July 26, 2000
Maybe summer hasn't abandoned us, it just took a break. Today was pleasant enough, cloudy but no rain like yesterday.
The first thing I did this morning was to take our 2 drums for diesel to have them filled. I had to carry them to the car and take them to the Mark Watson's petrol station for filling one at a time. I wasn't sure when we would be able to retrieve them since the gate to the saw mill is locked more often than not, but John, a man who works for Mark got in and delivered them around noon. Now we have enough diesel to last for a while.
Dave and I mucked out another tub from the face in Mick and Lindsay's tunnel and prepared it for drilling. This time we just pulled the tub out with the tugger from outside and had no problems whatsoever with it jumping off the tracks.
We had just set up for drilling when the group from the Church of England arrived for their tour of the mine. Apparently, this is the first time they have come to the mine and I gave them the tour. They even had a Mining Engineer who had worked in the fluorospar mining industry here in the Northern Pennines. I guess they wanted to see if we were giving them the true story and knew what we were doing. They were greatly impressed.
Mick and Lindsay also came for the first time this season and were also impressed by what we had accomplished so far this year.
By the time they all left it was going on 4 PM, to late to get the explosives for the front face, so Dave and I trimmed the large specimens with the diamond chain saw and wrapped the smaller ones while Byron continued to dig more crystals.
A somewhat tight pocket is opening up on the right hand wall and some nice pieces have come out. This may put off our drilling and blasting there for another day.
Tomorrow, Dave and I will drill and shoot the face in the old tunnel around noon so the smoke has a chance to clear while we have our lunch. If all goes well maybe we can drill and shoot the face in the new tunnel before we go home in the evening. We will see.
Till tomorrow, Cheers, Jim
We all got up fairly early ( at least 2 hours too early according to my nieces) and were able to leave the house about 9:30 and go up to LA. Arrived in time to see Malcolm and his sheep dog driving the sheep off the upper pastures for shearing -- quite a site and a first for Marcus, Liz and Sarah. After that Sarah and Liz agreed to spend the morning packing fluorites in bubble wrap and did a fine job of it; Marc help Jonina and I; I worked the saw till about noon and they cleaned up the mess and did more packing. We are behind the eight ball again, lots of material starting to come down the pike and need to clear the decks, this year we will not be cleaning things quite as well, partly due to the lack of water guns and partly due to the fact I am going to emphasize production and worry less about cleaning over here. There are a half dozen or more full buckets of green waiting for some help. I was showing Jonina and the larger section of the big specimen that broke in two yesterday while Marc was carrying it to the car and while picking it up to look for a nice place to saw it -- it fell apart at the point of greatest desirability, saving about 2 hours of sawing. Only down side was one nice 1.25" gem twin near the base came loose but it will make somebody happy.
Anyhow, we broke for lunch down at The Drapery where Kerith had hot biscuits and beef stew ready for all but Marc who is not eating beef here due to his worry about mad cow disease. I personally am hoping to get it at the same time I get Alheziemers.
About 1:30 Kerith and I drove over to the Rogerley mine and waited at the back gate, about 10 minutes later Lindsay, Mick and Patricia showed up and they and Kerith drove up and walked to the mine leaving me at the bottom of the hill to await the Cof E commissioners and Trevor and Tim from Wardell Armstrong. I finally gave up at 2:20 and walked up to the mine, no mean feat since my lungs are still full of green slime. Everybody was suited up and already at the mine head. Jim Clanin was doing an outstanding job of showing people around and explaining what we had been doing. Lindsay and Mick answered questions and when I caught up I did by little bit too. Everything went very well, all suitably impressed and I need to follow up about other possibilities now. Trevor from Wardell Armstrong and Andrew Magee from the church commission ( a young man probably in his mid-30's) both asked about the Lawsons. They had heard they "might" be illegally working a CofE mine in the area and wanted to contact them. I let Lindsay do the talking on that one begging off that they had stolen too much from us for me to give an unbiased opinion of them. That group left about 3pm and Lindsay and Mick and Patricia left about 3:30.
Byron had opened up several new cavities in the face of the new tunnel, one down low and one up several feet and farther to the left, extracted a number of 'B' quality specimens and one or two nice retail specimens, every bit of rock you move in the area seems to expose more green fluorite. Have to wait for Byron to clean it out a bit so that Jim and Dave can drill and blast and move forward on the face. They needed to get some explosives and wanted Jonina to pick them up -- foolishly I remembered the cell phone in Kerith's purse in the car - a long walk back toting a bucket of green fluorites, back with the phone, up the stairs and phoned Jonina -- to no avail and had to leave a message on the phone-- result back down with another bucket of green fluorite to the car. All that walking with my diminished lung capacity left me absolutely bushed. We drove back to The Drapery about 4pm and I showered and with a bit of rest after this email will be ready to push off to the Mill Race for dinner. Anyway, that is all for now from this place way North of Lake Woebegone on a pleasant warm sunny zephyrs day.