Snow, snow and thrice snow!

In recent years I have been following the weather forecasts of James Madden of Exacta Weather. This is the chap who accurately forecast the heavy snow falls and cold snaps of November 2009 and December 2010, the miserable summer of 2012 and the endless cold and miserable winter and spring of 2012 – 2013, often 6 – 9 months ahead.

So when he wrote back in the spring:

… the Autumn 2013 & Winter 2013/14 period is something that we have had earmarked within our forecasting parameters since 2009!

I sat up and took notice – especially as I remember his snow dates for November 2009 and December 2010 being very accurate indeed.

His forecast for the coming winter is “Another “Big Freeze Horror Winter” 2013/14 + Huge Snow Amounts”, with wintry weather and snow starting in November, and that overall there is a high degree of probability that it will be as bad as 2010 or even worse, especially in January 2014.

If Mr Madden is as accurate as in previous years, this may well be a winter for rearranging the finds display case and polishing the pro-pointer.

Oh woe!

Next purchase – a wetsuit

I’ve not been out for a couple of weeks because of a knee injury but I was disturbed to read a report in today’s Telegraph that the recent series of poor summers could run for a further 10 years.

The meteorolgists noticed a warming of the North Atlantic Ocean in recent years.

This “North Atlantic Oscillation” pushes the jet stream south. Usually the channel of winds, that move from west to east, is much further north of the UK. When it shifts south, like it did last summer and is currently doing, it means wet weather from the Atlantic is blown in over the country.

It caused a run of wet summers in the late 1950s and early 1960s and in the 1880s.

The Met Office do not know exactly what causes the pattern to repeat but predict it will last for another ten years. The current run of wet summers began in 2007 and usually the pattern lasts for ten to 20 years.

This is a depressing thought. Since I first started detecting in October 2011 I’ve seen one cold winter followed by the most miserable summer in a century followed by the coldest winter in 50 years and now another wet, grey miserable summer. I know one is supposed to dress appropriately for the outdoors, but a snorkel and fins would look bloody stupid in a field in Warwickshire.

Between the two old roads

Tried my luck yesterday in the small area in Field 5, between the two old roads, that I’ve been itching to get on for months. The farmer had told me that most of it had been fenced off and planted with saplings, which proved to be true. While I could have gone in the enclosure there wouldn’t have been much point as the grass, not being grazed by the sheep, was more than knee high. If it’s to be done at all it will have to be early in the spring before the grass begins to grow.

I detected in sweeps parallel to the aforementioned fence, making half a dozen passes and keeping a wary eye on the scudding banks of cloud rolling in from the north. Every so often one came on much blacker than the rest, gradually covering the whole sky and turning daylight into a sort of twilight. Then the hail would begin to fall, pelting down like a gauzy curtain moving across the fields. In four hours detecting I dodged as many of these storms and two normal but heavy rain showers, taking shelter under an overhanging tree and breaking out the flask of coffee while they passed.

In theory this should have been a productive spot but in practice was worryingly thin on finds. Not just on finds, but on signals generally. The only finds of the day were a button, a bullet and a copper alloy ring of a sort that is variously identified on metal detecting forums as Dorset buttons and belt rings. However a couple of similar rings I showed to the FLO last year came back identified as curtain rings of indeterminate medieval or early modern period, but dating from the period when many houses were internally divided by curtains rather than walls.

Finds: 1 button, 1 bullet and 1 copper alloy ring.


Detecting Shropshire dig

Yesterday I attended the Detecting Shropshire dig as a guest. It was held at a site in north Shropshire and we all met at a pre-arranged spot before driving in convoy to the day’s farm.

The weather was shockingly windy; as we drove up the farm track past a dead tree, a large branch was torn off and landed only a few feet from the passing cars. Once we were parked up and out of the shelter of the farmyard it was obvious a gale was whipping across the fields. In fact it was so strong that when I put the Deus down to dig a hole the wind started to blow the detector away, bowling it along the ground. (Yes, folks, that’s how light the Deus is – it blows away in a gale.) The fields were also covered with rotted manure, which meant that you had to pick carefully which areas to detect and dig and which to avoid.

By around noon people were gathering again in the farmyard, not only for lunch but to get out of the wind for a while. A handful of people left at this point, though who knows whether they would have done so if the weather had been better. Having scoffed lunch and downed a couple of cups of coffee I tried to persuade myself that I was ready to tackle the gale again. And failed. Coward that I am, I decided to call it a day too.

This was, despite everything, the best day’s digging I’ve had in ages. I found nothing spectacular but I’m still learning how the Deus works and I came away with a handful of small finds, including my first thimble, though others did very well and found more than I did, both in terms of quantity and interest.

Finds: 1 thimble, 1 ear tag, 1 Georgian grot, 4 buttons and 1 piece of drawer handle.

130414 MDF