Whilst sitting in her living room recently, Phillipa’s bedroom roof decided to collapse and fill the room with a foot or so of blow-in insulation with bits of ceiling, plaster, and other junk not to mention shoes in the mix.
I’d been called by one of the insurance company’s cleaners a day later and was asked if I could help find Phillipa’s 15, mainly gold rings which she’d had on a glass pedestal stand (I never did find the pedestal come to think of it) on her dressing table. Of course the rings had been scattered across the room during the collapse, and were now strewn amongst the mess..
When I first saw her bedroom the mess was mattress deep except for right near the table where the cleaners had made a start.
I remember thinking, wow, this may not be so fun! I took my pinpointer and tested the floor and confirmed it was a timber floor full of nails so using a detector in the room would not be a practicle option in locating the lost rings. It was soon obvious I would have to remove the mess a bit at a time and to then detect the rings out of the mess on a pre-detected area in Phillipa’s garden.
I decided to fold a tarpaulin in a ‘u’ shape outside the door in the hallway and started shovelling the mess into it before taking it out to the garden to spread flat on the ground. I’d then detect the rings, pins, needles and paper clips etc out of the insulation. This process was repeated many times. I found most of the rings in the first four tarpaulin loads that I scanned. Then they got few and far between.I think the lower rings on the pedestal had not gotten as much momentum off the pedestal as the top ones so they’d dropped to the floor closer to the table.. and this is where I’d started.
When I finally found the 15th ring about 2 hrs later I yelled a hooray from the garden and excitedly made for Phillipa’s door. Phillipa was grinning from ear to ear as she inspected the returned rings one by one until suddenly her expression changed. She looked up and said “oh you’ve found one I lost a few years ago! So there is still one missing”.
After checking the rings again she said she was sure and knew which one. I asked, “would it happen to be 18 kt or platinum and one of the smallest?” She replied “Yes how did you know? It fits on my pinky finger!”
The reason I knew was I’d been thinking could I have missed one, and the reason was simple. I’d started to run some iron discrimination to eliminate the pin and needle type signals due to there being so many (she’d had a sewing box etc on the dresser also!) Anyway rings usually end up flat in the ground or sand when they are lost but these rings were at all angles in the blow-in insulation probably more so for the smaller lighter rings.
Rings, coins, and any metal infact presents far less surface area when ‘on edge’ to a metal detector and this typically makes them give a weaker and different signal. It was possible that for those reasons I may not have heard it or did but dismissed it. So the one remaining ring to be found was either still in the room or I’d missed it and it was now in a wheeliebin!
I felt I now had a good idea of the “spray zone” of the rings and that I’d removed all the material from that area of the room so maybe I had missed one one. I decided to check the wheelie bin first as I’d had an idea about how to do it quickly to eliminate that rather than doing more loads out of the room!
I was able to borrow a leaf blower from Phillipa’s neighbor and had set it up underneath an outside table in the large back yard. I lifted the bin sideways on top and slowly opened the lid after I’d turned the blower on. This impromtue ‘dry blower’ blew away the light paper based insulation (non fibreglass!) as it fell from the bin and anything that was heavy didn’t blow very far. Once I’d emptied the bin I then turned my metal detector on and waved it over the heavy junk left behind on the grass and amongst some other signals sure enough there it was, the short sweet sounding double tone I needed, the 16th and final ring.