August 24, 2002

Good Morning All:

Once again, reporting live from the North Pennines England, where the men are men, the sheep are scared, and it rains a lot. Well, sort-of. It does rain a lot.

The flight over was relatively uneventful - the best type - other than some truely awful airline food, a shreaking infant a few rows away, and a neighbor who was large enough to fill a business class seat, but was stuck in coach next to me. Remember the days when airline travel was an adventure in itself? These days I think it's more of an indurance test, but at least it works. After waiting through an endless line at the Heathrow immigration control I figured that it was late enough on a friday morning that I would be sitting in the monstrous London commute traffic that usually turns the M25 motorway into one of the world's largest parking lots. No such luck! I sailed right through and made it to Weardale in a record four hours. I knew I had truely arrived in The North as it started to rain as I got off the motorway at Darlington and headed into the Dale. Everyone assures me, however, that the weather was quite nice until yesterday.

Made a quick stop at the mine and got an update from Byron on what had happened since I was here last, in June. Two different areas have been continuously productive - the east tunnel extending from last summer's Birthday pocket, and the recently discovered flats on the west side of the vein. As of two days ago, the crew had joined the eastern tunnel with the rear of last year's Solstice pocket, hitting it dead on. The east tunnel now makes a big loop, splitting from the main tunnel near the entrance, heading through the eastern flats, and rejoining the main tunnel to the north. The new West Cross Cut tunnel has been truned into a loop also and has joined with the first West Cross Cut from late last summer. Good specimens are showing in both areas, and many more are lying about in the tunnels waiting to be trimmed and wrapped.

Drove up the Dale to the cottage and found Jonina, Sarah and Rob hard at work processing specimens. The inside of the cottage is now a storage area filled with wrapped and boxed fluorite. The floor was covered with dozens more specimens that were being packed. Today's photo is an action shot of Jonina and Sarah.

The time change finally caught up with me, forcing a nap, but got up in time to catch Cal and Kerith, who are leaving this morning. Talked over the summer's events and what we need to do here in the home stretch. Everyone went out to the Cross Keys for dinner, and Cal, Byron and I stopped by the Golden Lion so Cal could say goodbye to Isabelle. Sad news there - Badger, the big friendly chocolate Lab, who was always there spread out on the carpet developed cancer and had to be put down.

I managed to get a bit of sleep last night, but these 8-hour time zone adjustments always take a while. This is the fourth time I've done it this summer, so you would think I'd have the routine down by now. On today's adjenda is a a lot of sawing and wrapping of specimens at the mine, so I guess I better dig out my mine clothes (the levi's anyone else would have thrown out by now) and get suited up.

Cheers,

Jesse, Byron and Jonina



Jonina and Sarah in a specimen-wrapping frenzy.

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