O Fiona, Fiona! Wherefore art thou, Fiona?

There comes a time in every gardener’s life when the spade comes out and a bit of digging is the order of the day. Even no-dig gardeners need a spade when constructing a pathway, or extending a current one. And I’m doing just that. 

concreteUsually whenever doing DIY or GIY, you find the previous owner has bodged the job and done things on the cheap. Not with my garden path. Tonnes, and I mean tonnes (or do I mean tons?) of concrete have been used to haunch in the rope edging. Getting them out has been tortuous. Armed with a spade, lump hammer, bolster and bucket, I set about removing a massive three feet of the stuff. An afternoon of blood, sweat and tears later, I dragged the family out from the cosy confines of the wood-fire warmed lounge to look at my work.


‘Er, yes,’ came the reply.

‘What do you think?’

‘Er, nice?’ was the somewhat guarded and rather disappointingly underwhelmed response.

Clearly, they missed the point. I had created a clear, uninterrupted run for the new pavers to go down. Now that’s exciting. Surely?


jewel‘But what’s that?’

‘What?’ I said.

‘That. Shining. On the soil.’ The outside light was burning bright in the gloom of the early autumnal evening. A swirling, cloying mist was developing and condensing on something shiny.

I scrabbled around, flicked at the soil surface to reveal what could well be the next big thing on BBC Antiques Roadshow.


(I can imagine the scene:

‘So Phil, where did you get it?’

‘Oh, it was just something I dug up whilst extending a path.’

‘And how much is it insured for?’


‘Well, I can tell you it’s actually worth… … (crowd draws breath in tumescent anticipation) …a million pounds. (Wooos from the crowd. All eyes on me for a reaction) Would you think of selling it?’

‘Oh no, it’s part of the family now. I’d better take care of it then.’

(And then Fiona Bruce fades away, just like in all of my dreams, before I can say ‘what about a selfie me luv?’))



OK, it’s only a bottle stopper. It looks like a perfume bottle stopper - all my perfume bottle stopper experience coming to the fore now - and has the word ‘Carons’ etched in the top. I’ve done my research. Carons is a perfume creator founded in the 1900s. In Paris. France. Ooh la la. Obviously, obviously, my stopper is an original and even though it is devoid of a bottle to stop, is worth a fortune. Do you think?

rusty-keyBut that isn’t the only item I have uncovered that is surprising. In no particular order, and with no particular photos they are:

- Shards of a blue pottery - Ming vase perhaps?
- Old rusty key: to a secret safe still waiting to be discovered?
- Some cat poop - no cats have lived here for decades. Strange?
- A badge from a fireman's hat - plastic so not really worth anything. Unless you collect plastic badges from hats in which case please send your bid in an email.
- Random glass fragments = cut finger. Wear gloves.

And I am sure you lot have found weirder, stranger, more valuable items when digging your paths, beds, borders, or whatever.

Let me know and I’ll give Fiona a call.