August 31, 2002
Good Morning All:
Yesterday it rained for a good part of the day, but this morning is cool, clear and a bit breezy. Perhaps the St. John's Chapel show will have a good day after all.
Spent most of the day at the cottage with visitors yesterday - along with waiting for some who didn't make it. Peter Briscoe and David Green showed up around 11:30 and after some coffee began that serious quest for the perfect specimen. With the dedication only true collectors can muster, they must have looked at hundreds of specimens and finally came up with a short list. After I priced the pieces Peter then made his final selection, final haggling ensued, and money and specimens changed hands. David, unfortunately, was searching for the "perfect piece" which never quite materialized. As we have much stock that had already been wrapped and boxed before I got here, I promised that I would continue the search for him.
David and Peter also publish the excellent British mineral magazine "UK Journal of Mines". The most recent issue was on minerals of Northern England, and as a follow-up it seems that they would like an update of the Rogerley article I did for Rocks & Minerals a few years ago. As the next issue will not be out before the end of the year, I should have some time to work on it this fall. We spent some time looking at my digital mineral photos, and David decided that the resolution should be sufficient for most of what is needed in the Journal. This is a good thing (insider stock trading aside) as it is virtually impossible to capture the true color of most Weardale fluorite on traditional photographic film - perhaps due to the intense fluorescence, which contributes to the perceived color under most lighting conditions. Anyway, digital does a much better job so it will be nice to get some true-color photos of our fluorite published.
Peter and David had another appointment to make so headed off about 3:30. Another dealer from down London way had called earlier in the day to see if he could stop by. Made an appointment for 4:00, but for some reason I never quite understood he didn't make it, though he called later to reschedule for this morning. As the next appointment wasn't until 7:30 with David Rennison, Jonina and I decided around 5:30 to get out of the house for a bit and went down to the Golden Lion. Things were gearing up for the village show and a few of the "spin-n-barf" rides were open, along with the requisite shrieking children and teens. Was barely into the first pint when David walks in. Seems he was on his way back from supplying a customer in Glasgow and made unusually good time on the motorway. I mentioned that being this early for an appointment must be some sort of a record for him. We all adjourned to the Mine House to - you got it! - look at more specimens.
Byron pulled in from the mine about that time and after getting his first beer for the evening motioned for me to have a look in the front seat of the Peugot. Resting gently in the seat was a large plate covered with gem fluorite twins. Evidently he had gone back into the Dipper cavity in the east tunnel and pulled this out. After a little bit, he said in his understated way "You know, there's a problem now". "What's that?" I replied, thinking that maybe the roof had come down in the pocket or some such thing. "There's a better one behind where this one came from", he said. Guess we're not through collecting yet.
David purchased a few more specimens and left a cheque for those and a previous purchase and promised he'd be back for more next week. I then fixed a quick dinner for everyone, and Jonina - who I think may be fighting the same viral crud I have - headed for bed.
Today I am on tour duty again with a couple museum curators from the US. They're over for the International Mineralogical Association conference in Edinburgh and have a free day before the conference begins. Will meet them at noon in Wolsingham and take things from there. Byron is planning a clean-up day at the mine and Jonina has the processing crew here at the cottage again today.
Today's photo is of Byron with his latest catch.
Jesse, Byron and Jonina