June 1, 2000

Greetings from the Great Wet North. Today dawns dark, damp, and drippy in the Dale. How's that for alliteration (or whatever they call it)? Things continue to progress nicely with the mine. Yesterday Jim and Byron finished mucking off the landing, and Mick delivered the hydraulic power supply. A crane should be showing up this morning to hoist it to the landing, and as soon as we get the saw connected, we'll be able to slice and dice. None too soon, as the Grouse Butt Hole continues to produce truly massive specimens of purple fluorite. Byron continued to extract the pocket, and removed quite a number of specimens during the afternoon. The water got connected yesterday as well, so we can now wash the mud off them. A couple of the big ones look real nice, and I didn't see an obvious way to carve them up at first glance. Some have those nice little gemmy twins on the surface, hopefully there's more to come. The left (west) side of the pocket gave a hollow sounding "thump" when Jim and Byron have been hammering, so we suspect that there is more behind this cavity.

Jonina and I made a grocery/hardware run up to Consett, once again dodging furry speed bumps across the moor. Had to become familiar with BritSpeak again - an extension cord is a lead, and Q-Tips are cotton buds, but we managed to get what we were after. While looking for non-beer type drinks, Jonina recounted a story about some fruit drink she bought last year. Evidently it was very sweet and syrupy, and not at all to her liking. She spied the same stuff, and started making disparaging remarks until she noticed that the label read "dilute to taste". When in doubt, read the instructions.

The tool rental place has petrol powered high pressure washers at 90 UKP a week, so we may rent one to wash off the back of the tunnel and get a good look at what's there. The area is completely cavity-ridden, but is so full of mud that our little garden hose won't even make a dent.

Called Ian Forbes at Killhope to let him know we were back in town. He sounded quite eager to see us, in that reserved British sort of a way. Sounds like we are his only source of both galena and local fluorspar specimens. Despite the fact that we sold stuff to a number of locals, including David Rennison and his friend Colin, no one has been offering anything to the museum gift shop, and his only supply of mineral specimens has been some fellow from Cumbria who deals in stuff like Brazilian agate slices and amethyst. I think that, between them and Gemcraft, we should be able to start the cash flow as soon as we have some stuff cleaned.

Today Jonina and I will go visit the chemical supply shop in the AM while Jim and Byron deal with the crane. This afternoon Jim and I are planning on getting out our Bruntons and discussing strategy at the mine.

Mustapha says "Forward in all directions!" and so we shall.


Jesse Jim, Byron, and the yet sleeping Jonina

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