June 22, 2001

Hello All:

There are high clouds that are trying to break up as we speak. To add to that there is a light breeze. Two days of outstanding weather are supposed to be moving in. It looks as though itís trying. Kind of a confusing day yesterday for both the Guys and for me. The guys started mucking the East tunnel. The temporary set of timbers they put in kept trying to have itself removed with the muck. Got that problem sorted out and finally got the face of the East tunnel timbered. Now on to the West tunnel. Byron began picking at the pocket behind the column in the West tunnel. Itís going to need a name. Byron is in about 7 feet. The plate he showed me last night is an A. It is a great zone. Most of the pieces are flat plates, but niiicccceee. If he doesn't name it I will.

The morning for me consisted of emails and chores. Then I went to meet my parents at about noon. For the record if you don't live in Britain, but need a doctor, the National Health Service is wonderful. My father had a problem with his thumb. They fixed him up and didn't charge him for the visit or the prescription. Just filled out a form stating that he is a Temporary Resident. No wonder people here complain about people who come in just for health care. But still itís nice to know that when you need it, it's there.

Anyway my Mother had made an appointment to view a private garden in the Hamsterley Forest. First I took them to Stanhope and did some chores. I also introduced them to Phillippa and Jeremy our landpeople. We then began to wander in the direction of the Forest. We went to Escomb Church. It is the only known fully used Saxon church. It has been in continuous use, except 80 years (WWI to WWII), in England. Simple one room church with a wall all around it. The wall is a circle around the alter and supposedly follows the hedge works that would have been there originally. The early 'churches' would be a round hedge with an alter stone in the center. The alter stone is still there. Anyway the man who showed us around is a treasure. If you ever visit ask for Kenneth Raines. He told so much and kept us laughing. Inveterate joke teller. From there we decided that we needed to find this garden we were to visit. So into the Hamsterley Forest. It is lush and green. The directions were pretty good and we still had time before we had our appointment, so we drove around. There is a duck pond with wild iris' and ducks. All kinds of animals. But best of all, big trees. There is actually a bit of forest there. Most of the forest here is gone. But this little bit survives. We found the garden and it was glorious. The woman who owns it just let us wander about. Then she joined us, and her and my mother went to plant land. That is where everyone speaks Latin and compares plant notes. The strange thing is that I'm starting to join her. According to my father itís genetic.

From there we took the long way to the Golden Lion and met up with Byron. Introductions all around. We didn't get to see Isabelle though. Had dinner up at the house. It was clear and sunny. Great way to enjoy the longest day of the year. Took them home and Byron and I tucked in for the night. Long but fun day.

Cheers, Jonina and Byron

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