The Story Continues…

For those of you following Bubba’s first trip to the US and to Atlantic City in particular….heeeere’s Johnny!!



For the two Limey guests at the FMDAC’s 1986 Atlantic City bash (yours truly and Gerald Costello) the whole shabang was a revelation: Indeed, Atlantic City itself was a revelation: Trump’s Castle Hotel and Casino our home for a couple of nights was, yeh you guessed it, a revelation. The huge laser display board flashing out the message; Atlantic City Welcomes the Federation of Metal Detector & Archaeological Clubs, was, well,… illuminating! Geddit?

Before heading to Atlantic City John had to get provisions

Before heading to Atlantic City John had to get provisions

Trump’s Castle as one would expect from a hotel Donald T puts his name to, was A1, First Class, Top Hole; resplendent with its glitzy décor and general razzmatazz that makes Buckingham Palace look like a hovel. We’d been a long time on the road and Gerald and me were ‘Donald Ducked’ [Cockney rhyming slang for exhausted] by the time we reached our destination. The prospect of crashing-out in our room on the zillionth floor of this cultural edifice, beckoned enticingly; like a $20 trollop to a sailor. They say that on a clear day, from the zillionth floor and looking south, you can even see poverty.

Slinging my suitcase and valise on my bed, I settled into a comfy chair, feet up, and spun the top from a bottle of Rebel Yell, and with full ice bucket on tap, a soft-pack of Winston King Size, and the prospect of a great two days ahead of me, all was fine with the world. “Good God,” says Gerald, “You’re not going to drink all that tonight are you?”

“ ’kin watch,” I says, “Shit, bourbon makes me sooo horny.” It sure cured Gerald’s snoring: he never slept a wink that night, while I however, slept the ‘Sleep of the Just’; I’d teach him to buy ‘dry’ plane tickets.

At the following evening’s pre-dinner drinkies do, I bumped into Dick Tichian; bumped into former US Marine, Cliff Stefens; stepped over Dick Stout; bumped into several pleasant ‘suits’ from Whites, Garrett, and Tesoro, along with characters who’ve passed into treasure hunting folklore lore. “Hey, over here!” shouted the now sadly late Sam Abramo, an attorney of some repute, clutching a replica of the Hand of Faith gold nugget, the largest at the time ever found with a metal detector, and something ‘on the rocks’ in the other.

“You drinkin’ Jaarn?”

“You kiddin’ me Sam? C’mon, get ‘em in ya bloody cheapskate, I’m thoisty.” I liked Sam. He was the kind of guy who if he couldn’t do you a good turn, wouldn’t do you bad one – which is saying something for a lawyer – his wit was as sharp as his fees. He lived respected and died regretted. A good bloke.

The sun came up early the next day, and Stouty having surfaced from his pit and lurching into the real world rendezvoused with me in the Breakfast Bar, where over bagels, orange juice, and coffee – good US coffee – conned asked me, if I’d like to address the assembled throng later that morning on the topic of treasure hunting in the Old Country. “Yeh, no probs,” I lied, “But what do you want me to speak about?”

Ever the diplomat, “You’ve bull-shitted your way in the hobby so far, so do what your good at,” he charmingly reassured me.

According to the billing I’d be the second act following what was in the event, Charles Garrett’s spellbinding talk about electro-magnetic fields in relation to treasure hunting with metal detectors, followed by an equally engrossing tale of his search for the Nez Perce Indian Treasure. Yeh, ‘preciate, Dick!

Leaving them rolling in the aisles...

Leaving them rolling in the aisles…

There was no way I was going to compete with ‘Charlie G’s’ offering notwithstanding his reputation in the treasure hunting fraternity, his scientific background, and his role in the Apollo missions. Talk about after the Lord Mayor’s Show has gone past all that remains is the crap!

Nevertheless, diving straight in I regaled them heartily with stories about ‘mud-larking’ on that section of River Thames that flows through London, along with tales about hunting for Roman, and Celtic coins, and all about the one guy who hunts ‘eyes-only’ on the banks of the Thames to feed an unfortunate habit. “Great Jaarn,” one said later, “Really soporific!”  I think that’s Arkansas patois for super-duper. Eat your heart out Charlie G!

Well into my stride I threw out challenges:-

“Any questions?” expecting in-depth treasure hunting queries.

From the back of the auditorium came…”Do you have ring-pulls in Britain?” (Oh by the way, and for the information of anyone from rural Arkansas reading this, we have running water, street lamps and electricity here in the Old Country).

“Yeh,” I shouted back, “And if I’m not mistaken they’re a bloody US invention.” He seemed proud of the fact they were. I guess he was from Arkansas.

“What about archaeologists?” someone else enquired.

“What about them?”

“Do you have good relations with them?”

Recalling the sharp wit of a cockney NCMD member who shall remain nameless, I adapted his legendary retort to a similar question some years earlier and luckily, failed to quote him verbatim, “Well not personally, but I know one detecting club secretary who’s fu…er… sleeping with one”.

“Do you have any trouble from them?”

“Only the fact that a bunch of the loony fringe [yes, we had nutters even in those days] have been seeding fields with tin-tacks to disrupt metal detectors. The farmers aren’t best pleased since these creeps are doing this at night and cattle are picking them up on their tongues and legs.”

John having fun...note though the cop is not laughing!

John having fun…note though the cop is not laughing!

The following day’s AC Beach Hunt was, yeh, was you’ve guessed it… unlike any detector hunt either I or Gerald had seen before or been involved in.  Back in the UK hunt prizes where mostly trowels, finds aprons, a metal detector donated by a manufacturer if you were lucky, but here, they were giving away the kinds of prizes people wanted; cars, metal detectors in profusion, and ancillary kit like you’ve never seen. What an eye-opener, but most of all, it was a supremely enjoyable treasure hunt populated by guys and gals, who from what I could fathom, were the cream of the rank-and-file of the US treasure hunting community. I even won a Compass metal detector and managed to stow it aboard on the plane home. We made many new friends too, which in a way gave way to the infamous incident of the ‘Twenty Bucks’.

What happened was this:-

On the AC Boardwalk with Stouty, we met up with some of the above mentioned treasure hunting reprobates. “Hey, Jaarn, loved your gags last night at the dinner. Fancy a beer?”  What? Has the Pope got a balcony? So off we all trooped – detectors and all – into a Boardwalk bar where the draught ‘Bud’ flowed copiously accompanied by equally plentiful Bourbon chasers.  “I didn’t know you English guys drank Bourbon chasers,” said a guy from Arkansas, “Well,” I said, “We don’t all drink medieval mead and dress like Robin Hood.”

“Yeh, but you guys got all them ancient ruins,” a guy from Little Rock said.

“We lost a lot of them, not so many nowadays,” I countered.

“How come,” he says.

“In the late 1940’s and 50’s most GI’s stationed in the UK married ‘em and took ‘em back home.”

“Ah, I see. Right!” Yep, definitely from Arkansas.

“Hey old buddy, old pal, my old mate,” whispers Stouty, “Any chance of a loan, say $20? It’s my round soon…and well…you know how it is.” As the saying goes; a friend in need is a pain in the ass. I coughed up the dough.

“Yes sure,” I replied, thinking to myself, ‘shit,’ another Lend/Lease deal!

John was winner....

John was a winner….

Any suspicions I had about Stouty’s connections where confirmed when he took me and Gerald to the best table in one of Noo Joisey’s top eateries where the clientele all bore striking resemblances to the likes of ‘Bugs’ Moran, ‘Bugsy’ Siegel, ‘Pretty Boy’ Floyd, John Dillinger, ‘Machine Gun’ Kelly, ‘Legs’ Diamond, and Frank Costello, all of whom had a Jean Harlow type blonde ‘broad’ hanging from their arms. The rest looked like they’d tried to go the distance with Rocco Francis Marchegiano.

The Italian proprietor, a real one-off, whose only word in English in which he was fluent which began with the letter ‘F’ and who realising Gerald’s surname was Costello, his Sicilian bon hommie really came to the fore. I kid you not, it was a night to remember.

More next time.


The “New Joisey eatery” John is referring to was the “Lighthouse” in Weehawken, New Jersey, without a doubt one of the best Italian restaurants I’ve ever eaten in and that includes Italy as well. The only name I knew the owner by was ‘Romano” and he was a delightful man. Unfortunately the Lighthouse is longer in business….



Following on from the previous curry recipe here on the Malamute Saloon I’m relieved that no-one has yet complained about having the red-hot rectals, or of marking out the hockey pitch as we sometimes refer to the morning after effects. I live in hope, ha, ha, ha! A good hot curry should induce sweating which in turn cleans the pores of the skin and what follows, though a little cooler, will do precisely that.

Hot curries are addictive in that they cause the body to release endorphins (a natural pain-killer). The same effect is possible with hot Tex-Mex chili too I suspect. But hot curries are for Sahibs, the menfolk, not wimpy gringos.

British Beef Raj Curry

This curry is finished off with serving bowls of sultanas, chopped boiled eggs, chopped fresh tomatoes, and desiccated coconut, crispy poppadums, from which the diners add according to taste, along with a dollop of apple, mango, or tamarind chutney. A sprinkling of sliced bananas is a useful addition to counter the fire of the chillies. Always serve with boiled rice.


  • 25g/1oz butter
  • 750g/1lb 10oz steak, cut into 1-inch cubes
  • 2 medium onions, sliced
  • 3 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 1 teaspoon Madras chilli powder
  • 1 teaspoon ground turmeric
  • 1½ tablespoons garam masala
  • 1½ teaspoon salt
  • 600ml/20fl oz. beef stock
  • 50g/1¾oz desiccated coconut
  • 100g/3½oz sultanas
  • Two chopped red chillies with seeds


1. Melt the butter in a large, sturdy pan (a cast-iron skillet is ideal) over a medium heat. Add the steak, in batches, and fry for a few minutes until browned and then remove to a plate.  Add the onions to the same pan and fry for 10 minutes, or until softened and golden-brown.

2. Add the garlic and fry for one minute, and then return the meat to the pan, along with any juices on the plate. Stir in the chilli powder, turmeric, one tablespoon of the garam masala, and the salt, and cook for one minute.

3. Add the stock, followed by the coconut and sultanas. Bring to a simmer, cover and cook over a low heat for 45 minutes to an hour or until the beef is tender. Stir in the remaining garam masala and serve. Often, a good dollop of straight-from-the-fridge yoghurt (Greek style) over the beef soothes the heat. Enjoy!

Remember the Golden Rule about drinks with curries….it’s water always, beer sometimes…wine NEVER.



An archaeologist and a treasure hunter are sitting next to each other on a long flight. The archaeologist thinks (as they all do) that treasure hunters are so dumb that he could get one over on any one of them dead easy…

So the archaeologist asks if the treasure hunter would like to play a fun game.

The treasure hunter is tired and just wants to take a nap, so he politely declines and tries to catch a few winks. The archaeologist persists, and says that the game is really, really, a lot of fun.

“I ask you a question, and if you don’t know the answer, you pay me only $5; you ask me a question, and if I don’t know the answer, I will pay you $500,”  the archaeologist says.

This catches the treasure hunter’s attention and to keep the archaeologist quiet, he agrees to play the game.

The archaeologist asks the first question. ‘What’s the distance from The Earth to the Moon?’

The Treasure hunter doesn’t say a word, reaches in his pocket, pulls out a five-dollar bill, and hands it to the archaeologist.

Now, it’s the treasure hunter’s turn. He asks the archaeologist, ‘What goes up a hill with three legs, and comes down with four?’

The archaeologist uses his laptop and searches all references he can find on the Net. He sends e-mails to all the smart friends he knows, all to no avail.

After one hour of searching he finally gives up. He wakes up the treasure hunter and hands him $500. The Treasure hunter pockets the $500 and goes right back to sleep.

The archaeologist is going nuts not knowing the answer. He wakes the treasure hunter up and asks, ‘Well, so what goes up a hill with three legs and comes down with four?’

The Treasure hunter reaches in his pocket, hands the archaeologist $5 and goes back to sleep.


This from the greatest Heavyweight of all time:-

Why waltz with a guy for 10 rounds if you can knock him out in one?...Rocco Francis Marchegiano,(aka, ‘Rocky’ Marciano, aka, ‘The Brockton Blockbuster’)

49 fights, 49 wins,43 by KO


I’ll see y’all in the bar


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