June 23, 2001

Hi Gang:

Yesterday was impressive. Byron gave me a lift to the gate so that I could go retrieve my parents, and introduce them to the mine. Byron picked up the Guys and I headed for Wolsingham. Mary and Denis were a little skeptical of this adventure, but here we went. The walk into the mine itself was glorious. The sun was poking through and was shaping up to be a great day. After donning the company colors and getting 'before' pictures, we set off. Byron was checking out the West tunnel. He poked some more in the Solstice Pocket (yes we named it, for now). When we came in Byron explained the procedure and Vernon took a turn. Then Lynne got in there. We couldn't get her out for a while. I gave a short tour of that tunnel, then we retired to the East tunnel. The Guys had finished there and were in the process of moving Robbie the Eimco. I had forgotten just how loud that guy was. We had introductions and a couple of good laughs. Looked into the Black Sheep Pocket. There is still some fine looking material there. I took 'after' pictures, and we wandered out of the quarry. Dave and Lofty worked on the West tunnel mucking and timbering. Byron began to scale the East tunnel and the last bits of the Dragon Tooth pocket. They had a full day. Byron and my parents set up a time for dinner.

We ventured back to the Mill Race for lunch and a change. Then we drove over to Eggelston Gardens in the Tees valley. This is a truly wonderful garden/nursery. It was sunny and really hot. Needed hats and shade. That took until late afternoon. We then did a lightning trip to the Bowes Museum in Barnard Castle to look at the Swan, and whatever else we still had time for there. Then a leisurely trip up the valley and over Langdon Beck road to St. John's Chapel and the Golden Lion. We met up with Byron and headed for Allenhead, to the Allenhead Inn (the antique bar). Someone has put little figures in the tree in the parking lot. We spent about 10 minutes finding all of them. We then had a good look at the miasma of stuff in the bar. Had dinner and a leisurely drive home. It was a good day all around. Today we are all going to Durham. The cathedral and hopefully another garden. And maybe if we have been really good the Castle will be open. Byron and I have tried numerous times to get in, but it is seldom open. Maybe today.

Cheers, Byron and Jonina

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