There must be some truth in this old and well used adage because it is one of the oldest proverbial sayings in the English language and there are many citations of it; the earliest example in print is in John Fitzherbert’s ‘The Boke of Husbandry, 1534’, when even then it was regarded, “an old saying”.
There’s no doubt either, that now in my seventieth year and a retired granddad, I’m nowhere near as sharp as I once was. Though I do try hard to keep up with the very latest in technology; software ‘apps’, “Twitter”, “Instagram”, “Face-Tube”, and the rest of cutting-edge gadgetry.
So I do sometimes wonder what possessed our FLO, Vanessa Oakden, to take on the unenviable challenge of educating me, ‘an old dog’, in the many new facets of self-recording – with a view to becoming a PAS Volunteer. Well, she bravely did and following our initial training session at her new HQ within the Pilotage Building, in the historical setting of Pier Head and Albert Docks in Liverpool; I have gradually come to terms with the nuances of ‘Photoshop‘, the specifics of academic terminology and discipline of absolute evidential accuracy.
I came late to the addictive hobby of metal detecting and first met with Vanessa at one of her monthly ‘surgeries’ at the Chester Grosvenor Museum, when I disclosed to her an item under terms of the Treasure Act, 1996. On this occasion is was a simple but exquisite Post Medieval silver button, subsequently declared by HM Coroner’s Inquest as “treasure” and now donated to the Chester museum. As a result we are the proud possessors of a certificate signed by Ed Vaizey, the then Minister for Culture and the Digital Economy.
My detecting buddy and I have worked hard to develop a fine portfolio of landowner partners and in a relatively short period of time we have unearthed some interesting stuff. Dubbed “Finders-Sharers” we are, as our business cards proudly state,”a trusted team dedicated to the search, discovery and preservation of buried local history in partnership with caring, sharing landowners”.
Finding and preserving bits of local history always provides the metal-detectorist with a tremendous buzz of excitement and now, armed with PAS self-recording skills and authorization; the sense of achievement in making a positive contribution to documenting the Nation’s Heritage is pretty-much complete. Thanks Vanessa for your confidence and trust in an old dog; but particularly for your limitless patience and continued support!
So, is John Fitzherbert’s “Boke” of 1534 correct?…
...and he [a shepherd] must teche his dogge to barke whan he wolde haue hym, and to leue ronning whan he wolde haue hym; or els he is not a cunning shepherd. The dogge must lerne it, whan he is a whelpe, or els it will not be: for it is harde to make an olde dogge to stoupe [put his nose to the ground to find a scent].
…Nope. You most definitely can teach the old bloke new tricks but it does take a fair-bit longer and the challenge is not for the faint-hearted. Paradoxically, in this fast-moving world, it’s us old dogs that have the time to ponder, learn and contribute…
William Aldington – PAS Volunteer