Monday, June 3, 2002

Good Morning:

We had a bit of a goof-off weekend here, and the weather cooperated for half of it. Saturday was about as nice and sunny as it gets here. Things are rather impacted at the mine and collecting will be difficult until some clean-up is done, so Byron was surprisingly amenable to doing something else. First stop was Stanhope for some "bits and bobs" at the DIY - electrical connectors, lock for the compressor, etc. We then stopped in to say hello to the folks at GemCraft, something one should always leave plenty of time for. John was tending shop, but Marie was in Durham, so the conversation didn't stretch out as long as it might have. Last February was their first visit to Tucson and it seams they can't wait to go again. John learned that he needed to update his business cards, though. While in Tucson he and Marie purchased a small lot of turquoise and silver jewelry thinking to have it shipped back home, and left their business card with the merchant. The mailing addresses in the Dale all include Bishop Auckland because it is the nearest major city and the postal distribution center for the area. What their card didn't include, however, was the country so their jewelry ended up being sent to Auckland New Zeland. When the error was discovered, the merchant promptly sent a replacement order, and the original one actually did make it's way to Bishop Auckland eventually. John said that they were able to sell both with no trouble, so all worked out well.

Next we headed up the Dale to see the new mineral display at Killhope. Small but very nice. Ian and Pam were not in so we left word with the staff that we were back and hope to catch up with them later. Drove up to Allenheads and had a nice leisurely lunch at the Allenheads in. Sat outside to take advantage of the weather and watched a local resident try to mow his lawn. He kept hitting rocks and killing the power mower. I think he finally gave up and went for a beer.

Made our way up to Allendale town where a village festival was in progress. There was a band from the Shetlands I wanted to hear, who were scheduled to play in the evening. When we arrived we found a karaoke contest in progress, but this (thankfully) ended soon. Other than that, the festival looked for the most part to be a bunch of tables selling nick-nacks, a few "spin-and-barf" type rides for the kids, and a large performance tent set up in the town square. The pubs on the square had set out a bunch of tables and chairs, which appeared the most popular attraction going. I suspect that the real purpose of the festival was to give the kids somewhere to play while the parents hung out at the pub on a nice day.

The music finally got under way, but we had to suffer through a seemingly unending opening act - a solo singer with electric guitar doing an odd assortment of songs, but mostly old pop songs from the 1970's of the sort that are best forgotten. The Shetland group "Drop the Box" finally came on and did a very good set of both original songs and traditional Shetland tunes. Had most of the crowd dancing by the time they finished. Ended up keeping Byron and Jonina out past their bedtimes, but I think they had a good time.

Yesterday was a social day, centered around a barbeque with our new landlords Bob and Mary. Bob is a retired geochemist and seems quite interested in what we are doing here, so we all had a good chat. As to the barbeque, about the time the fire got going it began to piss down rain, which continued all afternoon and into the evening. Trailer parks attract tornados and barbeques attract rain. By evening it had turned into a rather impressive lightning storm, which sent Jonina scurrying for cover. Actually, she turned on the TV loud enough to drown out most of the rumblings while Byron and I sat on the porch and watched the show for a bit.

Today will be back to chores - the garage for Jonina and cleaning up at the mine for Byron and I. Dave should be showing up today with our new gate. And yes, it's still raining. Today's photo demonstrates the joys of cooking al fresco in the north of England.


Jesse, Byron, and Jonina

Outdoors living in Northern England.

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