Time moves on; circumstances change. For many of us growing old is cruel. In late 2014, Bob Paterson sent The Searcher magazine a poem entitled, “I am a Detectorist’. He said at the time that it wasn’t a wonderful production and he didn’t really expect it to be published. And, according to my recollection, it wasn’t. However, a poem of his was printed in an article submitted in 2015, and for which he was awarded a subscription to the magazine. It is now time to make amends. Here’s the original poem.
I AM A DETECTORIST
I’ve been searching high and low for a little bit o’ gold
or maybe a silver coin or two,
or even just some copper coins, as long as they are old
‘Cos I am a detectorist, and that is what I do.
I’m out in all the weathers, whether howling gales or sleet,
in pouring rain or sometimes scorching summer sun.
I tramp about in tattie fields wi’ mud caked roond my feet,
‘Cos I’m a detectorist, and that’s what I call fun.
Sometimes I find a horseshoe or a little bit of lead
and different kinds of buttons by the score.
I take them home, wash them and put them in my shed,
‘Cos I‘m a Detectorist I then go back for more.
I dig lots and lots of holes and then I fill them in again,
As long as there’s a signal to pursue.
It could be priceless treasure, or a broken Biro pen,
‘Cos I’m a Detectorist; I’ll dig it – wouldn’t you?
I dream of hammered coins, and of long lost buried hoards
even though I know they’re few and far apart.
I dream of golden goblets and of Roman soldiers’ swords,
‘Cos I am a Detectorist and that’s what’s in my heart.
I go on weekend Rallies, setting off before the dawn,
and trudge around the stubble fields all day.
I’ll maybe have a sandwich somewhere round about half one
‘Cos I’m a Detectorist, and that is how I play.
The other folk who do this come from every walk of life.
parents with children and a panting pug.
The young, the old, the in between, the husband and the wife,
‘Cos they are detectorists and they’ve all caught the searching bug.
I scour the fields and pastures for the things lost long ago,
The valuable artefacts of yore,
The coil on my detector keeps on swishing to and fro
’Cos I am a Detectorist, and always look for more.
So when it’s time for me to go depart this mortal coil
I hope and pray the Lord my soul will keep,
And as my spirit drifts away across this earthly soil
’Cos I’m a detectorist; I’ll keep listening for that beep!
EXTRACT from the 2015 SEARCHER ARTICLE
I don’t think that I’ve ever come across anybody so universally well liked as Bob. One member described him as, “a gentle giant with a heart of gold. He’s very dedicated!”
Bob tells me that he’s been detecting since 2012 and I understand that he travels a long, long way from rural Aberdeenshire to attend digs. Bob does have a number of local permissions, but particularly enjoys the organised digs because of, “the diverse locations, enhanced opportunity for better ‘finds’, and the interaction with the (very) wide assortment of characters that also attend regularly. There is also enormous benefit to be gained from tapping into the pooled knowledge and experience of the other dig attendees.
Although detecting for such a short time, this isn’t Bob’s first dalliance with the hobby. Way back in about 1971 he built a very simple machine from a circuit diagram he copied from Practical Wireless.
“It had wire windings around a wooden cross-shaped former’, says Bob. “It did work … sort of, but I never really used it … was more of a curiosity thing as I was working in and captivated by the emerging electronics industry of that time.”
(Then) Bob used a Deus because, he says, “of its power, flexibility, simplicity of use, light weight, compact nature, and price.” I am sure that he isn’t on commission, but Nigel of Regtons should be very pleased with that comment!
GOODBYE UNCLE BOB
In September 2019, Bob made a forum announcement that he had made a decision to retire from detecting and his Equinox and other gear was up for sale.
I’ve had some fun and muckle pleasure
Even found some proper treasure
Lots of scrap and lead and coppers
Artefacts and pencil toppers
Enjoyed the sparkling repartee
and blethers with folk such as thee.
I’ve travelled many thousand miles
and clambered over countless stiles.
I’ve had a few detectors too
Enjoyed them all, the old, the new.
They all found good stuff, pleased to say
But now it’s time to call a day.
It’s time to quit; I’ve had enough
of digging holes and finding stuff.
The gold and silver still unfound
I leave for you, safe in the ground.
The hammies too I leave for you
so you have something to pursue
along with buttons, nails and wire
what more could your heart desire!
I’m selling off my Equinox
I think I even have its box
It comes with all accessories
so if you’re interested, please
Just let me know and gi’es your money
(No, I am not being funny!)
First come first served, that’s how it is,
Not many bargains such as this!
So thank you all, my ‘tecting chums,
I leave you with two upward thumbs
It’s been a blast but now my friend
My ‘tecting days are at an end
I wish you lucky, happy times
With pleasant Digs and cracking finds
I hope TT is good to you
Adios, farewell, cheery bye the noo . .
William McGonagall, the renowned Scottish poet from Dundee has little to fear, and retains his title as the worst poet in the English language. I won’t be throwing rotten fish at Bob. His style is far superior. Also, he’s bigger than me, has more hair and a neater beard.’
THE END OF AN ERA
Comments by other diggers on Detecting Scotland show how popular Bard Bob really was. They ranged from, ‘the fields will not be the same without you; a pleasure to detect in your company; you will be sorely missed. And more. One guy with the forum name Itsthemar (Marty McSweeny) even responded in verse. Bob was lost for words.
I take the opportunity to wish him well and success and fulfillment in whatever he choses to do in the future. Whatever he does, the role of Father Christmas is still available in many Scottish department stores.
LAST WORD from THE BARD
Thank you very much John for taking the trouble to write the blog article. I suppose I will be famous now – maybe get a job on Celebrity Strictly Come Dancing! OMG – imagin ! Secondly – thanks to everyone who’s commented. I really appreciate them all.
You must be thinking this is the longest running retirement ever, and that maybe I’m not REALLY packing it all in! (Frank Sinatra has nothing on me, what?) Finally – Goodbye. Yes, Really – Gooodbye! I’m finally off and away, no more to say, I’m all ‘Thank You’d’ out! Best wishes to everyone, and very happy hunting / Bob.