Andrew Caley’s First Dig

ANDREW © Brandon Bishop

The night before my first dig I am like a kid on Christmas Eve. I am ridiculously excited and cannot wait for the day to dawn. I can see everything that is going to happen. I lie in my bed and picture the scene …

I will walk onto a verdant field rich in history. Countless people through the ages have worked and walked on these fields. There will be an age-old oak tree, under which thousands of medieval bottoms have sat. This venerable tree will have protected yeomen and serfs, possibly Barons and Lords, from the sun and rain. Coins or jewels will have slipped out of the pouches of smocks or robes to be lost in the grass. Hundreds of years later I will walk the same land with my metal detector – me, in the pale winter sunshine waving my magic wand back and forth. There will be a ringing and pinging in my ears. Something lost, something buried, something forgotten for centuries will have been detected! I will kneel down and poke around in the hole I have made with my lucky spade. And there it will lie: an Edward 1st silver penny, perhaps a gilt brooch, lost by a distraught ploughman or Lord of the Manor way back when in the mists of time. I will bring it out into the sunlight for the first time in 600 years.

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Beecham’s Pills were a laxative first marketed about 1842 in Wigan, Lancashire. They were invented by Thomas Beecham, grandfather of the conductor Sir Thomas Beecham.

A long, long time ago when I was a lad growing up in a County Durham mining village, I was conscious of the fact that my parents – and it seemed everybody else’s mam and dad – were very concerned about something called ‘inner cleanliness’.

As well as taking their Carter’s Little Liver Pills and Andrew’s Liver Salts, they were also ardent supporters of Mr Beecham’s renowned pills. We weren’t as reverent and used to sing the parody shown below-based on the Christmas Carol, ‘Hark the Herald Angel’s Sing’.

Hark! The jelly babies sing 
Beecham’s pills are just the thing, 
They are gentle, meek and mild, 
Two for a man and one for a child. 
If you want to go to heaven
You must take a dose of seven;
If you want to go to hell,
Take the blinking box as well.
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The Virgin Searcher

Andrew Caley has been an actor since 2013, and has worked in TV and film; Downton Abbey, Coronation Street, Peaky Blinders, Doctors, The Burying Party, The Gatehouse, as well as theatre; Spamalot, Wind in the Willows) and Television Commercials, Short Films and Features. It takes all sorts, but he is also an avid Leyton Orient FC supporter. Picture courtesy of Brandon Bishop.

In 2017 Andy submitted to The Searcher magazine the first of his articles on metal detecting. He described it as, “offbeat, amusing and Interesting.” In the editing process I found myself laughing out loud and the editor and I couldn’t wait to have it published. Most of the readers loved it, agreed and clamoured for more.

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