Thursday, July 18, 2024
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Opinion: Digging in for 2017

By Gerald Ford
I read last week the interesting tale of Stuart Wilson, 37, a real-life treasure hunter.
Mr Wilson spent his life savings on a field in Wales in 2004, and has since been proved right in his guess that it was the location of a medieval city.
According to a Daily Telegraph UK article run in the NZ Herald, Wilson – a history fan – paid POUNDS 32,000 or the equivalent of $NZ57,000, in 2004 for a near 2ha block — after becoming convinced an ancient industrial town called Trellech was buried underneath.
Now Mr Wilson and his team have uncovered a moated mansion around 400m2, along with some rare artefacts including a medieval flowerpot.
In the 13th century the town was reportedly the home of several Norman lords of the De Clare family, who used it to mass produce iron.
Wilson said the settlement would have housed 10,000 people, making it one-quarter the size of London.
Mr Wilson disagreed with a previous archaeological claim for the city near the present village of Trellech in Montmouthshire, saying what had been found was not large enough.
To finance and excavate his purchase, Mr Wilson stayed at home with his parents and turned down jobs that might have interfered with the dig, but says the buy was “definitely the right thing to do”.
The story had me thinking, what dream would I give up everything to follow?
What buried treasure am I seeking? What am I prepared to sacrifice for it?
I am sure neither my Mum and Dad nor my wife and children would appreciate a move back to my parents — but there are other, less drastic ways to buy time to follow my passions.
This brings me to the whole vexed question of New Year’s Resolutions.
I’m not generally a fan of them, because I have always seen them as guilt-based self flagellations doomed to failure.
Guilt is a terrible motivator. I read a quote once to the effect that the person who feels guilty has no intention of changing, and that rings true to me.
We have to first accept ourselves as we are, which may require some outside help, and then move on from there.
So for many years I’ve accepted myself as something of a plodding non-achiever, laid back to the point of horizontality, giving my best at work and making life as easy as possible for myself outside of it.
And I was okay with that.
Now, however, I think I am ready to change.
So I guess I’m resolving to watch less TV, spent less time Facebooking and less time worrying and delaying, because like Mr Wilson I do have my own ancient medieval city to uncover.
What is yours?

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