Tigers in the Wood Part IV – Julian Evan-Hart

Julian Evan-Hart’s detecting short story – Tigers in the Wood – continues in Part 4.

A field in Normandy

It was the 25th July 2013. Jim Bradley, his wife Fiona and their children were off to the Normandy area of France. Loosely it was a family break but the hidden, and for Jim the real agenda, was to try and get some land in France on which to go metal detecting.

So he had arranged the ferry trip and a cheap B&B near the moderately-sized, picturesque village of Villers Bocage. Any excuse and Jim was off in the car; he had forgotten a paper, fancied some sweets, run out of fags.

However, these trips took ages and as the shop was only a few hundred feet away, Fiona had sussed him out quite soon. He was told to forget about metal detecting just this once and try to enjoy a family trip out together. Fiona had said the older kids are getting bored anyway, and soon they wouldn’t get the opportunity to do such things again.

Jim had to agree. He had been unfair, but he’d always found the hobby of metal detecting, which was his second passion in life, rather difficult to balance out with being a responsible parent.

But he promised he would try. However, that promise was rather short lived. The next day, Fiona suggested a picnic which met with pulled faces from Dad and the older children. Jim decided best was best and that they should do as she suggested.

Forty five minutes later, he had packed the car. However, carefully secreted under the chequered tartan picnic blanket was his trusted Minelab CTX3030. They drove for about twenty miles, until they came to a roadside clearing that indicated picnic and walking was permitted. Here they drew up. Traipsing up through the woodlands, they came to the edge that looked out across an open field with a thin belt of woodland over the far side.

“Jim, don’t for one moment think that I hadn’t noticed you have your metal detector under all the blankets and bits,” said Fiona, rolling her eyes in a resigned fashion. They plonked everything down and Fiona started to set everything up. “Not sure you should even be using that thing here anyway” she said.

“Oh a small test won’t hurt” said Jim, who clearly knew better. He’d assumed it was remote and no-one would be around. So he went off, swinging the detector side to side.

“This is just so not cool” said the oldest boy James. He and his twin sister Jess walked off with their mobiles.

“No doubt boyfriends and girlfriends back in England” thought Fiona. She’d been interested in wildlife ever since she could remember. Sitting back and snapping open a can of Coke, she was pleased to see a cuckoo fly past and alight in the top of a nearby poplar tree. It began to call.

“First time I’ve heard all year”, she thought. She looked around. Jim was several hundred feet away and the two oldest kids were chatting away on their phones. The youngest, Ellie, just seemed to be enjoying her surroundings like her mother.

It was then that Fiona noticed James was running back over, joined by Jess and then he started pointing and shouting. As he drew nearer, his words became clear. “Mum! Mum, there’s some bloke in a black uniform over here and there’s loads of tanks and stuff over the other side in the woods! Has Dad dropped us off on a bloody military firing range? Coz I can hear gunfire and stuff too!”

Fiona listened above the breeze she was sure she too could hear explosions. Suddenly, a particularly loud blast, surely too distinct to be anything else, struck her ears. However, of the black uniformed man there was no sign at all.

Photo Credit: Brian Smithson (Old Geordie) via photopin cc

About Julian Evan-Hart
Julian is from Hertfordshire, England and has always been interested in fossils and antiquities. Julian has written a number of books on metal detecting, and is an avid user of Minelab products.

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