Tuesday, September 4, 2001
The shipping container is full and the bank account is empty - okay, almost. The mine has been closed down and the cottage cleaned up - well, at least the garage. Things are pretty much wrapped up in Weardale for our third and hopefully most successful season. Byron and Jonina are both dead tired and looking forward to going home, but everyone is still speaking to each other (though sometimes with slightly raised voices), so I take this as a good sign.
Joan and I put some of the summer's specimens on display this past weekend at the annual Killhope mineral exhibition. For those who haven't been to this, every year on the first weekend in September Killhope puts on a display of minerals exclusively from the Northern Pennines. The star of the show is, of course fluorite, and there were some nice ones. It is also a competitive competition with trophies awarded, and draws collectors from all over England. Though small there are no dealers, only displays of personal collections and this is perhaps the best assemblage of minerals from the area to be seen outside the British Museum of Natural History. It is also a god place to meet local collectors and catch up on all manner of gossip (as are most mineral shows).
Yesterday I drove Joan down to London for her return flight to San Francisco, and upon arriving back in the Dale, found the little white Peugot parked in it's now familiar spot at the Golden Lion. Met up with Byron and Jonina, had a quick pint to erase the memory of a long drive, and headed down the Dale to the Mill Race for one last session of Whitby Cod. Met up with Mary and Denis, who were on the way out as Monday is their usual day off. Mary said they were going to let someone else cook for them that evening. Said our thank-yous and good byes, and Mary says to let everyone know that they are already taking reservations for Christmas dinner, in case anyone is interested.
Today Jonina plans on finishing up the cleaning at Little Allercleugh, and Byron and I are going over to Kendal. Byron is thinking about extending the West Cross Cut tunnel next year and wants to talk to Mick about the possibility of getting a slusher rather than trying to put in rail. There's also what is reported to be a very good second hand bookstore in the nearby village of Sedbergh. Byron has wanted to get there all summer, but hasn't because they are not open on weekends.
Tomorrow I drive the crew down to London. I will be flying back on Thursday with a bag so full of rocks that will most likely exceed any carry-on weight limit known to man. They will be staying until Saturday for a few days of R&R. The big decision for them now is which museums are a priority.
Guess that's all for this year. See y'all States-side.
Jesse and the Crew