June 19, 2002

Hi Crew:

The last time I looked it was Wednesday. Its already been a long week. Mind you it has been interesting.

Monday started with getting someone up to the quarry to fix the compressor. There was a bad connection to the solenoid, and the fuel filter was clogged. Byron also broke his top denture. So I had to find a place to fix that item. So...after a series of phone calls and getting Byron off to the quarry to meet the repair person, I went to Crook. A Mr. Clark fixes dentures. Has been doing this for fifty-three years. His son also does this. I took a book, assuming that this was going to be a wait and relatively boring. Turned out that Mr. Clark was very interested in history and was quite knowledgeable about local history. His repair shop is in an old Pub. He had, on hand, all of the old records for the ownership of the pub. He allowed me to crawl through these. Hand written in old script. The original owner didn't even know how to sign his own name, so he signed with an X. The writing is great.

Another man came in while I was there. It turned out these two had known each other quite some time. The other man was a former coal miner. So I got a blow by blow account of the coal mining history in Crook. I explained what I was doing in Weardale. Only 10-15 miles apart, but vastly different histories. I also learned anything and everything about the history and repair of dentures. No wonder my head is so full of extra facts. I spent four and half hours there, but never noticed it.

I then went to the mine and delivered the plate, and got a powder order. Then went to the Height's quarry for powder. Then to Stanhope and Fairless. It was five-fifteen by the time I got to the house. Finished off rocks and started dinner. Not a lot of energy left. Byron on the other hand was quite happy. He could eat again.

Yesterday, I worked on rocks with Rob and Sarah. I was supposed to get a call for more powder, but it never came. At five, I went shopping. I bought two avocados for dip. A little treat for us. It turned out that everything at the mine was fighting. The dump area had to be changed. That meant changing the hose and airline locations. On top of this a rock put a hole in the water pressure hose. Little things that kept slowing Byron and crew down. Finally got some of the holes drilled, but need to finish up this morning. I will get a call later today.

They now have a cell at the mine. But it is off unless they need to make a call. Saves the batteries. On Friday's it will come home for charging, and no doubt, cleaning. Byron is getting material out of the West Cross Cut and the Black Sheep Pocket. Nice material. He is going to see what the shots did to the East Face today. Was looking forward to it. He is revved up and chugging along. We are keeping up with him so far, but soon.....

Everyone take care and we will write soon.

Cheers,

Jonina and Byron.



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