I know. I know. Two months into the New Year, but it isn’t too late for a few predictions, observations and irreverent comment. So what could happen in the detecting world this year – but probably won’t!
Let’s start with those detectorists who are renowned for blindly rushing into purchasing equipment, because forum guys known as ‘PullTabFinder’ and ‘DigitUp’ recommended it! They haven’t thought ahead and disappointment is probably a new word in their vocabulary. Like all gullible punters who haven’t done their homework, the result is predictable.
They were lured by the attraction of, say, a digital microscope at a cost of £9.99, and then disenchanted because it failed to deliver the goods. What did they expect? For them the New Year will be a tough learning curve, when they find out that [usually] you get what you pay for.
RECORDING TECHNOLOGY ▼
This year some of us will learn the hard way that technology is not that impressive. Take digital cameras as a prime example. At a comparatively recent excavation of a Roman mosaic at which I was present, the archaeologist took pictures on [what I thought] was an old-fashioned camera using film. You remember the stuff. When I asked him why, he said that it was more reliable as a recording medium. And he was right.
With film, an astonishing library of the twentieth century sits in a box or everyone’s kitchen drawer. But with digital it sits on a computer’s hard disk waiting to be lost when the damn thing crashes. Which it will, sooner or later. Like me, you may have pictures stored on outmoded devices like Zip-Drives of Floppy Disks, and unable to access them because technology has ‘moved on’.
DEMISE of DETECTING ▼
I predict that the hobby of detecting will take a back seat to that part of the hobby that is luring many into the difficult and challenging role of film director. I don’t know about you, but I’ve given up watching those tedious roller-coaster videos where nothing much happens as the wind whistles across the microphone like a demented banshee as another find is pulled from the earth.
Another development, on rallies especially, will be a proliferation of endless videos taken with one of those infernal drone machines. Mark my words. And don’t get me on about those so-called clod shots. I don’t want to see them, thank you! Just post a decent picture.
HAND JOBS ▼
Which brings me on to pictures of your finds on forums. Why oh why do people take pictures on the palm of the hand? They don’t show the artefact to best advantage. Take a decent picture, man!
I have a confession to make. I’ve been collecting top pictures of the genre favoured by the majority of you [it seems] with the intention of a blog post devoted to the best examples, but I chickened out. Somebody may have recognised the shot and taken umbrage. Forum administrators would object and I’d be banished forever. I’d be declared an outcast and spend the rest of my days gibbering to myself near the chuck wagon as the rest of you droned on directing your next detecting epic or worked on the art of taking palm pictures of your hand. So, to stave off any potential problems that might have winged my way, I’ve taken – for the first time – a photo of a coin on the palm of my own hand.
At this point I offer a word of warning. We have so many laws now in the UK and so few policemen to enforce them that the slack is being taken up by the likes of ‘plastic policemen’, the community support officers in high-viz jackets who have fewer powers than some moderators on detecting forums.
Then there are the Highway Agency teams you see on motorways. They drive around in chequerboard 4×4’s. They look like policemen, but their main job is picking up rubbish and clearing away after accidents.
Sorry, I digress. Because they don’t have the expertise and can’t afford the time, the police have also recruited spotty-faced teenage whizz-kids on minimum wage to monitor detecting forums searching for illicit activity. Be aware. They systematically reap ALL pictures of finds taken on the palm of the hand. The skin details are far superior to a fingerprint and in some cases, better than DNA. Your details are being stored on a police database in Milton Keynes! In many cases the detail is pin sharp … the subject rather fuzzy.
INCREDIBLE and INNOVATIVE NEW DETECTOR ▼
An English manufacturer will challenge the big boys with a new detector that’s predicted to take the hobby into a new dimension. I understand that boffins are beavering away in an underground bunker near Birmingham in an effort to have the product ready in just over a year’s time, about next April.
And what’s the attraction? The control box display will record the target as a pukka 3D picture meaning that you can see, in real time, a full colour image scan of what is below the ground. You can forget unproven machines available now with their bright pixellated pictures, and with a price tag of thousands of pounds. This new machine, so I am reliably informed, shows proper pictures and will be available for under £100. See the first item above entitled Disappointment.
NOW YOU DON’T SEE ME, NOW YOU DO! ▼
From August, just in time for the new season, the Government will be bringing in new legislation to ban the wearing of camouflage clothing whilst metal detecting. The second reading of the Bill was last week said that all hobbyists should wear high-viz jackets so they could be easily seen when in the field.
This comes about after a lone camo-clad detectorist suffered a heart attack on a secluded site and died. His body wasn’t located for another three days.
The initiative has been welcomed by Ed Vaizey MP, Minister at the Department for Culture etcetera, who said that we must look after the finders’ of the nation’s heritage. High-viz clothing seemed a small price to pay. Officers at the National Council for Metal Detecting [NCMD] were not enamoured with the idea, but have agreed to form a committee to look into the possibility of awarding a subsidy for any of their members who invest in bright yellow jackets.
PIGS MIGHT FLY ▼
That eminent, successful and well respected detectorist Peter Ross [well, you should have] tells me that sometime towards the end of the year one of our leading detractors will say something complimentary and positive about the hobby.
Just as I was preparing the bunting, Peter deflated me [and a balloon I was blowing up] with the reminder that the single sentence would be hard to find as it will be deeply buried amongst 2000 words of other crap!
I apologise in advance if I have offended anybody called PullTabFinder or DigItUp – they were made-up names. Also to all those with a humourdectomy operation who have failed to see the purpose of this post, which was simply to have a laugh at ourselves.