June 3, 2001

Good Morning. The day begins bright and sunny, and perhaps Sunday will live up to its name for a change. Yesterday was a mix of chores and socializing. We finally retrieved the Peugot from Mark Watson’s garage, and Byron got his introduction to right-hand drive on the way back to the cottage. Last year Jim did most of the driving for the crew, but this year we turn Byron loose. No flaming wrecks ensued, and the trip through the valley was routine.

Afterwards, we all headed over to Kendal, in Cumbria for a visit with Lindsay and Patricia – the former owners of the Rogerley. They had stored our diamond chainsaw safely in the explosives bunker over the winter for us, and had ordered us some new headlamps from a local supplier – all of which will be pressed into service shortly. They also have one of the best collections of Northern English minerals in private hands. Due to some tax advantages on income resulting from Lindsay’s illness a few years ago (a small silver lining to that cloud), they are putting much of it up for sale. Anyone familiar with the mineral specimen trade these days will be aware that really good specimens can command seemingly astronomical prices, and some of theirs are in this category. It’s quite an education, however, to see the best a region has to offer, and an effort not to rationalize being able to afford some of the less expensive ones.

On the trip over to Kendal we were late and in a bit of a hurry, so consequently took the fast and boring route. On the way back we took some back roads, which wandered through numerous picturesque villages, and over the moors – first into Teesdale and then into Weardale. Everything seemed quite peaceful and other-worldly compared to life back home. Only the noticeable lack of sheep and cattle in many areas gave a clue to the current problems. Stopped at a nice village pub in Romaldkirk for dinner, and arrived back at the cottage at dusk, which was unusually glorious. Clear lingering twilight with a bright, three quarter moon hanging over the valley.

This afternoon we are going to meet with Dave and go over schedules at the mine, and any other last minute details before we begin the mining effort in earnest on Monday. Perhaps I’ll fuss with some cleaning specimens this morning, and if he is in, pay David Rennison a visit at his crystal shop in Barnard Castle. Today’s picture postcard is of a few of the nicer bits we collected on Thursday, seeing the sun for the first time in a good number of millions of years. As you can tell, these are not quite the shinny green things that end up at Tucson and elsewhere, and illustrates how much cleaning is required after the mining is done. Perhaps I’ll line these fellows up after their bath to get a “before and after”.

Hope all is well back home.

Cheers, Jesse

A few fluorite specimens seeing the first light of day.

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