Tag Archives: eyes only

Shakespeare, Marion, and Mudlarking (31st January 2014)

4 Jun

This update is four months late, but I wanted to include it nevertheless:

I was in London for a meeting of my philosophy reading group — established with Rob Schwartz under the direction of our undergraduate mentor, Dr Jim Faulconer. We were reading Jean-Luc Marion’s The Erotic Phenomenon after hours at Rob’s law firm in London. As we finished late, I crashed at Rob’s place in Chelmsford and then took an early train back to London with an eye towards standing in line for ticket returns at the National Theatre; Simon Russell Beale is playing Lear in a staging whose aesthetic owes something to the 20th c. experience of totalitarianism.

I was quite near the front of the line from 6 a.m. — drizzly weather — but an hour later I learned that Lear was dark that night. I rushed across the centre to another theatre hoping to score tix to Coriolanus, but as this picture makes clear, I arrived too late for any hope of returns.

photo 8I had to modify theatre plans, but it turned out to be a lovely day along the Thames.

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The only ‘finds’ were a couple of interesting pipe stems and this bit of pottery, which I preferred from amongst thousands of sherds for some reason and took with me:

photo (9)There were other interesting things on the foreshore, of course, including this oar and a Ganesha. 

photo 4 photo 2 photo 5 


First Time on the Thames Foreshore (April 26th, 2013)

26 Apr

Good friend Dick Holmes was visiting from the Carolinas. He has done quite a bit of beachcombing and artefact hunting near his hometown in Robeson County (arrowheads and other objects), and he was keen to do some searching here in England. We arose far too early (4.45 am) and took the Oxford Tube into London. Low tide was meant to be at 7.51, but when we arrived at London Bridge, it looked to my rookie eyes to be still in full flood. Only when we got to the London flat of Dick’s cousin were we able to double-check times and confirm that it was in fact low tide. By the time we made it back and across London Bridge to some steps leading to the foreshore, we only had an hour and a half until the tide obscured the searchable area.

We made the most of the time we had, however, bending to the work with a will. In short order, Dick turned up some large bits of articulating iron. I found a lovely pottery fragment with a raised flower on it, as well as a (possible) pipe stem [Ed. note: Nope, it was rubber-insulated wire; 28/4/13]. I also found a modern, base-metal ring. Dick found a tile fragment, a large chunk of sea glass, and various bits of nautical ironmongery. In total we collected 28p in modern coinage, mostly corroded. 

Our finds were all eyes-only. We did break out the AT Pro for a moment, just to get a sense of the difficulty. I set iron disc up to 45 and used the sniper search coil. It did work well once I got used to listening ‘past’ the squelches: we turned up a couple of pull tabs hidden several inches down in the gravelly mud. But there were so many objects scattered on the surface that the machine didn’t seem necessary given our time and tide constraints. 

It was a fun hunt, and it was great to spend fair-weather time on the Thames with a mate. The experience also whet my appetite for more larking. Watch this space…

Dick with London Bridge in the background:ImageImageImageImageImage


(1.5 hrs, eyes only)