September 10, 2002

Good Morning All:

In keeping with load-out day tradition, it poured down rain yesterday. Fortunately for us, it waited until we had arrived at the shipping terminal with the load. As a result, we are shipping back only minimal amounts of extra water this year. The rain came down all afternoon, sometimes in sheets. This morning is partially cloudy and very windy. Bits of clouds are racing through the Dale from the west.

David Featherstone showed up with the truck a little before 9AM and with the two Daves, Rob, Byron and myself we had the entire summer's production (minus what we have sold here already) loaded on the truck in about an hour. Byron and I followed the truck to the transfer terminal in Durham. Just as we pulled into the yard the rains cut loose. Fortunately there was a forklift operator available and we got the palates quickly unloaded into the warehouse. Also fortunate this year was the fact that they remembered us from last year so we didn't have to go through the "who are you and what do you want" routine this time around. Byron and I went out foraging for some lunch and got back to see the container show up promptly at 2pm, as scheduled. Fifteen minutes later it was loaded, sealed, and on its way. I guess we're officially done for the season.

Stopped at the Mill Race for a beer on the way back and watched the rain pour down. It seemed to break around 4:30 so we headed back up the Dale taking care to avoid the numerous small lakes that had developed in low spots in the road. Upon arriving at the cottage, we found that Jonina had begun our end of season cleaning frenzy at the cottage, and after continuing this today we will hopefully leave Bob and Mary with a somewhat orderly guest house.

David Rennison stopped by for one last time around 6pm to drop off a check. He had also just received a parcel of faceted fluorites from his cutter. Most of these were from a lot of Rogerley fluorite he had taken this summer. The quality of the stones, on first inspection looked very good and as per agreement he kept half of them for the cost of the cutting.

We were invited up to Jeremy and Phillippa's place for one last visit so headed up the hill through the fog and mist to Allercleugh around 7:30. Jeremy has made some serious progress this summer toward the build-out of the rest of their farmhouse, and after a tour of the proceedings everyone got down to drinks, snacks, and serious discussion of the world's problems. Around 11pm everyone decided that we had solved about as many of them as we were going to that evening, so we headed back down the hill.

Today will be final clean-up of the cottage, and saying our goodbyes to everyone here in the Dale. Tomorrow morning we head for London. I return to California on Thursday, and Byron and Jonina continue on to Paris on Saturday where they will meet up with Bill and have a couple weeks of traveling through France, Germany and Austria.

Our last photo is of the truck loaded with the year's produce and ready to go. Guess that's all from Weardale this year. It's been a good one. Hope to see everyone back state-side.


Jesse, Byron and Jonina

That's all folks!

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