Friday, August 20, 2004

Good morning from Weardale.

The weather - rain, rain, and then more rain. This is truly the wettest summer we've had here. Fortunately, it's not too cold - or hot for that matter. With this humidity it really gets uncomfortable when the temperature rises. The quarry has been quite a mud bowl since I've arrived and Byron tells me that at one point recently no one could even drive in because of high water in spots. He says he actually floated the little Peugot trying to get out one afternoon after a day of heavy rain. It poured down most of last night so it remains to be seen if we can drive in this morning.

After a quick morning tour for our Italian visitors Tuesday morning, Joan and I drove over the Kendal to visit with Lindsay and Patricia Greenbank. Lindsay's been somewhat house-bound with health problems this summer and seemed pleased to have some company. After looking at minerals and discussing the wonders of digital photography, we all had a very nice supper at a beautiful old Arts and Crafts era lodge overlooking a nearby lake. The weather behaved itself so the evening view was great. Wednesday we had a leisurely drive back through the Yorkshire Moors, but unfortunately found that a dusty old antiques shop in Middleton that Joan had enjoyed stopping at in the past has disappeared. On the way over the moors from Teesdale into Weardale the rains began and have been our almost constant companion since.

That evening we met up with out French collector friend Etienne, who had driven along with his wife and 2 year old daughter from Paris. Evidently the traffic around London was truly awful and the drive took much longer than it should have. When they finally arrived I told him that he had learned a lesson about travel in the UK - never try to drive through the London area on a weekday. After getting them settled in to their hotel we had a nice dinner, which seemed to quickly take the edge off their experience.

Yesterday was spent at the mine digging in various spots. Evidently, the opportunities to collect for one's self are quite limited in France, so Etienne was quite enthusiastic about wallowing in our mud and moving rocks around. Cal has been working at the face of our old friend the West Cross Cut for the past few days and uncovered a spot that is being quite productive. After taking off mid-afternoon Etienne took over and found several very nice pieces. Today's photo is of him enjoying himself. Despite the rain and mud his wife Lydia and young daughter had a good time hunting for wild flowers and collecting on the dump. Lydia came up with a nice large single twinned crystal.

Today we will all meet back at the mine for another day in the mud. Dave had been somewhat hampered recently because of a delay in our timber order. Without it he has not been able to drive much tunnel. Hopefully it will arrive soon, as the end of the season is now approaching.

Tomorrow Cal and Kerith are leaving for London then the flight back to California. I will also be taking Joan down for her trip home and then back up to Weardale for the last two weeks.

Stay tuned for more.

Cheers,

Jesse, Byron and Jonina



French mineral collector wallowing in mud!.

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