Cormorant Phalacrocorax carbo drying itself – a quick shot on the way to Blackpool.
It’s official, I’m losing my mind. Walking past the Pleasure Beach amusement park (situated on the promenade, just south from south pier), I was making my way to the sand and my chosen detecting spot for the day, when I had a big realisation…..my right hand was empty! Don’t ask me how a person who’s going metal detecting, manages to walk about 300 meters from the car and only then realise they haven’t got their metal detector with them…..well, I just shook my head in disbelief, turned around and made my way back. This isn’t the first time I’ve done this kind of trick, oh no, not the first time at all…..I once left the detector at the side of the road and drove all the way home before I realised my mistake, I was very surprised then, to find it just where I’d left it but it was panic stations for a while. I also like to leave digging tools behind, either at home or in the field, usually reaching the furthest distance away from them before I realise, a wonderful sinking feeling, ho ho ho!
As I shamefully walked back south after retrieving the detector, again past the pleasure beach, I cast my mind back to the last time I visited here and oh my, how time has slipped away. Forty three years have flown by since I shakily stepped off a ride called the octopus and spewed my guts up in front of my new girlfriend – it was my sixteenth birthday! I remember the cost for two people to ride the rides for an entire evening, was just £5 exactly.
We went on a ride called the grand national, the ride borrowing its name from the infamous horse race at Aintree, Liverpool and the first drop on the roller coaster, took one’s breath away. I’d bought a giant red toffee lolly for my little sister (horrible monster, more like) and as there was nowhere to leave it, I took it on the ride with me, wedging it between myself and the side of the carriage. As we went over the first bump, my girlfriend and I lifted bodily from the seat and came crashing down, smashing the red lolly into tiny pieces. Back then, the carriages just had a flat bench to sit on and a metal bar to cling on to, it wasn’t much and one had to hang on for dear life! I couldn’t afford another lolly, so my sis wasn’t too impressed when I gave it to her and she refused to have anything to do with it or me but my dad laughed and I think I ended up nearly sick again, as I had to eat most of it myself…..oh and by the way, my “girlfriend” ended up dumping me that very same week (couldn’t understand why)!
It goes without saying that we also took a ride on the ghost train (this was before my projectile vomiting exhibition) and there’s me, praying it was going to be sooo spooky…..and it did the trick, the girl was clinging to me for dear life, it felt wonderful! We’d just passed the Dracula display and reached the skeletons when something or someone gently moved the hair on the top of my head (long hair in those days) and a voice said “Ooooowwwww Daddy” in my ear – it scared the living daylights out of me and I still can’t decide whether it was part of the ride, or if it was the people in the carriage behind us!
Then of course, there was the spooky tale of a supposedly real life ghost which has been haunting the ghost train for many years. In both life and death, his nickname was Clogger or Cloggy (his real name seems to be a mystery), because he always wore clogs and on many occasions since his death, the clop, clop, clop of his footfalls have been heard echoing down the tunnels of the ride…….
So, here’s a little diversion for you but before I go any further, a short disclaimer; whatever I feel about the authenticity and methods used in the video’s made by various ghost hunting crews, has no bearing on my personal interpretation and belief (or not) in paranormal activity of the ghostly kind, you dig?
“Most Haunted” Paranormal Investigations – Blackpool.
Britain’s answer to the USA’s Zak Bagans and the “Ghost Adventures” crew, is a paranormal investigation show hosted by UK tv personality Yvette Fielding and medium Derek Acorah, called “Most Haunted”. A show which has been blasted by sceptics on many occasions (including this episode) but nevertheless, has gained in popularity throughout the UK. The show visited the Ghost Train, Ripley’s, the Tower and one or two other places and was televised in October 2012. The team tried to experience the ghostly happenings and capture them on camera for all to see…..(those who are really terrified or with an uncontrollable desire for the detecting section may skip this bit now, heh heh!).
So there you go my friends!
The Metal Detecting Session.
As I’ve said, today I’m just south of south pier and the topography of the beach is different on this side of the Victorian structure. This is due to the action of the tide and the direction it comes in at (a better explanation of tide action may be found on the Fylde Coast page). In short however, the tide comes from south to north and then prevailing winds coming from the south-west, blow the tide on shore at about a 45 degree angle. When the tide hits an obstruction like the pier, there are further disruptions in the sand. Notice the difference, the sand is much lower on the other side of the pier and with a couple of drainage channels:
South Pier and the sand is much lower on the other side, giving better chances for the detectorist. This is one example of the changes in topography, one must look out for.
Anyhow, I arrived on the sand and despite a lot of poor souls being lost off Blackpool, I hadn’t heard about any ghost stories around this spot yet (there probably are though!) and my thoughts came straight back to the job in hand.
Starting in the furthest channel from the pier, I quickly gained a 10 and a 20 pence piece, they were like new and in the next hour, I also added a few more coppers to the bag, along with a couple of rivets and a piece of flat copper strip. As I approached the pier structure, two £1 coins and my first pre-decimal joined the rest (it was a penny), another two modern coppers followed and then I had a spate of trash items which I thought were never going to come to an end.
By about lunchtime, I was detecting close to the end of the pier and the sandy bed of the channel now had a layer of pebbles showing through, definitely a good sign and so it proved in this case. My next coin and only the third I’ve ever found at Blackpool, was a silver half-crown piece – wonderful! Sadly though, the coin was rather encrusted and I suspected it’s was of a date later than 1919, when copper was added to save on cost, the coin probably comprising only 50% silver. To remove some of the contamination, I had it soaking in olive oil to loosen the dirt, before I tried to gently clean some of it off (not very successfully I might add, more soaking needed, much more!) and here it is…
Half crown (1920) 50% silver 50% copper (1 year after sterling silver had ceased to be used). This standard was maintained until 1946 after which, silver played no further part in British coinage.
…here’s the rest of the coins (half-crown at bottom right):
Not much spending money this time, the wife will have to go without her dinner again LOL but the day was already complete…..I’d found the half-crown.
Cheerio for now folks and take care, regards James :D