July 23, 2002

Greetings All,

Tuesday was a rainy, windy and warm day, because of the overcast it was nearly 8:00 a.m. before Kerith started stirring and 9:30 before she finished a long soaking bath and another 40 minutes before she finished her back exercises. So, I spent my time reading the "Geology of the Northern Pennine Orefield" a well written tome written by a very observant geologist.

About 10 I mailed a box of thumbnails to our wholesale distributor, Stan Esbenshade. Always a trying experience when Maxine the postmistress is not there and her substitute is in. At any rate we got off to the Mine House about 10:15 and made arrangements from there with the assistant supervisor, Gordon, at the Height's Quarry aggregate operations to spend a few hours collecting pyrite/marcasite nodules starting around 2 in the afternoon. We then took off Alistair Ward's lumber mill. They are closed for two weeks holiday for everyone but I had spoken to Alistair earlier in the morning about Byron and Dave checking out the rail, sleepers and points he has stockpiled from the old experimental mine that was in the quarry floor. We got there just after the guys had left inspecting the hoard, turns out the point and sleepers will probably work but the rail is too heavy for us to bend easily and we are at a point in the mine where we are bending rail into the Birthday Pocket zone. We saw Alistair and Kerith gave him a batch of truck and 4 wheel magazines she had been saving and we made arrangements of him and his sons, Harry and James (six and four respectively)to come up for a tour of the mine about 3:30pm -- which meant cutting it close on the collecting at the Heights Quarry.

We made an inspection of the mine, prepared an area for collecting by Alistair and his sons, inspected Monday's blast and washed a few sacks of thumbnails on screen, then took off for Stanhope and the Durham Dales Center to see Marie Land at Gemcraft and start making plans to get together later on; on to the Heights Quarry and met Jonina and Sarah who came with a bucket, a G-pick and excitement. Gordon ran us in shifts up the the 'pyrite face' and there were nodules, some a blue and green iridescence, laying about and protruding from a shale band under the limestone, given time you could have collected scads of them. It was fun but Kerith and I had to cut it short and dash back to the Rogerley mine. We got there and suited up and promptly at 3:30 Alistair and the older boy, Harry, arrived. James and elected not to come but Harry had been to Killhope and on its mine tour about a week earlier so he was excited - if a bit shy. Kerith made him feel right at home, we got his a had and a portable caving light since he was too small to handle the normal battery pack; Alistair put on a battery and helmet but elected not to put on the bright yellow and orange heavy duty mine outfits. Enough to say Harry had a good time and both he and Alistair would like to come back. Alistair and I had some very good conversations and he said the boys are welcome to take whatever they want of the rail etc., cut it up or do what they like with it, its a gift. By this time it was nearly 5:30, but still quite a bit of light outside though still blustery with the occasional bits of hard rain so we elected to go home.

This morning it has started bright, sunny with a light breeze and already warm. The whole crew goes to the mine today to pack and sort specimens and do some sawing up of the larger bits.

That all, Cal

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