August 26, 2002

Good Morning All:

Monday morning, a bank holiday weekend here, but a workday as usual for us Americans. Dawns cloudy as usual, but I know it was clear for a while last night as a near-full moon was shining brightly through my window.

Saturday morning Cal and Kerith stopped by on their way out. They were headed to a small mineral show in Harrogate and planning on playing tourist for a few days before flying back to California. For us it was a clean-up day at the mine. There were a lot of accumulated specimens lying around the tunnels that needed attention before any more collecting or tunneling can be done. Jonina and Sarah spent most the day wrapping specimens on the landing while I went searching for the big ones and carried them out for Byron to saw. Fortunately, it got rather sunny and warm as the day progressed, to the point that the water spray from the saw was actually pleasant. By mid-afternoon Jonina and Sarah had filled about 25 tubs with wrapped specimens and decided to take off back up the Dale. Something about Sarah wanting to see her boyfriend for at least a little bit on a holiday weekend. Byron and I stayed and continued sawing up the big ones, and by 5pm had accumulated a fair collection of smaller but still large plates. Everything fit into the back of the little Peugot - just barely - but it sure gave the suspension a work-out. Byron took it real slow driving back up the Dale.

Stopped by the Golden Lion to say hello to everyone on the way back to the cottage. Evidently business is slowly coming back after the foot and mouth disease epidemic last year, and there's even talk of reopening the St. John's livestock market. Got back to the cottage and found David Rennison looking over some of the recent material in the garage. He had already picked out some specimens for purchase, but fell for a large specimen we had in back of the car. It was one of those large rocks that was coated on several sides with fluorite crystals, giving no easy way to carve it up. Byron and I decided to leave it as-is, even though these large ones can be difficult to sell back home. Glad it went to a good home.

Yesterday was bit of a goof-off day. Dave showed up at around 9am and he, Byron and I went exploring along one of the old Greenlaws tunnels behind the Mine House here. I believe the tunnel dates from the mid-19th century, and like many of the old mine entrances in the area the tunnel had been arched with stones for a good way in from the portal. This one was still in fairly good condition. The tunnel had been driven right along a vein, but from what I could tell, it was fairly poor grade. Unfortunately, there was a collapse several hundred meters in, so we didn't get to see too much. I was amazed at how much work had been done to follow a vein that looked so poor, though. I guess if skilled labor is cheap and plentiful enough someone may have made some money from it.

After emerging from our expedition we had coffee with our landlords, Bob and Mary, and Dave got into telling old mining stories. It's a shame very few people ever take the time to write these things down. After getting cleaned up, Byron went off to the quarry on a hunt for Frosterley marble - an attractive black fossilifferous limestone that occurs at a certain horizon in the quarry. Jonina and I decided to take a drive down through the scenic North Yorkshire Dales and ended up at the Black Sheep Brewery. I stocked up on beer and Jonina purchased some sheep-related gifts for folks back home. Everyone converged back at the cottage around 7pm and I put together a quick dinner.

Today is a shopping day for Jonina. She was originally planning on a Safeway run to Consett but Mary showed up at the door a bit ago looking like she desperately needed to get away from the house for a bit, so the both of them just left for the Costco in Gateshead. Who knows what they'll come back with. At the mine it will be another clean-up day. Both the east and west faces can use some more mucking out. Byron also wants to spend some time at the new west cross cut, which needs to be shot and stabilized. I am meeting Dmitiry Belikovsky, a curator from the Fersman Museum in Moscow today for a mine tour.

Today's photo is of Jonina enjoying a rare sunny moment at the mine.


Jesse, Byron and Jonina

What's that bright yellow thing???.

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