’.

This guy has attacked me many times before and used to sprinkle his posts with the picture of a snowman. Geddit? When I pointed out to him that this showed little merit, he manipulated my caricature to show an old man with a stick. Eventually it was taken down.

“P*** B*** has built himself a sinister reputation roaming around metal detecting forums causing vexatious problems … he is not your friend … he is dangerous.”

Dave Welch of ‘Classical Coins’

Sorting – again and again

I am sorting out my affairs plus the cornucopia of detecting stuff in my study. And, although I’m just the impatient director of operations: it is very distressing for both the three of us 🙂 I really don’t know where everything will end up. I’ve still got almost every issue of that great metal detecting magazine, The Searcher. The guy who wanted them seems to have changed his mind. I imagine a skip on the drive when I’m gone – unless you are passing Winter Mansions to have a coffee, check out my study and see what’s on offer. Select that rare book – anything – and a small donation to the Florence Nightingale Hospice will be gratefully received.

Could be Tidier!

The old’uns are the best

I once had a slim book of funny illustrations called, The Perils of Metal Detecting, author unknown, but I can’t locate it in my study or the Net. I used this cartoon many years ago. Can’t find the details anywhere. Can you help? I may have given it away as a prize in one of my competitions.


I would like to credit this cartoon to the artist

The Thinkers’ Drink

Florence Nightingales Nectar

Did you know that some restaurants refuse to list Pinot Grigio by the glass, because it will sell too much, and they want to sell other (more expensive) wines? True.

I attend the day centre at the Florence Nightingale Hospice, in the grounds of Stoke Mandeville Hospital. Some people have a vision of hospices as quiet and gloomy places where the very ill go to spend their final days. This couldn’t be further from the truth and not in my experience.

In reality, hospices are full of life and compassion. They are places people can go to for specialist care and all kinds of support, and where families and friends are always welcome. And it’s not like being in a hospital.

On my first day I spied something that looked incongruous in such a setting: so out of place – and that was a trolley heavily laden with wine, beer and spirits. Strange, I thought. Perhaps I’d missed the monthly Bacchanalian orgy the night before. I wish!

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