Ken and Lynda Dinneen are Lapidary Artists and Rock Hounds

Ken is a Lapidary, Lynda has taught Jewellery Design, Silversmithing and Lapidary Art, as well leading many mining and Rock Hounding tours in and around the western United States.

J.B.Banks & Son Limited - Traditional Hardware Shop and FREE Heritage Museum of Working Life

Market Place, Cockermouth CA13 9NH The


ironmonger J.B.Banks & Son Limited


Monday to Saturday 9.00am to 5.00pm

J.B. Banks is not your typical hardware shop!

It’s the summer holidays and every year, most parents wonder how they can entertain their children on a budget. My eldest daughter remembers her Sunday entertainment as being taken around antique fairs and show homes. Not that entertaining when you’re eight, but it was free!

Today, there seems to be far more groups and activities for kids, but many are at a cost. So, if you’re looking for a free activity in town, then look no further than J.B. Banks.

Our heritage museum dates to the 1820s and is one of the top attractions in Cockermouth. It has two levels, the lower floor housing our Atco Car, which was used to teach children to drive in the 1930s. Upstairs, we have the original tin smithy, which has barely been touched since the 1950s.

The museum is free, but we do have a donation box. The money received goes towards the museum upkeep and we have improved it whilst being sympathetic. This year, we added better lighting and updated the ceiling in the office. Our next challenge will be improving the heating.

One of our most memorable visitor quotes came from a boy of around nine years old. Upstairs we also have an office which has typewriters. He’d never seen one before and remarked: “Cool, it’s a computer and a printer all in one!”

We love how children see our museum, as they see it in a way we don’t. It’s normal to us but to them, it’s a world that their grandparents remember from when they were young. It’s lovely to hear families talking about how they used to dry clothes with the mangle (we have one of those) or how they started their apprenticeship in a place like our museum. J.B. Banks is a place for all the family!

Ken and Lynda work from their studio on the east flank of the Central Oregon Cascade Mountains in Sisters, Oregon.

fossil shrimp but no, most of them are exactly what you might expect. Ordinary dinner-salad-size shrimp. Rats! Well, no matter, the Carpopenaeus of the UK and Jurassic period are plentiful along the beaches and cliffs of Dorset but what I want to know is, has anyone found Carpopenaeus a bit closer to home, say in Formby?

‘Carpopenaeus specimens’ FOSSIL HUNTING IS GREAT FUN!

If you are getting weary of the wet weather, why not grab the family and head for Dorset… only about 7 days with ‘sprinkles’ this entire month and wonderful fossil hunting in and around some of the picture-perfect bays that dot the coastline.

About 6 hours is just what my kids could tolerate for a road trip when they were young. How about yours? We have been talking about the fabulous fossil fields of the UK this year and the world- class reputation that Britain has for excellent Jurassic Age specimens. One thing I discovered, is that while rock

12cm Fossilised Shrimp

hounding is rather rare here, fossil hunting is a quiet passion.

Equally important, is the time away from the tech-swamped reality that most of us live with daily. Getting in touch with real-time, (time that moves at the speed of breath) is a valuable experience. That slowing down, that looking with the intent of really seeing, these are the riches that you will discover outside. There is time-warp continuum that happens when you hold the remains of a creature that lived its life in the very area that you are now standing so very, very long ago. A bit of perspective comes with the awakening of your own importance, or lack thereof, in the grand scope of time.

There is one fossil that comes in a few sizes but in only one basic shape. The Carpopenaeus… fancy name for a shrimp huh? I was looking for the largest wow-factor


Because Formby is a fantastic resource for

finding both trace and body fossils but mostly of mammals...

what is the scoop on crustaceans? Any luck there? If anyone has answers to these questions, or

12cm Contemporary Shrimp questions of fossils or rock hounding in general, feel

free to email me at: might need to add ‘.uk’ to that address but I don’t know about that. Let’s give it a try!

For now, let’s close with a hope for sunny days and rock hound dreams for all.

Map shows UK Fossil Sites

Cheers from the flank of Faith, (also known as North Sister) and of course until next time, Happy Hounding!

Lynda Dinneen

ISSUE 428 | 23 AUGUST 2018 | 18

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