August 30, 2002
Good Morning All:
Yesterday's weather ran the full spectrum from sunny and warm to overcast and drizzle. Looks like the latter bit has stayed with us through the night. This weekend is the annual St. John's Chapel show and I am told that it invariably rains for it. Guess it figures considering that this area is the birthplace of the Methodist church. Don't want folks getting carried away having too much fun!
Yesterday was the last full-crew day at the mine. Dave is leaving with his family on holiday for a week as of today so we decided to get all the equipment with the exception of the power unit for the saw stashed in the tunnel. This will allow Byron and I to saw up the numerous large specimens that remain scattered about the mine, as well as do some hand collecting in the Dipper - which is showing some nice stuff at the moment.
The crew spent the morning hauling timber and other bits up to the mine with the winch, and Dave and Andrew finished timbering the east face. Also on hand were two sets of rail points that Dave will install over winter, and the chassis he made for the hydraulic power unit. We quickly shifted the unit from its pad onto the chassis and are now able to wheel it about the mine. During the sunny spell mid-afternoon it occurred to me to get the crew together for the annual group photo, which you will find attached. Byron finished the day by collecting some more of last year's quartz pocket, getting some large bits to be donated to Bob and Mary's garden.
Had a couple impromptu visitors yesterday. One fellow, a collector from Cumbria showed up unannounced at the mine. After chatting a bit he ask if it would be possible to see some specimens. As we had little lying about the mine I gave him the number at the cottage and told him to call Jonina and see if she had time to show him some things. Jonina invited him over and he evidently spent most of the time denigrating our material and suggesting that, as foreigners we had no right to be here mining their specimens. Hope I remember him the next time he shows up asking to be shown around!
The second visitor was, thankfully, a pleasure. I received a call from this fellow the day before asking if he could stop by to see some specimens. Said he was a former collector who was in the area with his sons who were becoming interested in minerals. They were staying up the Dale at Cowshill for a couple days so I suggested we meet at the Golden Lion about 6:30. Had a good chat - evidently the fellow had spent a lot of time collecting in the Weardale area around twenty years ago and wanted to show his sons his old haunts. After a pint we adjourned to the cottage where the three of them quickly became thoroughly engrossed in examining the pile of specimens we currently had spread out on the garage table. The older of the two lads - I would guess late teens or so was particularly interested and soon they had picked out a number of things of interest. After a bit of haggling a price was agreed upon, money and specimens exchanged, and everyone seemed quite happy with their purchases. If time allows, I'll give them a quick tour of the mine this afternoon.
This morning I am expecting Peter Briscoe (a local collector/dealer) and David Green (University of Manchester Museum) around 11. Also need to go over some of the sales accounting with Jonina. Hopefully I'll get to the mine as well.
Jesse, Byron and Jonina
The official portrait for the year.