Daft as a Brush – Eyes Only

8th September 2019 — 11 Comments

Me old Ma (bless her) had many words used to describe me. One of them was, “he’s as daft as a brush”. Strange phrase which I think is from the north-east of England. The complete phrase (according to Mr Google) is, ‘Daft as a brush and not half as useful’.

There are many explanations for where these words originated. This one will do for me. In the days of sweeps children were often used to clean chimneys as they were the only ones small enough to access the chimney to sweep it out. They were held upside down inside the chimney and accidents frequently ensued resulting in brain injury. Hence the expression daft which means silly, unable to concentrate etcetera. I was a smal boy, always grimy and rather naughty.

Nearly 80 years later, that phrase still resonates. The appellation seemed to fit admirably. Note to self – get on with it, John. 80% of your subscribers have already switched off! Okay, I take the point, sitting on my right shoulder guy! Me Ma was right. I’m crackers . . . definition and etymology another time.

Eyes Only

Old habits die hard, don’t they? Most days Mrs. John wheels me down to the coffee shop, a two-mile round trip. Because of the situation, conversation is difficult, hearing aids are of little help, and I use the time for observation and contemplation.

I spend a lot of time watching the clouds scudding by or avidly searching the uneven paths and sidewalks (word inserted as a homage to my friends over the Pond) looking for well, anything.


© JW

I’ve found many lost coins and wish to show you one example that I found earlier today. The modern trend is to show you a ‘clod shot’, but there are no clods out there. It’s an urban jungle. My shot, reminiscent of pictures I see on most forums is called a ‘clad shot’. A clad coin is essentially a piece of copper sandwiched between two layers of nickel and zinc. So, while a clad coin may look shiny and silvery, it doesn’t contain an ounce of silverHere’s my ‘clod shot’, presented in the traditional manner, that of a challenge to a viewer who couldn’t care less anyway. Can you see the coin?


© JW

Well. Did you find it? If you did, then you’re a better man than I am, Gunga Din. There isn’t a coin in the picture. Sorry. Today, in one of my contemplation phases, I thought of a blogpost, but didn’t have the coin on me. But that’s okay. Most posts of this nature are staged anyway. I took a picture of the place (give or take a mile) where the coin was found. And here it is.


© JW This five pee coin depicts a section of the Royal Arms showing elements of all four quarterings

When I spied this coin I felt similar excitement to digging up a rusty nail when I was a young and inexperienced detectorist. The ‘hammy dance’ was out of the question . . . and I wasn’t capable anyway! After all, it’s only a manky ten-year decimal coin.


1968 – 5p coins were issued from April and originally circulated as shillings.

1971 – All shillings – meaning both pre-decimal shillings and the new 5p coins – were redenominated as coins of five new pence at the time of decimalisation.

1982 – The reverse inscription of 5p coins was changed from NEW PENCE to FIVE PENCE.

1990 – With a view to reducing the weight of the coinage, a smaller-sized 5p coin was issued from June. The larger-sized pieces, including the old pre-decimal shillings, were demonetised at the end of the year.

2008 – As part of a general re-design of the coinage, a new reverse was introduced for the 5p coin.

2011 – With metal prices rising on world markets, the composition of 5p coins was changed from cupro-nickel to nickel-plated steel. As a result of their steel core, nickel-plated steel 5p coins are magnetic.   Royal Mint Museum


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11 responses to Daft as a Brush – Eyes Only

  1. Manky.. now there is a term I have not heard in many an year John..And like the rest of the world, the UK seems to be converting to crapanium when it comes to coin composition..I wonder if any country use ‘real metal’ when it comes to coins..LOL

    But the upside its that anyone magnet fishing can now catch some coins while enjoying their hobby!!


  2. As a young boy my grandfather used to give me half a crown as pocket money, yeah I know it was a lot for a small boy, I was lucky to have this amount of money each week for doing very little to earn it, but at the time I didn’t know it, I can vividly remember getting my first 5 pence in my change from my local sweet shop, not really understanding what it was, I thought the shop owner was trying to pass off a dodgy French or foreign coin ! To say I was not impressed was an understatement, I got banned from his shop for using a few choice words about him trying to dupe a child with fake money, just wish I could still buy as much with my half crown today as I could then !

  3. Interesting tidbit for me was finding out that a shilling was equivalent to 5p.For some reason I thought they were more in the 25 to 50 p range. Since I have English roots in Norwich , it’s always nice to hear what old sayings originated from.

  4. toy money comes to mind john

  5. In 10 years or so this coin will become a rarity, Brian.

  6. John from Ontario (AKA Geobound) 9th September 2019 at 6:06 AM

    With the advent of e-transfers, Apple Pay, NFC payments and any other form of electronics you can think of, I would imagine in 10 years time we will all be happy just finding a 5P since coins won’t be used for much longer anyway.

    Ask a kind how much money they have in their pocket, and you will see what I mean.

  7. I remember the introduction of decimal coins. I was working in Argyll street, London at the time. some Months later in January a shop in Oxford street was selling fur coats for 1d and we turned the studio upside down looking for old pennies.If my memory serves me right I think we found just one. These old coppers have lasted quite well in the fields, not something the decimals will do

  8. I see Dennis mentioning that a 5P was equal to a shilling?
    We never had your new pence here in Oz but a shilling was equal to 12 normal pennies which became 10 cents. Our changeover was in 1966. Us kids at the time lost 2 pennies for each 10 cents we were given.
    Re the clod or grass shot, i had a good look before reading the blurb and wondered what we were looking for or at.

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