Tuesday, August 28, 2001
The weather here has been absolutely marvelous the past few days - cool and clear. Today is dawning bright and cloudless. This has been the good news.
Yesterday began with my internet software (dear AOL) crashing on my computer. Fortunately we still have Jonina's to send and receive e-mails. They may not be as regular as I had planned though. This also means that my e-mail address book is inaccessible, so I will be sending these to only the addresses I can remember. Please forward to any interested parties.
After giving up on my computer, Joan and I went up to Little Allercleugh to help with cleaning and packing. There were three more confirmed cases of foot and mouth disease in nearby Northumberland on Sunday and another three yesterday, so all footpaths are now again closed, and we must disinfect boots and car tires to enter the property. By mid day I had managed to clean and pack a flat's worth of specimens to be hand carried back. Jonina had some errands to run, and Joan decided to go with her, so I helped them carry stuff out to the car, which was parked down the road, off property.
I then headed off to the mine with the intention of helping Byron saw and wrap some of the final specimens of the season. Upon arriving I found a very silent crew standing around the hydraulic power unit, which had picked the most inopportune time to die. After watching over Dave's shoulder for a while and offering words of encouragement, I decided to do something useful and set about hunting down piles of specimens which had been left scattered about the mine. Byron did the same and shortly we had several more tubs of specimens awaiting transport. It looked like Dave may have fixed the problem, but the battery had been too worn down to start the unit. Oh well.
Had a strategy meeting at the pub that evening and decided that it might be a good idea to move our fluorite down to the village, rather than have to deal with disinfecting the haulage truck - something we would have to do if we loaded it at Little Allercleugh as we did last year. Isabelle kindly offered us storage space at her other pub, The King's Head, which is currently closed (and for sale should anyone be interested), so Byron and I headed up to the cottage and loaded as many boxes of fluorite into our two cars as we could. The poor little Peugeot was riding very low under the load. Joan had gone back to our cottage, the Mine House and started dinner for everyone. We finished the first transfer about 2030 and took a dinner break. There was talk about making another run after dinner, but a glass of wine convinced everyone that it would be better to wait until morning.
Today we will continue the mass move of our fluorite from LA to the pub. Dave will bring his van, so hopefully this won't take long.
Stay tuned for more,
Jesse and the Crew