September 7, 2002

Good Morning All:

Yesterday started out nice and sunny, but by mid-afternoon we had pouring rain. By evening it was sunny and clear again. I suspect it may be much the same today - business as usual in Weardale.

Yesterday was close-up at the mine and a final day of wrapping and packing specimens here at the Mine House. David Rennison stopped by to pick up the 400+ kg of low end specimens we are leaving with him, and have a last look at what was on the processing tables. He picked out two nice plates and promised the money by next Monday. The poor fellow is like a kid in a candy shop when confronted with so much fluorite. He says on one hand that he'll be glad when we're gone as it will keep him from temptation, but on the other will miss us as soon as he sells the ones he has purchased because he'll then want more.

After David left, I headed to the mine to help Byron with close-up. I never realized just how many hoses we have that need to be coiled and hung in the drifts. The experience is only enhanced by the fact that everything is covered with mud. Eventually everything got stowed in the right places, tools and equipment cleaned, and the trash taken out. The only chore left is to pull the water line for the winter. After finishing up with chores, I got out the tape and Brunton and with Byron's assistance, surveyed the new workings in order to update the mine map.

Last night we had dinner with our landlords Bob and Mary Coates at the Cowshill Hotel. The place is a real "time-warp" and looks as if it hasn't changed much in at least 50 years. I understand that the landlord passed away a couple of years ago and his wife, who still runs the place is slowing down a bit and only serves meals on weekends anymore. The food, though relatively old-style cooking was excellent and I am told that she prepares everything by hand.

Got in late and was greeted by a cloudless sky full of stars. Living most of the time in a well-lit metropolitan area, I forget how impressive the night sky can be on a clear night far from city lights.

Today is packing day for everyone's personal stuff here at the cottage. Byron and Jonina are continuing on to France, Germany and Austria with Bill for a bit of a vacation, so are shipping most of their things back in the container. I've got one last tour group from Beamish Museum today at noon, and a few things from the cottage, such as the table saw to be taken to the mine for storage. Tonight we are having dinner at the Mill Race with Dave and Sandra, who are just back from a week's holiday on Minorca.

I haven't found time to take to many photos lately so today's is a view of the old Blackett level portal in Allendale from the archives.


Jesse, Byron and Jonina

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