I walked the pups a bit late this morning, I managed an all too rare Saturday lay in, well lateish, Ronnii had me get up at 09:00 as she was desperate for a pee, so I grabbed Richie and we were soon outside in the cold and the wind and the rain, the pups didn’t seem to mind, Richie even went so far as to take us on a bit of a tour. He gets a bit stubborn and refuses to walk, when he gets like this I either have to pick him up and carry him home or follow him. Today I let him take charge and we had a bit of a wander and he found some new smells, and we got shouted at by what sounded like a rather large dog, Richie shouted back and the big dog did his best wolf impression.
Once we were home I made my nearest and dearest a cup of coffee and then headed down to the shop to see the lads at the 40k club and see what I could spend my vouchers on. I settled for two boxes of Assault marines, they should do some damage. I only stayed for a short while, overseeing one game and taking time out to explain to the guys that to be actively involved in the hobby the really should get some dice and have, at least, a basic understanding of the rules.
I left the shop at about 13:00 to jump on a bus to Canterbury, as I learned earlier in the week that the annual fossil road show was being held at the Museum of Canterbury. So I took time out from my usual Saturday activity to visit the museum as I’ve missed it each year for the past four or five. It’s moved since my last visit, from the Beany museum to the Museum of Canterbury. On arrival it was nice to find that the entry fee had been reduced for the event from £3.50 to £2. Each room had a display and at least two very helpful people staffing it. I didn’t get a good look at the first table as there were quite a few very excited children asking questions about the items on display. There was a rather fun looking “Dino-Dig” where small peeps could hunt for fossils that had been buried in sand, with the added bonus of keeping the fossil they found. There was also a quiz that the children could do, and if they answered all the questions correctly they were rewarded with a small bag of fossils. moving on to another table that had some well preserved crabs, turtle shells and fish bones, sadly I didn’t get a chance to speak to the chap manning this table as he was deeply involved in helping another chap identify a find. Thinking it best to leave them to it I went into the next room where I saw some beautiful Ammonites and belemnites, much better than any I’ve found on my local beach, jealous much? I chatted with the nice lady supervising this spread and correctly identified a few items. I was quite pleased that I didn’t sound like an idiot, stuffed up on a mammoth tooth because of the fact that it had freshly broken open and I saw, for the first time, what one looked like on the inside. Wow is a word that springs to mind. I also mistook a fossil sponge for a mososaur tooth, but in my defence it was very similar in shape. I headed downstairs to the final area and it was clear that I’d saved the best until last. On the first table were some fantastic crabs, fish and lobsters, but the best pieces were, without doubt, the fossilised snakes and a croc that was part of the stomach contents of something much bigger and probably much meaner. I could clearly see bones and teeth and a couple of gastroliths. I was very impressed with the iguanodon and Ichthyosaur remains and chatted with the lucky chaps who had been fortunate enough to find these remarkable fossils. The last table I visited was displaying what I thought was a mammoth bone but the young lady sitting at the table corrected me and said that it was, in fact, an elephant bone. There were also deer remains and an extremely nice tusk from an elephant. Also on this table were stone tools ranging from arrow heads through axes and all manner of wonderful things. Our ancestors were quite ingenious, so there you have it, a couple of well spent hours chatting with some very knowledgeable people. It’s a shame this is only an annual event as I would like there to be a larger, longer fossil based event in the area. I think the highlight of the day has to be the expressions of wonder on the faces of the kids as they learned about the things they were seeing. I don’t think they quite grasped the concept of the age of the fossils, to mast ten year olds an hour is an eternity, but they certainly enjoyed themselves. There needs to be more events like this as it raises awareness of a pastime that means kids get out and do something rather than sitting in front of a computer screen. Well done to the organisers and collectors and thank you, Although it was a small event, it was worth the travel time and certainly worth the £2 entry fee, it’s also rekindled my need to spend some time down the Warren, with the rough weather we’ve had these last couple of days I would think that some good stuff has been washed out of the clays, I also hope to get a visit to Pett level, on the Sussex coast, in this year, although one visit isn’t enough. If I had my way I’d take a tent and spend a night there and get two days fossil hunting done.
The region hasn’t had a clear night for the better part of two weeks and now that I have some of the things I wanted for the ‘scope I’m very eager to get out and set the Meade up, according to the forecast it should be clear on Tuesday, well one can live in hope. There are also plans afoot to set about getting a new ‘scope, it involves saving and probably a trip to either Tunbridge, Dorking or Sittingbourne, check back in a few weeks for an update on that one, and once the weather improves I’ll try and get down the Warren and collect some fossils which I’ll post pictures of. You never know I may be able to persuade my nearest and dearest into taking a walk with me and taking the pups, they may be useful in sniffing fossils out, you never know!