June 26, 2001

Hi Gang:

The Big Yellow thing is still hanging around, but thunder storms are due in behind it. Just my favorite weather ;>). For the record Jeremy (our landlord) and I are not fans of thunder and lightning. He and I had a discussion about this yesterday evening. Anyway it has been great here for the last few days. Hot enough that we are sleeping with the windows open. Which presents another problem. There are no screens on the windows here. So we have all manner of curious bugs and birds flitting about. At least the midges have not made an appearance. So we are happily breathing fresh air and enjoying ourselves. The one thing you learn here is to enjoy the minute, for the weather may change the next. There is a saying here about "if you don't like the weather now, just wait a minute and it will change". Keeps you on your toes. The sheep are even lazy.

Byron finished prepping and cleaning up the East tunnel. It is now ready to drill and shoot. The guys laid a twenty-foot section of track in the West tunnel. This pretty much filled their day. Many tubs of minerals in the garage. I had errands to run yesterday. They took a whole lot longer than expected. I got behind a slow moving white car in St. John's Chapel. I was behind it all the way to Consett. It was tooling along at about thirty. Which is slow, on a long straight open road. Unfortunately, there were enough cars coming the opposite direction that I couldn't get around her. So I sat back and enjoyed the drive. Everyone was out for a drive. Because of a the Foot and Mouth, the lawn chair brigade was not in its usual spots. In the past, whenever there was a good day, I would find a row of cars with people in lawn chairs up on the fells, all in a row, facing the sun. This year the cars are all in motion. To make things really strange the sheep were actually staying off the road and sleeping in the grass. Too hot for them to even eat. Big white meadow muffins all over. If you don't shear a sheep and the weather gets hot, combined with the wool getting too long, a sheep will begin to 'throw' its wool. Meaning that it becomes self shearing. You frequently see 'tatty' sheep on the fells. Yesterday I saw one that for some reason had a long trail. The wool had begun at the front and was unraveling to the back. Had about a ten foot length behind it. I had to stop and look. It looked like a bride with a long train. Its lamb kept playing with the trail. Momma was getting quite annoyed. Was rolling around trying to dislodge the trail of wool. I imagine that it would be quite a bit cooler with out all that wool.

I have discovered a difference in marketing between the US and the UK. In the US we seldom see a supermarket completely rearranged. Here they seem to do it quite regularly. And in this weeks case they are completely redoing it. My first clue should have been when I went to the beer aisle and there was only wine and hard alcohol. This lady and I stood there laughing and looking perplexed. All of the beer had disappeared. We both found the beer and ventured on to find out what else had been moved. Safeway has this habit of occasionally rearranging areas of the store. My one hour shopping trip took one and a half. They had taken all of the soda cans and pulled them. The only thing in place was the vegetable aisle. Everything else had been swapped. The stocking ladies said that in some cases they had moved things numerous times in the last few days. A bunch of 'experts' with clipboards were running around getting peoples opinions of the moves. One made the mistake of asking me what I thought. I told her that if I could go elsewhere I would. And a few other things. This lead to a discussion about marketing differences. Apparently, here they market towards impulse buys. That appears to be a big part of their marketing share. I asked if they had tried the other method of 'convenience'. "No...Why would that be important?". That was enough for me. Gave me a great laugh, and I am sure that she was regretting asking me my opinion.

Off to Middleton Forge, which sells everything. I had to exchange a part that was wrong. Got the whole 'Who are you? What are you doing?' bit from the counter man. On to Fairless' for more parts and a talk with Kristine (Mrs. Fairless). Her son had an accident a few weeks ago, so I was checking in on him. Finally, on to the house. Got a lot done in the garage. Jeremy came over for a brief chat, and then I finished up about the time Byron surfaced. All in all a great day, if not a bit odd.

Cheers, Byron and Jonina

Dave and Lofty heading home after another day at the mine. Notice the sunny weather.

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