July 17th, 2001

Dear Gang:

It is a cool blustery day in the great north. All of us are a bit tired this morning. I'll explain later.

Byron worked on the East tunnel face in the morning. There is a green stripe on the face of the east tunnel, and according to Dave it extends to the east side of that tunnel, as well. The green on the West tunnel is not producing much, but is continuing, The Solstice is pinching down, but not dead yet. Cal mucked some of the Black Sheep and looked around with Byron. Dave and Lofty mucked most of the East Tunnel. Will finish up today there and then start the west tunnel. They also moved the pipes and hoses across from the Black Sheep pocket. We are putting an exploratory tunnel in, out on to the West flats. Waiting for a new compressor to be brought in today, then back to work as usual.

I worked in the garage all day. Cal and Kerith found me a small folding table. It is now impacted with rock. The table that Byron built me is also covered and the shelves are full. This is going to be a busy summer. But I have plenty of help coming through. My lamb came over and checked me out a few times yesterday. I guess that he is going to be Wallace. Can't get too attached, he is going to be fattened up and eaten. At least I won't be eating him. He is a very late lamb, that was bottle fed. He keeps chewing on my pants and then wondering off. He is slowly becoming a normal lamb. I don't encourage him, but enjoy seeing him. He likes his ears scratched. But would not be good for him to be too socialized. So I keep my distance. And for those who know me, this is hard.

Anyway we had a great adventure last night. Byron, Cal, Kerith and I were invited to go with some of the Killhope guides to a mine in Nenthead to take a night tour. It was really exciting. It wasn't a trip for the faint hearted. The guide kept saying, here is a bit of a squeeze, but no problem. It is amazing to think that men and horses actually were going through these tunnels. We had areas that we crawled through and many areas that had collapsed and required going around. There were stone arches that had been painstakingly built, and then 'deads' piled up on top of them. Giving the miners areas to put dead rock, while still being able continue forward. It was very wet and drippy in places, and others were bone dry. We were commenting that we are all used to mines being cool. We had all worn thick clothing, but it turned out to be quite warm. There were areas where the veins had been dug out, straight up for hundreds of feet. There is a room that is called the Ballroom Flats. It is a huge area that was carved out and dressed for an entertainment area. People come and bring candles. You light them and turn out your lights. It is eerie and neat at the same time. There was a ball held in this room in the 1800's. The women wore their dresses and were escorted in by the miners. Candelabras were placed about the room. Some of the lodges still meet here once a year. Everyone has signed their names in the book and on the walls. Even some from 1855. We then pulled through a really tight squeeze to see some old hoof and clog marks that were over 200 years old. People have tried to preserve what history there is in here. We crept out of the tunnels about three and half hours later. We were all tired, but happy. It was a really special opportunity. I appreciate the people from Killhope thinking to invite us.

So we are a bit tired, but happy. Talk to you all soon.


Jonina and Crew

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