A Date We Will Remember…

This post has a little of everything from a 9/11 remembrance to John Howland’s recent stroll on the beach…hope you find it interesting….


Tomorrow is September 11th, and a date that America will always remember.  I decided to once again share my post of previous years here.  It is how Fay and I remember that day and how grateful we were and are to be Americans…



There’s no question that 9/11/2001 will forever be etched in our minds. Much like the Kennedy assassination we know exactly where we were and what we were doing when we heard the news….

Fay and I were in France, and did not learn of the attack until the next day. I know, hard to believe, but true. We got up early that morning (remember…..six hours difference in time) in Cassis, a seaside town in Provence and headed to St. Remy, where we were looking forward to the Wednesday market the morning of 9/12.

We decided to stop for lunch at noon in Orgon, a small town about 10 miles east of St. Remy. After all that is what one does in France at that time of day. Everything pretty much comes to a stop from noon to 2pm and eating lunch is serious business. Like always when we are on the road we stopped at the first restaurant, cafe or bistro we came to.  We think now that we were just about midway through our meal when the attacks in New York were taking place.



After leaving Orgon we headed to St. Remy, and checked in at our hotel, the “Les Antiques”. The man at the desk was polite but said nothing about what had or was happening in the States. We dumped our bags and headed to Chateau le Baux just outside town.  This ancient site was perched atop a very steep hilltop where we could literally see for miles and miles. I remember the breathtaking view to this day and how I just kept staring.

We were amazed that we seemed to be the only ones exploring the area and of course later understood why. We spent quite a while roaming the area and then returned to St. Remy. Since we had a four course lunch we decided to save some money and picnic outside our room on the patio. We picked up some cheese, sausage, bread and of course a bottle of the local wine, and had a very relaxing meal. Tired from the travel and the exploring we showered read some and turned in early.

The next morning, as we were getting ready to go to the market, I happened to turn on the TV, and saw videos of airplanes flying into buildings. At first I had no idea what this was about and remember saying to Fay, “come here and look at this. Is this for real?” We were stunned and I might also add, scared. Scared because we were 5,000 miles from home and our family.

We were scheduled to fly back to the states a few days later, but because of the grounding of aircraft we had no idea if our flight would be there for us. We had no choice but to continue on with our trip, but this horrific event was ever-present in our minds. The French were fantastic, offering us lodging, hugs and tears. Michel Tocque, my treasure hunting friend in Brittany, also called, offering his home for as long as we needed. I cannot tell you how grateful we were.

Café in St Remy on 9/12

Café in St Remy 9/12

The next few days were difficult in that local newspapers were non-existent and most of the places we were stayed did not have TV’s. Most of what we learned came from other travelers along the way. We continued on to Ile le Sorgue and stayed with Poppy and the late Pierre Salinger, who were also understanding and gracious hosts. Amazingly our flight was not cancelled or delayed and we were even treated to first class for our return trip, thanks to American Airlines.

On touchdown at Dallas/Fort Worth airport every passenger applauded and it was a feeling I will never forget. The customs agents as well were extra kind in their duties, adding “Welcome Home“…

It took us a day or two to fully grasp what had happened, watching continuous TV coverage, seeing video and photos not seen prior. What a horrendous tragedy it was. We would never be the same. I will also remember how everyone came together, and American flags were flying everywhere. We were Americans first and ready to stand together against whomever was responsible for this attack.





Rare US Coin Found in UK Field



I loved hunting the beaches of France, especially along the Mediterranean coast but now it looks like my next trip there will be without a sand scoop.  As if things were bad enough already! Poor me….

French Women No Longer Like Topless Sunbathing



Well a few of you were amused by the shoe method of opening a wine bottle so I thought I post the following for all you unedified tekkies out there (save this one Howland).




John Howland sent me his latest update to the Malamute Saloon and decided to share it here as well. The guy always make me laugh and it’s truly a blessing that we are not living on the same continent, hunting together. If you sometimes think his stories are way out there, hard to believe, far-fetched….you are wrong. I cannot ever remember hunting with him where the laughs weren’t a mile a minute, the oddball situations a common occurrence and the local pub the perfect place to rehash it all. In fact if there were not a bar within a reasonable driving distance he would not go detecting.

We’ve both aged some (John a little more gracefully than I) and we’ve not seen each other (except for Skype) for some time. If and when we do get together again I will remember to bring a video camera and share the adventure, uncensored…..

A Day on the Beach

I don’t know about the rest of you, but I often meet many people on the beach while out treasure hunting who are keen to learn about metal detectors and the kind of things we find and the final question, is invariably, “Where can I buy one and how much do they cost.” I try to be helpful and spend time in answering enquiries and in one case, it rewarded me handsomely by securing an inland site. Take the other day for instance:-

It’s early an early September day and a gentle south-easterly is rolling in across the beach under a canopy of clear blue. There’s a hint of autumn in the breeze. I’m out hunting on my favourite beach and all is well with the world: The kids are all back a skool after the summer hols, but today it’s mostly people of a certain age strolling, or walking their pooches along the sands. Half an hour and several coins into my sortie I am brought up sharp.

There before me stands a mangy, wire-haired terrier with a striking resemblance to a used Brillo Pad defiantly hampering my progress; slobbering with a tennis ball in its gob and demanding I play some game Throw and Fetch. It drops the ball at my feet…Yap! Yap! “Go on, piss off,” I mumble under my breath.

“Muffin! Muffin! Leave that man alone,” shrills a female voice. I look up and there walking towards me with a movement like a Swiss watch, is a stunning, twenty-four carat brunette with the body of the Venus di Milo (plus the arms of course) registering 9.6 on the Richter Scale of Fanciability. She’s making a happy man feel very old.

“It’s ok,” I say, “Just lurve dawgs. He’s a real beaut. I lurve terriers,” lying through my teeth.

“Don’t mind him, he’s only playing. Muffins’ ok.”

“I hope you find some treasure,” she smiles

Oh Satan, get thee behind me. I press on in my quest for gold.

John Howland, the British Bubba, and bartender at the Malamute Saloon

John Howland on a beach near Bournemouth…

Two more coins later, two pairs of legs from the knees down hove into my field of view, again barring my progress. I look up. “Excuse me, but could you tell me where I can get one of those?” he says pointing at my ATPro, “My wife has always fancied detecting.”

The owner of the voice is a middle-aged guy, with his wife in tow, and who I recognise as former television/media man now happily and recently retired (he tells me) living spitting distance of my favourite section of Dorset beach.

“No problem,” says I, “What do you want to know?” and I launch into the vagaries of beach hunting hereabouts. “How much do you want to spend on a machine? Budget?”

Up speaks his wife. “Well it’s got to be light, and I reckon I can get him to spend £200.” He nods in agreement. I give hubby Regton’s details. “Just ask for Nigel or Marcus and tell them you’ve been talking to John from Bournemouth. They’ll know who I am.”

“What metal detector would you recommend?”

“Easy. It needs to be light enough for your wife to handle, with top performance, and with a little horse-trading you’ll get a good deal. Go for the American-made Garrett ACE 250 bundle…headphones and the whole nine yards. But first have a log chat with Nigel, explain your needs and I’m sure he’ll put you right, Garrett or no.”

“We’ve a friend who has acres of farmland in Wiltshire and he’s found bits of roman pottery after ploughing. Will an ACE work there?” Hubby says.

“Absolutely,” says I, “Just make sure you report anything of historical interest. You might even start a collection of roman coins, for where there’s pottery, coins always follow.”

“And gold treasure?” she asks excitedly.

“Maybe. Who knows?”

“What a great fun. And I guess the excitement is never knowing what you are going to find,” she exclaims excitedly.

“ Got it in one!”

“Well, good luck, and perhaps we’ll see you on the beach fairly soon,” and with a friendly wave my two new recruits stroll off down the beach. I like the sound of that Wiltshire farmland…could there be an invite in the wind? Oh, well…press on.

Down at one of the boulder groynes (sea defences) I take a break. Then he/it appears, clad head to foot in camo gear, spade, a haversack that must weigh 20 kilos, and a coil half the size of New Jersey, specs with lenses that could have come from the bottom of milk bottles, and a set of choppers that wouldn’t disgrace Bugs Bunny.

“Farnd anyfing, mate?”

“Er…not much,” I lie.

“I have. Free gold rings and a loada £1 coins. I put them in me car,” adding for effect, “You gotta know whatcha doin’ darn here.”

“Oh, well done,” I say hoping he’ll bugger off forthwith.

“Yeah,” he says, “I duz a lot wiv the archaeologists. They call me when they need a proper search.”

“I can see why they would, you’re an expert,” I reply.

“I bin doin’ this for too yurs,” then he/it claps eyes on my ATPro.

“Ah, I see yoo got the Garrett, I prefer one of these though,” (name deleted to save embarrassment to another well-known manufacturer).

“I offered them [Garrett] suggestions how to improve depf, but they didn’t reply,” he/it replies.

“Tragedy,” I say, “They’ll never know what expertise they’ve missed.” He ponders the fact, then moves up wind of me. Wow! If you wanted to hide money in his house, you’d hide under the soap…you follow my drift?

Then off he goes into the wild blue yonder swinging his half-acre sized coil about a foot off the sand. It takes all sorts I suppose……



In a recent Press Release, the Portable Antiquities Scheme announced a further cash injection from the Heritage Lottery Fund:-

The British Museum announces today a new Portable Antiquities Scheme (PAS) initiative that will greatly increase volunteer involvement in archaeological heritage across the UK. PAS Explorers is a five-year project that will create a national network of up to 500 trained volunteers who will participate in archaeological finds work in their local areas, sharing information through the PAS database and within their local communities. The project is generously supported by the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) with a grant of £792,000 over five years.

Roger Bland, Head of the Portable Antiquities Scheme said:

Volunteers have always been vital for the success of the Portable Antiquities Scheme and this generous grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund will mean that we can not only provide many more volunteering opportunities, but also give them the chance to develop their skills. This will enable us to meet our core aim of increasing our knowledge of the history and archaeology of England and Wales for the benefit of all.

Carole Souter, Chief Executive of the Heritage Lottery Fund added:

This wonderful project will help spread the reach of the Portable Antiquities Scheme even further across England and Wales. Enthusiastic and dedicated volunteers are the life blood of the scheme: without them it would falter. In recognition of this, individuals will be given further opportunities to widen their knowledge and involvement which in turn will improve the recording of archaeological finds and raise awareness at a grass-roots level.

The PAS Press Office advises in its ‘Notes to Editors’:

The Portable Antiquities Scheme

Thousands of archaeological objects are discovered every year, many by members of the public, particularly by people while metal-detecting. If recorded, these finds have great potential to transform archaeological knowledge, helping us understand when, where and how people lived in the past.

The Portable Antiquities Scheme (www.finds.org.uk) offers the only proactive mechanism for systematically recording such finds, which are made publicly available on its online database. This data is an important educational and research resource that can be used by anyone interested in learning more.

The Portable Antiquities Scheme is managed by the British Museum, and funded by the Department for Culture, Media and Sport through a ring-fenced grant, the British Museum and local partners. Its work is guided by the Portable Antiquities Advisory Group, whose membership includes leading archaeological, landowner and metal-detecting organisations.


Here’s one for the rabid archaeo-bloggers:-

“Moral indignation is jealousy with a halo”…H. G. Wells

I’ll see y’all in the bar…


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