One of my best days on the island so far happened on Sunday: I found a place to dig.
A very different experience from finding my first proper bottle dump in Sussex, but an utter joy nonetheless.
I had set out for an aimless wander and followed a stream uphill. In a dirt pile next to the stream I found a broken doll’s head, which is precious treasure indeed. So, I already had my eye in.
I then hiked up a steep lane that had been dug up for pipe work on one side. As I always do, I had a little look to see if the digging had turned up anything. It hadn’t much except some pottery fragments – but as I was looking, I noticed that beyond the adjacent fence there was clear evidence of an old dump.
By old I mean as late as the 90s, which is always horrible to see. Lots of plastic, fizzy drinks bottles, a condom wrapper. Vom.
BUT, I also spotted bits of china and glass that looked older. So I followed the fence around, and found where it ended, butting up to a stream.
No fence, no crime. It was part-enclosing a sort of industrial nothingness with a small patch of woodland next to the stream. No one to bother me on a Sunday.
I started browsing and spotted a clay pipe bowl sat happily on the surface. Jackpot! The ground had been recently turned, so lots of broken stuff. Bricks, glass. I then hit upon a patch of Victorian: a whole tooth powder pot, aqua glass, willow pattern china and a gorgeous piece of an earthenware water bottle from a well in nearby Carisbrooke.
I spent a very happy hour filling my pockets with muddy trash. I had no tools with me, so this was purely what I could see on the surface. Next weekend I’ll go back with a trowel and see what we can see.
This is one of the most important things in my life, so the last year has seemed not-quite-right. I have recurring dreams about finding treasures. It’s a constant in my life, the searching.
So, a very big deal. A very big joy.
Am I right? Tell me!