A Grumpy Old Git’s Predictions for 2015

1st February 2015 — 28 Comments

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!


DisappointmentLet’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.


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’.


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.


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!


© JW

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.


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.



Ed Vaizey – Picture courtesy www.gov.uk

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.


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.


I regret to inform you that Jim Leonard, owner and publisher of Relic Hunter Magazine, has passed away. Deepest sympathy to his family and friends


Click on cover to read Jim’s last magazine


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28 responses to A Grumpy Old Git’s Predictions for 2015

  1. John, this post is right on the money. I only hope the meaning isn’t lost on the reader. Especially loved the photo thing…I also hate those redundant, annoying g photos of finds in the dirt and in the palm of the hand. Seems the finder thinks it is more believable that way…..

    And so sorry to hear about Jim Leonard. Did not know him personally but have heard so many great things about him…..

  2. Most of our club members finds are Gold and we prefer a picture showing a few fingers or part of a hand just for sizing reasons. Gold next to a known coin is ok and we all prefer a close up of any older coins without anything else in the shot. If anyone looks at Bendigo prospecting club on Facebook they will see the last few gold pictures have nothing else in shot so the weights mentioned means nothing to most viewers.

  3. Morning John, you have summed up some aspects of 21st century detecting very well.

    While some younger detectorists will find it hard to get on to our wave length.its worth their while to read your article over a few times and save themselves a small fortune..

    Iam sorry to hear that Jim Leonard has passed on, many of us remember him from the original Corfe days of yesteryear.

    We used to sit down for breakfast together at the farm guesthouse.

    There are enough of the old detectorists on the other side to have one hell of a Rally.

    Having said that its time to get my gear out and wrap up warm for today’s WHRADA dig and endeavor give the young ones a run for their money.

    Keep swinging the pen John, your posts are very informative and entertaining for detectorists of all ages.Jerry.

    • Well said Jerry I couldn’t elaborate any further on what you have said and I hate those irritable clod shots and would say a good 90% of them have had the coin pushed into a lump of clay after being found, what is the purpose of showing us a lump of clay I have seen thousands of ton’s of the stuff as being an ex earth moving plant operator.

    • Are we really on a different wavelength, Jerry, Randy?

      Am I just antagonising younger people by highlighting truths in a humorous way?

      • John
        I am sure you are not trying to deliberately antagonise anyone.
        The reference is to the headlines being created by palm photographs, dirty clay shots and inaudible metal detecting video’s and Jerry is only paying respect to how the younger detectorists will find it hard to get onto the same wavelength of achieving these levels of photography and weather sound effects by Video Sound Recordist Experts.
        No harm meant just joking, count me and Jerry in.

  4. Great post John. Hate those “clot” shots and YouTube videos . Confess to being guilty of the odd palm pic mainly due to easier auto focus on a cheap digital camera.

  5. Hi John:

    I’m somewhat disappointed by your latest offering.

    When I saw the para headed, ‘Hand Jobs’ I was expecting something witty about Warsaw Wally and Heritage Harry.

    Happy Hoiking

  6. Another great post John and although meant to be a light hearted laugh at ourselves it is nearly all in a truthful aspect of what is going on in reality.
    I have recently tried to watch a few video’s on youtube where the commentary is completely obliterated with the roar of the wind and while I’m on why does some of these new detectorists insist in posting photo shots of clay, because be assured we can’t see what is supposed to be the edge of a coin.

  7. Great read as always John .. I also hate the clod shots and all the videos.
    R.I.P Jim you were a lovely man and will be remembered.

  8. R.I.P Jim.


    What annoys me isn’t clod shots, palm shots or detector box shots. Neither do Youtube videos nor UFO shots upset this subscriber to your blog.

    Unrealistic and below honest field tests do. This in particular is my biggest gripe I have with this hobby. I’m not going to blame magazines entirely for this, as there are plants on forums and Youtube to push the products to the new, uneducated or foolish detectorist.

    Take care out there.

  9. Great post John, did make me giggle.
    P.S. Love the palm shot !

    • Try as I might everything ended up in decent focus … tried to get the coin blurred and the palm sharp! There’s clearly an art to these palm shots that I have failed to master!

  10. How true your words are John, I also “collected” loads of photos of finds found by other people to drool over again later, so much so that my old “outdated” laptop can cope with no more and have I ever had another look at any of them? Errr well no so that’s become a waste of time and effort. As for new technology, I can say that I am so afraid of being disappointed that I still stick with my current detector which is nearing ten years old, bought second hand and still finds as much as anything on the market at the moment. I am not saying that I could’nt find more with a new detector but I couldn’t handle the disappointment if I didn’t. I was asked when I was getting a new detector and my reply was that I was awaiting the arrival of the detector that could tell you at the field gate whether it was worthwhile venturing in, now that would save me a great deal of precious time and I promise not to be disappointed. I predict it will happen one day. 🙂

  11. Another top blog post john…..your hand would look great on a washing up liquid advert, what was the tag line? Oh yeah, For hand that do dishes feel as soft as your face, mild green Fairy Liquid.
    (Other wahsing up liquids are available, and I am no way connected to afore mentioned product!)

  12. John, I’ve singing this song from some time, and suspect I have angered more than a few tekkies. These are from my “brainfarts” link…

    “A suggestion to all you tekkies who love to take photos of your finds. How about one or two that are NOT in a “clump of dirt” and uploaded instantly. We will believe you actually found it….honest.”

    “How long before detecting videos on YouTube wind up getting someone in trouble?”

    “Curious. Who was the first tekkie to take videos of their “in the field” experiences? I mean who was it that decided others would want to watch “them” dig a coin, button, whatever? Kinda pretentious wouldn’t you say?”

  13. My Prediction for 2015 ,somebody will find the lost treasure of King John .and then get a reward of £22.50p ,just a minute thats not a prediction ,its a fact ,back to the drawing board

  14. Hi John
    as always a very interesting and entertaining read, though we have to agree to disagree on your views of recording technology, I can not see any advantage in sticking with film photography now, other than perhaps the cost of the camera, as you state in your blog you only get what you pay for and if the photographer invests in the proper camera for the job then I am pretty sure it will be digital. As for the clod shots I agree with you there, they can be pretty boring, fuzzy out of focus images, however, I can also understand why people take them, it records the find and also gives the date time etc which is then easy to transfer to a hard drive and log, this is the point when it can all go wrong because some people, pointing no fingers John lose things lol, always backup! John.
    I dabble in photography and if I say so myself can take a pretty decent image but would never dream of taking my Nikon out into the field whilst detecting unless it was a photography shoot and I was solely concentrating on the image in which case I would leave my detector at home, as for the decent palm free images if I ever find anything worthy of a decent image then I will set up my studio lights and macro lens and send it to you John, meanwhile you will still have to suffer fuzzy coins on mud caked palms lol
    Kindest regards

  15. Did you not like my detecting Scotland Drone video then ? lol , yes the same every week would be boring that is why there have only been 2 done , I did very much want to do the charity one this week as it is for a very good cause , but you have been spared as I have a bad bout of Flu so cannot make it. 🙁

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