We had an early five a.m. start today, heading for the, by now, famous Gay Meadow tip in Shrewsbury. The tip was being machined by some local diggers, but they were allowing a few hand diggers access to the site. Up to this point it was proving to be somewhat sparse as far as quantity of finds went, although quality was top class. By the time we got on site two Cresswell blue glass gingers and a previously unrecorded 10oz blue cylinder from the same company had already come to light, together with two or three Favourite Co. horse pictorial gingers, and a number of rare Taylor's poison bottles. One bottle that everybody was after was a green O. D. Murphy of Ironbridge codd, and we had the privilege of seeing a necked example come off today (a number came off later during the dig, as well as a few more blue Cresswell gingers and another blue cylinder).
As I said, it was an early start as we had to be on site by 8 a.m. The intention was to pick up our mate Tony and take a cross-country route through Bala for a 7:30 meet up. This fell through meaning it was only Stephen and myself today, so we took the coast expressway which proved to be much quicker and we were at our rendezvous by 6:45, giving us plenty of time for a quick bite and a drink.
We were on site for eight and shortly after the machine arrived. This proved a boon as the driver cleared a large area of the clay capping for us, and by 8:15 we were digging away. The capping was thicker than anticipated, and it took us a while to shift what was left and get going into the fresh ash. As expected, finds were few and far between, except for the broken stuff which was plentiful. It turned out to be a very disappointing day, with only a single codd coming out, along with a handful of blues and greens, a couple of Virols, and a miniature Odol.
Most entertainng moment of the day was early on when a loud bang announced that the digger had cut through the mains power cable, leaving a large part of Shrewsbury without lights.
Working away with the digger:
Stephen in action:
Electricity bods working to restore power:
A couple of other hand diggers at work:
A few of my bits (a few more came out right at the death):
Some of the codds found with the machine (necked green Murphy on the left):
Some of the lids/printed ware for the machine diggers: