Donald MacInnes: I could have been a contender if I'd had a metal detector


There are usually several items that we, as children, request from our parents with little – if any – hope of ever receiving them. I recall craving a flick-knife. It was never gonna happen.

Many of you may believe that children in Glasgow are issued with such weaponry as soon as they can operate their opposable thumb. But have the Commonwealth Games taught you nothing? We are a changed nation now! We're good people! Don't be scared. Look how welcoming and conciliatory we were! Witness the English athletes who were allowed to express their physical prowess without people throwing chips at them or calling them English bastards.

In all honesty, it's not the perfect environment in which to break records. Altitude is always preferable to attitude.

Anyway, back to the presents I was often denied. One that regularly got away from me was a metal detector. Boy, did I crave one of those. I would spend hours drooling over the Littlewoods spring/summer catalogue (no, not that section, cheeky) and fantasising about owning my very own metal detector. I could picture myself edging slowly across a field, headphones clamped and brow a chasm, as I swept the bleeping frisbee-on-a-stick back and forth over what I hoped would be a Saxon cash machine. Or the equivalent.

Now, reading a story this week, I really wish I had spent longer pestering my mother for a metal detector. I'm not even sure why she never got me one. I can't imagine what kind of mischief she imagined I could perpetrate.

Well, wherever she is in heaven, I hope her personal angel alerts her to the story of a group of schoolboys (the collective noun is a "stench") who have detected no less a metal than 4,000-year-old gold. And they did it with their bare hands! No frisbees or sticks involved.

The trinket in question was found during a dig in Northumberland by kids from Alston Primary School in Cumbria, who were excavating a site at Kirkhaugh (otherwise known as "getting all Time Team on its ass"), when their attention was grabbed by what looked like a piece of gold lying in the mud.

The 1.3in (33mm) object, which is quite attractive (although it does resemble something from one of those £1 packets of toy jewellery you see in seaside gifts shops), is thought to be some sort of hair clasp. (It's certainly not hair straighteners – they weren't invented for hundreds of years.) It was found in a burial mound and could date from 2,300 BC. This is a very long time ago. I mean, way back. Before Pot Noodles.

Apparently, one of the suddenly way more popular seven-year-olds, Joseph Bell, confessed to having danced with joy when he spotted the gleaming "Copper Age" goodie.

To be honest, I didn't even know there was a copper age. I thought it went ice, stone, iron, bark, jelly then suede. But then again when I should have been studying for exams, I was probably somewhere with the Littlewoods catalogue …

Independent Partners; request a free guide on NISAs from Hargreaves Lansdown

Life and Style

Board creates magnetic field to achieve lift

There have been various incidents of social media users inadvertently flouting the law

Life and Style
Stack ‘em high?: quantity doesn’t always trump quality, as Friends of the Earth can testify
techThe proliferation of online petitions allows us to register our protests at the touch of a button. But do they change anything?
Bourgogne wine maker Laboure-Roi vice president Thibault Garin (L) offers the company's 2013 Beaujolais Nouveau wine to the guest in the wine spa at the Hakone Yunessun spa resort facilities in Hakone town, Kanagawa prefecture, some 100-kilometre west of Tokyo
CSKA Moscow celebrate after equalising with a late penalty
footballCSKA Moscow 2 Manchester City 2: Premier League champions let two goal lead slip in Russia
Finacial products from our partners
Property search
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs Money & Business

    Helpdesk Analyst

    £23000 per annum + pension and 22 days holiday: Ashdown Group: An established ...

    Senior Helpdesk Analyst / Service Desk Co-ordinator

    £27000 per annum + pension, 22 days holiday: Ashdown Group: An established ind...

    Senior Pensions Administrator

    £23000 - £26000 Per Annum: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd: Our client is curr...

    Corporate Actions Administrator / Operations Administrator

    £25 - 30k: Guru Careers: A Corporate Actions Administrator / Operations Admini...

    Day In a Page

    Indiana serial killer? Man arrested for murdering teenage prostitute confesses to six other murders - and police fear there could be many more

    A new American serial killer?

    Police fear man arrested for murder of teen prostitute could be responsible for killing spree dating back 20 years
    Sweetie, the fake 10-year-old girl designed to catch online predators, claims her first scalp

    Sting to trap paedophiles may not carry weight in UK courts

    Computer image of ‘Sweetie’ represented entrapment, experts say
    Fukushima nuclear crisis: Evacuees still stuck in cramped emergency housing three years on - and may never return home

    Return to Fukushima – a land they will never call home again

    Evacuees still stuck in cramped emergency housing three years on from nuclear disaster
    Wildlife Photographer of the Year: Intimate image of resting lions claims top prize

    Wildlife Photographer of the Year

    Intimate image of resting lions claims top prize
    Online petitions: Sign here to change the world

    Want to change the world? Just sign here

    The proliferation of online petitions allows us to register our protests at the touch of a button. But do they change anything?
    Ed Sheeran hits back after being labelled too boring to headline festivals

    'You need me, I don’t need you'

    Ed Sheeran hits back after being labelled too boring to headline festivals
    How to Get Away with Murder: Shonda Rhimes reinvents the legal drama

    How to Get Away with Murder

    Shonda Rhimes reinvents the legal drama
    A cup of tea is every worker's right

    Hard to swallow

    Three hospitals in Leicester have banned their staff from drinking tea and coffee in public areas. Christopher Hirst explains why he thinks that a cuppa is every worker's right
    Which animals are nearly extinct?

    Which animals are nearly extinct?

    Conservationists in Kenya are in mourning after the death of a white northern rhino, which has left the species with a single male. These are the other species on the brink
    12 best children's shoes

    Perfect for leaf-kicking: 12 best children's shoes

    Find footwear perfect to keep kids' feet protected this autumn
    Anderlecht vs Arsenal: Gunners' ray of light Aaron Ramsey shines again

    Arsenal’s ray of light ready to shine again

    Aaron Ramsey’s injury record has prompted a club investigation. For now, the midfielder is just happy to be fit to face Anderlecht in the Champions League
    Comment: David Moyes' show of sensitivity thrown back in his face by former Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson

    Moyes’ show of sensitivity thrown back in his face... by Ferguson

    Manchester United legend tramples on successor who resisted criticising his inheritance
    Two super-sized ships have cruised into British waters, but how big can these behemoths get?

    Super-sized ships: How big can they get?

    Two of the largest vessels in the world cruised into UK waters last week
    British doctors on brink of 'cure' for paralysis with spinal cord treatment

    British doctors on brink of cure for paralysis

    Sufferers can now be offered the possibility of cure thanks to a revolutionary implant of regenerative cells
    Ranked seventh in world’s best tourist cities - not London, or Edinburgh, but Salisbury

    Lonely Planet’s Best in Travel 2015

    UK city beats Vienna, Paris and New York to be ranked seventh in world’s best tourist destinations - but it's not London