August 8, 2001

Greetings from the wet and windy Pennines,

Today was about as wet and windy and dreary and ugly as you could ask for, in my estimation about as bad as the worst winter day I can ever recall in Fallbrook.

Kerith and I were up and ready to leave for Little Allercleugh about 9:30 a.m. after a quick trip down to the Post Office, we met cliff with his sheep collie on the way out and he was very pleased not to have to get up and get his seat wet on the the little open runabout he uses.

It was so dreary that Kerith and Ayla and Veronica stayed indoors and packed up specimens while I braved the saw and Jonina the watergun. Almost immediately the Krebs water gun crapped out and shortly thereafter the saw blade died. It takes nearly an hour to change saw blades. It is obvious that who ever designed the saw never used it or should be condemned to a purgatory of forever changing it - we both had bloody knuckles by the time it was over. There was no getting the watergun working so Jonina switched over to the larger Wagner watergun. I sawed for about three hours and managed to wade through all but three pieces and around 1:30 broke for lunch.

I offered to take the girls up to the mine for an afternoon of packing and pocket playing but they declined - actually the mine is quite pleasant underground and beats the heck out of the outdoors on a bad day.

I stopped in Stanhope on the way to the Rogerley at the hardware store to pick up a list of items Kerith needed; some things I needed to fix the Krebs and few things nobody really needs but you always get sucked into buying in places chock-a-block full of neato stuff.

After that I made a quick trip to the lumberyard to see Alistair Ward and thank him for saving us from tons of grief and another lost compressor day when he set one of his yard people up with a large forklift and move things around and get the dead compressor out of our way and the new rental in.

Finally, got to the Rogerley mine about 3:15 in the afternoon and suited up and immediately went underground and started collecting fluorites in the Black Sheep Pocket. Byron finally had to pry me out of there about 6:00 p.m. I was surrounded by specimens and had exposed several new layers of specimens. Only one outstanding specimen but dozens on nice thin plates of fluorite mixed with galena. I used a pry bar to move some of the bottom of the pocket around only to discover that the entire floor moved when I levered in a particular direction so there is more below us. Byron spent the afternoon collecting in the Birthday Pocket and had come up with several very choice pieces and Dave was busy on the chainsaw making littler specimens out of big ones.

Got back to Burnbrae about 6:30 and found there was a batch of Morris dancers in the town square and quickly grabbed Kerith and her camera for a few pictures. Turns out it was a touring group from Shropshire and they were hitting a lot of the little towns in County Durham. Sadly only about 10 people present but it was a brilliant performance by them. We then walked over to the Golden Lion and shortly were joined by Jonina, Ayla and Veronica and a host of locals taking refuge on a cold rainy evening. A very bright geologist working at one of the coal mines near Morpeth but living in Westgate came over to chat about our operation and we invited him to visit a truly small scale mine. The evening's excitement was provided by Andrew/Kerith and other pub members working in concert trying to get a photo of Ayla who was having none of it - even when there were four or more people trying to pin her down. A fun time, the only downer was Jonina informed me that the Wagner watergun died too and that the mail was full of a host of bills.

Tomorrow afternoon we go to pick up Paul and probably spend the morning working on waterguns and the saw.

That is all from this place way north of Lake Woebegone. Cal

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