July 13, 2000
A rather windy day in the Dale, but no rain. This is the coldest July on record in the UK and I imagine they have records going back a long way. It even snowed in the Scottish Highlands earlier this week.
Our favorite pub in St. John's Chapel, The Golden Lion, is getting a new roof, but reusing the old stone tiles. The stone tiles were pegged to the roof with lamb bones meaning that this is the original roof put there when the building was built, circa 1740s. The gentleman who is doing the job also found an old shoe that had to be deliberately left by the person who originally put on the roof. He says he often finds things like that in these old roofs. He also calculated that there is about 35 tons of rock on the roof. By the way, this building is considered one of the newer building in the Dale.
Well, if yesterday was a frustrating day, today made up for it. Remember the large crystal on the roof we saw some time ago and have been working our way towards? We were able, with a lot of contortion, to remove it. And without breaking it! The large crystal is 2 1/4 X 1 3/4 X 2 inches, I measured it. It is perched next to a cluster of 3 stalactites and the whole specimen is 17 X 11 inches. I'm sure it will be trimmed down by Cal to a very nice cabinet piece. There are several gemmy penetrating twins on the piece also and probably more that are covered in white calcite. Although the big one is not gemmy it is still the best piece so far this year and by far better than anything from last year.
After we removed that plate Byron washed out a great deal of mud and starting pulling out loose pieces from the floor. Most of them were nice stalactites and I lost count after 6. I didn't count the numerous small nubs as stalactites even though technically they are. There were at least a dozen small plates recovered also. A good day all in all.
We have one more longish cavity to remove tomorrow and then I think we will have removed all the good specimens exposed. Then we can drill and blast to open up the zone to the full width of the tunnel and to a height where we won't have to stoop to use the saw. It's bad enough to have water spraying you in the face while you slowly feed the saw into the rock, but to have to contort your body into a tiny space kills your back!
Dave, meanwhile, has been working in a friend's shop building the switch for the tracks. It should be done today and he will bring it up to the mine for installation tomorrow. Whether we get to it this week is questionable, specimens are priority.
To be continued tomorrow...... Cheers, Jim