I remember the time I found a super hammered coin, put it in a paper hanky for safety when carrying home, placed it carefully on the kitchen table and found out later that some tidy-minded person had thrown it in the trash can. Not only that, the rubbish had been collected that morning!

Einstein quotes abound online. The only problem is he never said most of them. Recently, Ivanka Trump was mocked on Twitter for an Einstein misquote she made four years ago . “If the facts don’t fit the theory, change the facts.” A relative of Al’s family confirmed that he’d never said the quote and suggested she purchase The Ultimate Quotable Einstein book. Ivanka never responded to the correction.


When I started the hobby I made lots of mistakes from which I learned, and thus became a more efficient detectorist. For instance, I bet many of you have also turned over the soil many times looking for that elusive artefact or coin? The signal is definitely there, yet it appears to be everywhere. Omnipotent.

And then you realise that you have forgotten to remove your wedding ring or are still wearing your wristwatch. Doh! Won’t make that error again and yet we invariably do! However, I’ve stopped ‘detecting’ the eyelets or steel toe caps in my boots, so I have learned. If this is still happening to you, constantly plagued with the phantom beep, I can only suggest there must be something wrong with your technique and how you sweep the coil – or your fingers are still full of bling and you haven’t realised. 

Don’t have that problem with the wedding band any more. After the incident mentioned I got into the habit of removing the ring and threading it onto the lace of my trainer for safety, before donning my wellies. With hindsight, not one of my better ideas! If there happens to be anyone reading this who is proficient with a metal detector and willing to hunt for a ring somewhere in East Sussex I’d be very grateful. The only problem is I’m not sure where it could be. The upside is that due to absence of any outward sign of heart-rending sorrow or any attempt to find it (Brighton and the Sussex Downs is a large area) Mrs. John still isn’t speaking to me. Every cloud has a silver lining, so maybe that was a good day’s detecting after all! Only joking, he hastily added. 


I remember the time I found a super hammered coin, put it in a paper hanky for safety when carrying home, placed it carefully on the kitchen table and found out later that some tidy-minded person had thrown it in the trash can. Not only that, the rubbish had been collected that morning! 

© Mrs John

This hobby can also prove to be very expensive . . . like the time I damaged one of the the lens of my glasses. I retraced my steps but was unable to find it. That cost me a lot of money because, for some reason I still fail to understand, both lens had to be replaced. 

Courtesy of Specsavers


Then there was the incident with my mobile phone. It’s one that pains me most to talk about. The phone was missing and I was convinced that it had fallen out of my pocket whilst detecting. My wife advised me to check the inside of the car. I even borrowed her mobile, dialled my number and listened for the plaintive cry of my missing phone. Silence. So, before leaving for work the next day, I insisted we went back to the field to use the same technique. It was 7am, it was cold and it was raining. She wasn’t amused. The only sound to be heard was the bleating of the sheep. You will be pleased to know that the missing phone was eventually found by her indoors. It was in the car all the time. I had done the original checking from the outside with all doors closed and expected to hear if there was a response. Still trying to live that down too! 

© Mrs John

I can assure you that I am not making any of this up. Please tell me that some of these incidents are familiar to you. How many of you have travelled miles to a field and discovered that you’d left the detectors at home? I have. Damned annoying, I can tell you that in my first year detecting I even left the field and travelled to the nearest supermarket to buy batteries. Well, it was either that or call it a day. Now I just get up earlier in the morning and double check that everything is there for a day’s detecting. Yes, you certainly learn by your mistakes.

There can’t be many of us who, when out searching, haven’t glimpsed a fellow detectorist pulling a nice find out of the ground. Sometimes the frantic war dance gives it away. The galling thing is that this is usually after you have been walking around for hours finding nothing and they have just ambled onto the field. If you’re like me there are many thoughts, emotions and words that run through your mind. Then they try to tell you it is all skill and it was only a little whisper of a signal when in fact the sound it really gave was loud enough to blow their ears off. Incidents like that do nothing for an already deflated ego. 


Beginners please be aware that metal detecting can be detrimental to health. When you have purchased your new detector and are fired up with enthusiasm, the first place you usually dig is your own back garden. Not the front garden ‘cos you don’t wish to appear a geek. I was so pleased at finding what turned out to be my first bit of dross that I called my wife to peer down the (rather large) hole in the lawn.

© Mrs John

In my excitement I lifted the detector rather quickly and the coil collided smartly with her forehead and knocked her out. Even now, in the Holby City quieter moments, I am often reminded of those hours spent in the accident and emergency department of Stoke Mandeville Hospital. 


Courtesy of Mrs John and Jo Winter-Burley. Click to Enlarge.
© Mrs John

This blogpost is in memory of my friend and mentor John Fargher, who died last week. I shall miss his support, advice and encouragement. Rest in Peace, John.

17 thoughts on “A DETECTING LESSON . . .”

  1. John it is the beginning and first lesson of being self taught as in the early stages of detecting we would be red faced when a more experienced guy pointed out “You are finding you boots insole” or “Its your watch you clot”.
    I will always remember how my now deceased detecting pal was going through handful after handful of soil looking for his phantom find we eventually discovered that the signal was caused by the tiniest slither of silver which had pierced and got through his rubber gloves while he had been rubbing a broken cut quarter hammered silver trying to clear away the soil, lesson learnt.


  2. How many mistakes have I made over the years John? Too many to count!! LOL..I too, have left machines at home, forgotten batteries [or neglected to charge the machines, left diggers at home… the list goes on.

    The worst of it is when I am diving.. I take all my detectors, [fully charged by the way] and gear , head out to my dive site..

    I get fully geared up into my suit only to realize that I have left my tanks or some such at home..

    Of late it has been less of an issue since I carry everything in a kit bag now… but that was a time or two………..

    Thank you for the morning chuckle John..



  3. Judging by your multitude of great finds Randy, you learned some good lessons in those formative years.


  4. I lost my wedding ring while gold detecting here in Oz.
    I put it in my pocket and lost it when i pulled out something. Now i leave the replacement in a medicine jar in my vehicle.
    It gets hot here in Summer, up to 47c some days. I have learnt always to have some water with me even if i only intend to go for a short time. We normally do our detecting in the cooler months.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. John I forgot to mention I got into metal detecting through a lost gold ring it was back in 1974 when my wife suffering from Crohns disease lost a massive amount of weight she dropped to 4½ stone and she lost her wedding ring in our garden I scoured the garden but couldn’t find it so I bought her a new ring then a friends son had bought a Cscope BFO metal detector and he lent it to me and when I took it back he said he had paid £100 for it and if I wanted to buy it from him I could have it for £50, I took by two young sons with me to a local spot where the local village miners played “Pitch & Toss” over the weeks we found over £60 in halfpennies, pennies, threepenny bits and tanners this is a story I have mentioned to you in the past it is the same spot where I found the double sided penny. The finds paid for the detector and I was truly hooked.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Fascinating, Randy. You should be writing this blog. We have a lot in common.
    The Pitch and Toss sites were invariably fruitful. How did the miners leave so much money?
    That post featuring you double-headed penny was a good’un. Wonder if Waybackmachine captured that page? Will take a look.


  7. Got the T shirt for a lot of above gaffs … I remember once having a cup of ‘tea’ after arriving home from an enjoyable dig to suddenly realise I had left Phil behind who I had given a lift to dig !! good job I avoided speed traps on way back .

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Lucky the dig was only 25mins away ( CS days ) and I got a round of applause when I arrived back … I have always liked the banter on the fields … but I was to be the butt of it for the next few digs and nobody asked for a lift !

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Lucky dig was only 25mins away (CS days) and I got a round of applause when I arrived back .. I have always liked the banter on the fields .. but I was to be the butt of it for the next few digs and nobody asked for a lift !!

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Brilliant blog John ~ a great mixture of humour and historical content.
    On the matter of forgetting things, my list is immeasurable!
    My saving grace and new ploy arose out of a medical problem!
    A few years back I was having severe dizzy spells. After an MRI scan, it was realised that I had suffered a couple of mini-strokes. (TIA’s)
    It was explained that as a result, parts of my brain affected were the ones concerning Memory Loss!!
    Armed with this new info, I am now ‘covered’ for every moment of forgetfulness!! Not the way I would have wanted it, but the only positive out of the situation.
    Joking apart, it is so frustrating when I do forget things now. My wife, Bev, helps me with notes that appear everywhere, from ‘turn the cooker off’ to ‘remember your Spade and Pointer’
    All done in good humour of course.
    I still feel that getting older is actually ‘Learning Curve’
    Take care my friend and keep up the good work ~ Paul

    Liked by 1 person

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