July 9, 2001

Good morning to all. This morning dawns bright and clear, with a few scattered clouds and a light breeze here in the Dale. Yesterday remained overcast and cool, but we had no rain, so things for the moment remain dry.

Sunday is the official goof-off day here, so no real work was planned. I washed and boxed specimens for a couple of hours in the morning, just to help nudge the process along - all be it, a fractional increment at best. Byron relocated himself from the kitchen table to the living room and became absorbed in a book.

Lindsay and Patricia showed up for a visit around 1230. After having a look at our recent produce, we retired inside for coffee and a chat. They had, of course, brought a few minerals with them to show off, including a very nice cluster of sky blue fluorite with associated dolomite and hematite from the Egremont area of Cumbria, and a finger sized stalactite which was coated with pale lavender fluorites and shiny black sphalerites, which was from the Beaumont Mine at Allenheads. Both were quite nice. It is interesting to see a fluorite-coated stalactite from another local mine. It seems that they do occur on rare occasion, but are fairly rare overall.

After a couple of hours, Lindsay and Patricia headed off for their next appointment, and I gave Dave Rennison a call. We were originally planning on meeting up here at the cottage after he got back from Barnard Castle in the evening, but he is going away on a family vacation for a week, and it became obvious that he had far to many things to do to make the appointment. So instead, I hopped in the car and took a drive over the moors to see him at the shop. When I arrived, a couple of collector friends were at the shop, showing off some specimens. David was under the impression that the minerals were being offered for sale, but when I enquired about one, the young fellow who had the lot seemed reluctant to part with any. When his companion reminded him that the MOT (local version of the annual vehicle inspection and registration) was due on his car, I guess he decided that making a few quid might be a good thing. At any rate, I soon had a very nice Heights mine fluorite - galena combo, and he had enough money for his registration, and perhaps some petrol on top of it.

While discussion the transaction, the fellow expressed remorse that so many good English specimens are going to America. I offered to trade him some good American fluorites, but he said he was only interested in English minerals. Collectors here seem to be a very parochial bunch, and I have yet to meet anyone who has an interest in minerals that come from elsewhere. With the closure of almost all the mines, the supply of English minerals has dwindled to almost nothing, and with the exception of a few ardent field collectors who brave security guards and jump fences at night, most seem to hover on the chance of buying and selling old collections. Perhaps this explains why every English mineral show I have ever been to has seemed a paltry affair compared to those in the US and the rest of western Europe. Seems a pity, as it is hard to keep a community of collectors going when the supply of minerals is continually dwindling.

Made a quick stop to see Bob and Mary Coats on the way back, and confirm the cottage rental for August. When I returned to Little Allercleugh, Byron was still engrossed in his book, and looked like he hadn't moved since I had left. He assured me that he had gotten up to get a beer at some point. Couldn't get him interested in going someplace for dinner, so I had my favorite dinner substitute - Stilton and Scottish oat crackers. I finally managed to get him out the door for a quick visit to the Golden Lion, where we found the usual cast of characters assembled for what seemed a fairly lively Sunday evening.

Today's picture postcard is of a profusion of flowers now appearing in the quarry. With the recent warm weather, the quarry is now in full bloom, and the photo shows only a small portion of the display. In another area I recently found a patch of literally hundreds of the wild orchids that reside here. If nothing newsworthy happens today, perhaps I'll send that photo tomorrow.

Stay tuned for more….


Jesse and the Crew

The flower display in part of the quarry.

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