Saturday, May 29, 2004

Good morning from Weardale.

Well, we finally have rain. It clouded over pretty good yesterday but never got around to a proper rain. That changed over night and right now it's coming down at a fair rate. Our landlords Bob and Mary keep a plethora of birds around here - chickens, peacocks, ducks, etc. The two former species are in hiding and mercifully silent this morning. The ducks however, being made for this sort of thing are taking advantage of the situation and scavenging the lawn for insects brought up by the water. Today's photo is of the dale in the rain. Likely a more typical scene than all those nice sunny photos you've been getting lately.

Yesterday was a pretty much a hurry up and wait sort of a day for Byron and Jonina. The compressor was scheduled for delivery some time in the morning, and someone from the rental company wanted to come by and have Jonina sign some paperwork. At the cottage, Jonina can busy herself with specimen cleaning but at the mine someone has to wait at the normally locked gate for the compressor to arrive. I spent the morning finishing up the month-end accounting work and e-mailed everything back home a bit after noon Weardale time. I then headed off to the mine to find that the compressor had just arrived ahead of me. This meant that Byron had been sitting at the gate waiting for about three hours. I think he forgot to bring a book to keep himself occupied. Maybe he had a good nap.

This year the delivery driver, unlike last year, came with a small vehicle so we got the compressor into the quarry with no bother and were set up quickly. After firing it up to make sure it worked okay we set off to moving rock again at our previously chosen spots in the mine. By around 1730 Byron had accumulated a couple tubs worth of material from his ever-expanding excavation along the northwest tunnel. My dig in the northeast cross cut is still being a tease. After about three hours of moving rock and mud I now have seams of bright green fluorite exposed on two levels of the face. Still coming out in bits, however. I think for Byron's two tubs worth I got two pieces that might qualify as true specimens and not aquarium gravel. After consulting our mine map the other evening, I am pretty sure the face where I'm digging is on the southwestern edge of the Solstice/Birthday pocket zone. I know that fortune and glory are just behind the next rock, I can feel it! Especially at the end of the day.

The house chef was tired of cooking so we all went for dinner at the Allenheads Inn. This is the place with all the "stuff" hanging on every available surface - old tools, carvings, mining artifacts, musical instruments, women's shoes, old advertisements. You get the picture. Upon arriving Byron noticed that the place was looking rather sparse compared to last year and was lamenting the disappearance some of his favorite items. It turns out that the landlord, who took over a couple of years ago is slowly getting around to cleaning the years of accumulated grime off all the stuff and assured Byron that most will be back soon. Had a nice steak pie and a couple pints of Black Sheep and got everyone back to bed at a reasonable hour.

Today Dave will be coming in to the mine for a few hours to start his summer job. With the compressor in we can use the drills and Eimco so we might do a little mechanized mucking in a couple interesting spots.

Until tomorrow….


Jesse, Byron and Jonina

A rainy day in the dale.

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