August 8, 2000
Today was a lovely day, actually kinda warm, by Northern England standards.
We started the morning by finishing the mucking in Mick and Lindsay's tunnel. I asked Dave to see what he could do with the large rock I had so much trouble with yesterday. It took him about 20 minutes to play with the rock and get it into position to be able to actually pick it up without tipping over. Once he had it up over the mucker he played with the controls and was able to keep it in the bucket where I couldn't. Into the ore car to top it off and we were ready to go out and dump it. That's where the problems started. It was the last thing to go into the tub and it stuck out a little to far. Moving down the tunnel was fine, but where the tunnel curves around and we use the tugger to pull it out the rock kept hanging up on a steel arch. Luckily, as I was operating the tugger from outside I could feel that something was wrong and would slack off so as not to break the wire rope. We barred the rock as far to one side as we could and even tipped the ore car a bit to get it past the steel arch. Finally, after 3 or 4 tries we were able to pass the arch only to have the car jump the tracks. It was not in a position to use the mucker to put it back on so we had to use a 10 ton jack. After that episode we had no more trouble getting the tub to the dumping site, but in all it took about 2 hours for one car load.
Today we wanted to put some timber in the New Drift and went to the saw mill to talk with the owner, Alistair Ward. The type of timber used in England is Larch and has similar properties to Douglas Fir used in the US for timbering mines. Alistair wasn't there, however, so we went back to the mine and just prepared the tunnel for the timber. Tomorrow morning, when we arrive at the mine we will stop at the mill and order the timber we need to do the job.
We were able to put in a post in an area of the cavity where we first opened it up to keep the rather large slab from coming down. Then from atop of the mucker, we used the chipping hammer to put in holes that will house the ends of the timbers that will support the roof. There won't be any posts in this type of timbering, just caps running from wall to wall with lagging and cribbing to fill in the gap from the caps to the roof. Hopefully, if Alistair has the material tomorrow we will be finished with most of the job.
Mick, one of the previous mine owners, came by today to drop off a double drum slusher and pick up his slusher he had let us use. When I realized he was here I went down to greet him and there he was in shorts sitting outside soaking up the sun. When the sun comes out he'll stop whatever he's doing just to soak up the rays, a real sun worshiper who is a golden bronze color. He says he gets his tan in Kendal, I wonder about that though. Every time I've been in Kendal it was raining.
His slusher had been sitting between our old compressor and the new one we now rent. While we were dragging it up into his trailer it ran across the water line which happened to run right under it and, of course, it cut the plastic pipe. I had to run into town to get the necessary part to repair the line, if it's not one thing, it's another.
We still have a very large boulder in the New Drift that we have to do something with. Either we blast it or saw it up, either way, it's the only way we will be able to move it and it is in the way. Can't muck out the tunnel till we do.
During the day I went to the face in Mick and Lindsay's tunnel to dig some more crystals in the pocket we opened up the other day. The damn hose blew up in my face twice and twice in the middle. Now the thing won't reach the face! The American hose my brother brought us, about 3 weeks ago, hasn't given one bit of problem.
More on our trials and tribulations tomorrow, Cheers, Jim