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Start Of Season Party 17 March 2018
Mike Hendra

There was light snow before and during the party; fortunately the heavy snow didn't arrive until later and we still had 35 members and friends brave the conditions to come.

The party was principally organised by Diana Carpenter with a little belated help for some friends, mostly but not exclusively Graham, Jean, Joan and Pete. Together they managed another culinary extravaganza

Other than the feasting the entertainment was a talk by a man who had spent his working life pursuing every boy’s dream job of digging in the river with the marine version of a JCB backhoe. Where as we would expect most bucket loads to be mud much of what was mined was pure gold. Not the shiny kind but the nuggets of at least 2000 years of the history the people who had been attracted to “Old Father Thames”.

Not only did Mr Malcolm Head do a great job of explaining what he had found and how it had been liberated from the mud, he did it with a panache that had earned him the nickname of “Mad Malcolm”.

Incredibly his hoard included three beautifully crafted stone-age axe heads, several Roman roof tiles and glass bottles. There were Victorian jelly moulds, other lovely pottery items and glassware as well as a relatively modern brass sextant.

Quirky items included the swan necked jug and next to it in the picture, a curds strainer crafted in stoneware.

Perhaps the most touching item was a long thin bottle use for collecting tears shed for lost loved ones. I thought the most beautiful, was a glass paperweight containing red rose that could been Murano glass blown on the island in the Venice lagoon.

Together the collection revealed something of the lives and loves of those who lived along the incredible waterway we call the Thames. Thames, Sanskrit “Tames” meaning dark or Roman “Tam” meaning wide and “Isis” meaning water so Tamisis, who knows? Whatever, we have Mad Malcolm to thank for revealing another glimpse of the ancient highway we use so often.

Thanks Malcolm!!

Thanks to Don Barnett for suggesting that a talk by Malcolm would be good entertainment for the party.

John Botterill thanking Malcolm