Sunday, June 6, 2004

Good morning from Weardale.

The weather cycle continues. The morning overcast yesterday gave way to a fine sunny North English day by early afternoon, and a clear lingering sunset. This morning the clouds are back. Hopefully the cycle will continue today as we have a barbeque scheduled this afternoon with out landlords Bob and Mary. If you are interested to see what often happens to folks in these parts who try to have an outdoor barbeque, please see the photo (posted on the UKMV website) that accompanies the daily report from June 3, 2002.

Yesterday morning Byron headed of to the mine first thing to do some more sawing, while I did the same here at the cottage. Jonina and Mary headed off for a volume shopping experience at the Gateshead Costco. Although I had planned on trying to reduce some of the larger specimens accumulating in the garage to more reasonable sizes, I actually spent most of the time trying to fit a new saw blade to the machine as the old one was worn unevenly and did a better job of vibrating the specimens apart than cutting them. We brought a new blade with us from California, but needless to say, fitting it to a British saw was a bit of a trick. Likely the result of the fact that, while the rest of the universe has long since gone metric, we still insist on manufacturing things in inches.

After finally triumphing over this small bit of mechanical adversity, I got a few things sawn, and then headed off to the mine to check on Byron. He had managed to be more productive with his saw than I had been with mine, and had accumulated several tubs of wrapped bits. After a lunch break we set to the northeast cross cut, where I had spent most of the past week digging. Byron went through the now considerable muck pile with the water hose, looking for single crystals and the occasional overlooked larger piece. I then loaded the mud and rock into a wheelbarrow and hauled it out. This went on for a few hours, but I'm not sure how much of a dent we made in the pile. Just before quitting for the afternoon, Byron took a bar to the fluorite seam I had been working on Friday and popped out the bonnie bit that is the subject of today's photo. Hopefully there will be more of these.

Back at the cottage, I decided I was too tired to even think of cooking. Jonina was still feeling a bit shaky from her brief but intense bout of the flu and just wanted to hide out, so Byron and I went down the dale to the Mill Race for dinner. Along with the usual Whitby Cod, we found an excellent Oxfordshire ale from the Hook Norton brewery on tap, so a good time was had by all.

Today is an official goof-off day here. There is a lecture up the dale at Killhope this morning on the minerals and geology of Weardale that we are thinking of attending. Afterwards we will have a hopefully dry barbecue back here at the Mine House. Tonight at a pub in Stanhope is the monthly meeting of the local folk music club that I hope to attend. One of the organizers has been sending me e-mails for the past two years about attending, and this is the first time that my schedule works out.

Until tomorrow….

Cheers,

Jesse, Byron and Jonina



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