Saturday, June 1, 2002

Good Morning:

Not raining this morning. I can even see some blue sky. I'll try not to read too much into this, however. Yesterday turned out to be a fairly nice, but windy day. Windy days are actually quite useful here in Weardale as they are the only thing that seems to dry the place out a bit. If you're coming out of the mine all wet and muddy you can get rather cold in the process, though, thanks to the marvelous heat capacity of water.

Byron and I spent the day at the mine and succeeded in collecting a good bit of material from both the east face and the West Cross Cut. A few good specimens were had, but mostly wholesale grade. While in my support role as specimen wrapper I initiated a policy of "extreme sorting" - anything that appears to be aesthetically challenged stays in a pile for retrieval by the Killhope volunteers. While speaking with Pam Forbes I offered to put the stuff in tubs and occasionally deliver it up the Dale. She said that just wouldn't do, as the volunteers were fighting with each other over who gets to come to the mine and pick the stuff up. So there it stays.

The compressor was delivered around noon, though I later found out from Jonina that the driver tried to deliver it to the Mine House before actually getting it to the mine. Byron hooked up, fired it up to make sure it worked, and then went back to collecting. Good thing Dave starts on Monday, both the east face and West Cross Cut need to be mucked and blasted before much more work can be done. No word from Lofty yet, however.

On the way back from the mine, Byron and I stopped in at the Grey Bull for a pint of Black Sheep and ran into Isabelle's daughter Victoria, who is now living in Stanhope. She was quite keen to see Jonina, so we promised to have her get in touch. After arriving back at the cottage Jonina wanted to see her immediately, so off we went back down the Dale to the Grey Bull again.

This weekend is the Queen's Golden Jubilee and a national holiday. I understand that all sorts of celebration events are happening all over. Weardale is a heavily working-class area and perpetually depressed economically, so it seems that Royalist sentiment is (understandably) low around here. A few events seem to be planned, though, including a sheep fair in Eastgate, and a costume weekend at Killhope. There's also some sort of Northumbrian music festival on with live music up in Allendale this evening. I think the troops are up for checking this out, so we'll likely head up there this afternoon. I'm sure Byron will want to go to the mine first, however.

Today's photo is of Byron and a new toy.


Jesse, Byron and Jonina

Byron fitting a lock to the compressor.

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