July 18, 2001
Greetings finally from the far north:
Having the convenience of a small local server in Fallbrook begins to pale when you try and get an internet connection in the remote reaches of northern England.
The weather here has been somewhat formidable with lots of wind and temperatures approaching the 14C or low 60's. Kerith and I are settling into the new cottage, Burnbrae, and the only possible problem with it is the three different levels upstairs between the bed and the bathroom which may guarantee a hearing something go bump in the middle of the night.
I arrived to find that the compressor at the Rogerley mine was down for the count and a new one was to be delivered shortly, in local terms that was three days later but we've another one and mining goes forward. The last blast on Monday ended up showing a seam of green fluorite about 8' across in the newer eastern tunnel and about a 3' seam of green fluorite in the western tunnel. Jonina and I spent the day cleaning and sawing fluorites and went, with Kerith, to the Golden Lion pub about 6:00 p.m. for a beer and to await Byron to hear the day's news from the mine. Byron had spent the day in the eastern tunnel working the seam and had perhaps the single best specimen the mine has produced to date, a 1' plate covered with gem lustrous cubes and twins to about 1 1/4", a few other fine smaller pieces were had but these will have to await removal from the buckets for cleaning.
Earlier in the day, Kerith and I had driven over to the Killhope Lead Mining Museum for the official opening of the spar box exhibition. About 40 Victorian and modern spar boxes with mining scenes and fanciful depictions of using various local minerals - fluorite, calcite, quartz, barite and hematite. A truly wonderful exhibition.
Tomorrow, Dave and Liz Hacker are coming by for a brief tour of the mine in the morning which we are looking forward to in a big way to see what the area Byron has been picking at looks like. It is also Kerith's birthday so we are planning the night out at the old 12th century Stanhope Old Hall restaurant.
That's it from this place somewhere way north of Lake Woebegone.
Regards, Cal & Kerith