Last chance saloon bottle dig

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Kenleyboy
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Todays dig was back to our old stomping ground on the deep dig tip , one which we haven't been on for a long while and due to this fresh lockdown we had to bring forward our arrangements from next weekend to this Sunday . It took some arranging mostly because the original plan was to be five of us all in for a group meet up , bit of chit chat and a leisurely dig . We try and do this once a year which so far had ran without any problems , however the second phase lockdown saw two willing diggers to unfortunately drop out leaving the numbers to a paltry three of us which was a great shame .
It was a different type of dig for me , being a sort of charitable type of chap I volunteered to help the third party member dig out his hole due to ill health that has hampered him for a while and he really wanted to dig this first Norfolk Ginger Beer bottle . When personal health gets in the way of your hobby it can be frustrating and my last dig with my old buddy was about this time last year and there is nothing quite like someone realising their personal dream and if I could help then so be it , not a problem . My regular digging buddy was also willing to help and the idea was to get right down to the bottom and due to the winter weather now upon us and the amount of recent rainfall we have experienced this past few weeks , the usual depth of about 8 feet would end up being far less due to the rise in the water levels . We reckoned about 6 feet and then its as far as we can get before the water starts seeping in from the depths below .
I put matey in my usual spot , it has been a good little area throwing up some good finds and I was confident that it would reward him well with at least one ginger beer which was all he was really after , a personal bucket lister so my regular digging buddy and I set to task and with a few mini breaks in between , some banter and a a few cups of tea later we finally managed to get matey down to where he needed to be .
The hole was about 8 x 10 feet with a depth that we guessed correctly at a generous 6 feet , sides all straighten up , slightly wet underfoot and he was good to go . He had three sides to work upon and the fourth was a gentle slope of compact ash and soil , a neat ramp for ease to walk in and out . Plenty of room to work in safely just chiselling away at the edges , probing with the prongs of the fork and myself to keep an eye that all was good and to help shift the spoil out of the way .
My regular digging buddy was free to continue in his own area while I was happy to chat away and for once not actually dig anything out but just help out and hope he could find what he was looking for and we had got him to the most exciting part of the dig and that is probing away at the walls .
Due to his health the idea was to concentrate on one wall at a time working from the bottom up and only going in at most the depth of the fork head . Scoop and clear the ash and soil back out the way , I would then shift this back to the slope . With no bottles showing it was a case of working up the wall , cutting back and removing chunks at a slow pace and once the top of the hole was reached , clear the spoil and then repeat this on the next wall and so on until you start finding bottles . The first wall didnt produce much , just a few common bottles so it was time to start on the facing wall and repeat the process and this is where he hit the right spot . From the bottom up the fork worked away at loosening the clumps of ash and soil and then the prong connected with a solid but dull twang as he hit the first promising sign . From my vantage point I could see the base of stoneware and then with gloved hand he wiped away the dusty soil to reveal the tell tale sign of white shiny glaze that could only be a ginger beer or at worst an ink pourer . No matter , the excitement prevails the reveal as the prongs carefully worked around the wedged vessel until it was loose enough to pull with gloved hand . The joy was immeasurable , finally the quest was over and there matey stood beaming with his very first Norfolk ginger beer bottle in top condition , no cracks and no chips . I don't know who was more happy , him or me , I was made up for him as I knew it meant a great deal .
From there on in things just seemed to get even better , he had a hit a small pocket of ginger beers , five in all and every one of them were from different companies and all were mint .
5 ginger beers .jpg
Apart from the ginger beer bottles other bottles came out which were equally well received and the only bit of digging for bottle I did was to help him extract the very large Morgans flagon which was also wedged within the same area . This proved a task and despite some lip damage it was in very fine condition . The damage is no major problem , I can fix that and re build the lip and it will be as good as new .
All in a really good day and a great way to finish a very successful bottle dig prior to lockdown . Wont be back until who knows when and our freedom of movement is precious so it was a good effort to actually make time while it lasts .
5 gingers flagon .jpg
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Ladybird66
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What a nice recount of a good deed Paul. Bet your mate really feels great now he’s got his long wished for find. Well done you :thumbsup:

I prefer the glass bottles myself and especially the ones that are dumb bell shaped. I assume the ones in the pic are yours.. I see you found another blue poison. No end to them now.
You did well but I just can’t imagine having to dig out all that much before you start and then back fill before you go home. I think I’m hard pressed if I dig a smallish hole about 6-7 inches deep :lol: don’t think I could even manage that now, it seems I’ve got dead shoulder syndrome. Still could be worse, at least the rest of me is still alive (I think) :Thinking:
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figgis
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Yep, you've done it again, Paul (further cemented my intrigue with bottle digging, that is).

Ginger beer and I go back many years (though not as far as those bottles of yours, I hasten to add) and I know I'd have been thrilled to have found them :thumbsup:
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Kenleyboy
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figgis wrote: Mon Nov 02, 2020 5:36 pm Yep, you've done it again, Paul (further cemented my intrigue with bottle digging, that is).

Ginger beer and I go back many years (though not as far as those bottles of yours, I hasten to add) and I know I'd have been thrilled to have found them :thumbsup:
We will have to drag you along for dig sometime and get you a ginger beer :thumbsup:
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figgis
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You're on :D :thumbsup:

I'll bring the ginger beer, but it won't be the alcohol-free type, as I think you'd expect :lol:
Dave The Slave
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Great write up, Paul along with the photos.
The Flagon is great.
Cheers, :thumbsup:
Dave.
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Steve_JT
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Love reading your exploits, some great bottles there too

Regards Steve
A foolish faith in authority, is the worst enemy of truth." Albert Einstein
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