June 13, 2000
Greetings from the Great Wet North. Well, windy, actually. Almost gale force winds came up during the day. The quarry is fairly sheltered, but the cottage gets the full force of it. Bright and sunny out the window at present, but the winds are still up. Makes Jonina's task of water gunning specimens in front of the garage real fun, as she faces into the wind and gets a cold shower in the process. She needs to go to Kendal today on a powder run, so will get at least a partial reprieve.
I had a real nice headache yesterday, so was not of much use to anyone. Jim and Byron headed off to the quarry to muck out the tunnel, and Dave is back on. According to Jim, Dave is an expert at handling our old equipment and diagnosing problems that arise in the mine. I think we will get our money's worth in training alone out of him. I took Jonina down to Mark Watson's garage to look at cars. After a bit of a wait, he finally arrived, and we all took turns driving the intended vehicular victim around the dale. Seemed like it would work just fine, so we now have a second staff car - a red 1994 Subaru Justy, 4WD, petrol engine. Cost us 1600 UKP, and I think Mark gave us a bargain as this is a better car than the Peugeot, which as I recall cost us around 2000 UKP. The current balance with the Barkley's account is a bit under that, so I hope the transfer hits here soon. Took a trip up to Consett to restock the kitchen, and pick up some yarn for Jonina, who is planning on crocheting a blanket for Kirsty's baby. We also priced out a small oxygen/propane cutting torch set up, as the one we were suppose to have gotten from Lindsay and Mick was nicked (Britspeak for stolen) from the mine before we arrived last year. Price looks comparable to what it would be in the states - around $550. We just need to decide if we need one enough to justify the cost. In thinking about the compressor situation, Jim, Jonina, and I decided that it may be more advantageous to rent, rather than own one. The rental unit we currently have costs 150 UKP for 40 hours of running time. If we only run for 30 hours during any work week (more likely than 40), the average cost is 100 UKP per calendar week, adding up to around 1200 UKP for the three month season. The junker we bought cost us 2500 UKP. At that cost, we could have a rental for two seasons, without the maintenance and storage problems. Jim says that storing a diesel compressor outside for nine months without running it regularly is definitely bad for the unit. Perhaps we should sell it once we get it repaired, otherwise we can look forward to this happening again next year. Jonina FINALLY got hold of our Barclays customer rep. who said that the disks for the on-line banking had been mailed. I don't know why they don't set it up so that it all this could just be downloaded from their web site, but I guess that would be to logical.
Jim and Byron brought down another large load of purples from the mine yesterday. I think we have enough of these to last us a while as, while some are attractive and quite salable, none are the big money things we need to pay for this adventure. At the daily debriefing (aka: hitting the pub after knocking off for the day) I suggested that, rather than spending any more time in the purple area right now, we should consider making a proper tunnel out of last year's entrance to the green pocket. this way we could see what - if anything is in the floor of that area (which is still above tunnel level), and begin cleaning out the visible left-overs from last year (there's still a bit there). Jim and Jonina thought it a good idea, Byron didn't. I think he has a hard time walking away from a producing pocket. I tried to explain the economics of it, and I hope he understands the logic. I'll try to sort this one out this week before I leave.
Today we plan on using the last of our current powder supply to angle the tunnel back toward the north. If there are any extra sticks, perhaps we'll lift the floor at the old pocket entrance to see what's there. Jim and I need to some surveying, and sometime soon, Byron and Jim are going to have to cut the rail where the new tunnel takes off, and fashion a simple switching mechanism. I hear that the CO2 tank is in at Neil's, and hopefully so will be the rock oil, and a repaired compressor fuel pump. a million things to do.
Hope all is well on the home front. Send money.
Jesse, Jim, Byron, and the now independently mobile Jonina