Finding Personal Losses

Photo by Thomas Quine (Lady’s Rolex) [CC BY 2.0  (], via Wikimedia Commons

The Swale Search and Recovery Metal Detecting Club I chair, offers a free search and recovery service for personal items, tractor parts, buried drain covers and the like. The most unlikely item I have been asked to find was a cricket pitch! I did suggest at the time it was a big green area with wickets but the groundsman explained they had spent a large amount of money having the pitch excavated, refilled with special bedding and laid with Cumberland turf. As grass only comes in one colour, the groundsman had marked each corner with a large bolt driven vertically into the ground, with the head visible at ground level to distinguish the pitch from the surrounding grass. Of course, with the passage of time the bolts had sunk and were no longer visible. The groundsman had a good idea where one corner of the pitch was and I located the marker bolt within a few minutes searching; after that it was very easy to measure to the next corner, locate the bolt and so on.

But I digress. A few weeks ago I had a call from a young lady who had lost her gold Rolex watch; a 21st birthday present from her mother. She was convinced that she had lost it at a barbeque she attended the previous evening, so I met her there to make a search. The grassed areas were short and the gravel areas had no real depth to them so it didn’t look as if it could have been buried and was nowhere to be seen on the surface. I spent an hour detecting and looking around in every nook and cranny, in bushes and under features all to no avail. I asked her when and where she was when she realised the watch was missing and was told it was back at her home after the barbecue. I suggested she had a good look round at home. Start at the point where it was discovered missing and try and retrace steps from there back to the point when you were sure you had the watch. Where were you and what were you doing immediately before you found the watch missing? And before that? And before that? The lady later found her watch at home by the dishwasher!

I had a similar experience with my partner, Helen, a few weeks earlier. We were shopping and had just left B&Q, a hardware store, when Helen announced that she had lost one of her gold earrings. (Why do women wear expensive jewelry when they go shopping?) I must have lost it getting out of the car, she said. We went back to the car and it wasn’t there. “It must be at home then.” She said. If it turned out not to be at home, we would have lost all opportunity to find it so I said: “Let’s go back into B&Q.”

“No, no, it’ll be at home and we’ve got to get the groceries.” “OK, you start on the groceries and I’ll go and look in B&Q.” I said. I had only just walked through the door of B&Q and I could see gold glinting at me on the floor in front of me, fortunately it hadn’t been stood on or run over by a cart, so Helen got her earring back. As I said before, start where you realise the item is missing and work back from there.

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