Wednesday, July 05, 2006

Greetings from Weardale.

Yesterday got quite warm for these parts, and today looks to be more of the same. 7 AM and hardly a cloud in the sky, aside from the persistent haze. Everything at the quarry has dried out nicely, and hardly a mud hole left to be found. The midge level seems to be down significantly, as well. Maybe the heat has cooked the little buggers.

Yesterday felt, for the most part, as if I were chasing my own tail. Lots of activity, but not sure if I accomplished anything, yet. First order of the day was to try and resolve the permitting issue, so called the Cumbria Constabulary, who we've dealt with in the past. Seems that the change of heart is, in fact, permanent, so we are now thrown at the mercy of Durham. After several calls to Durham, I finally reached the woman I has previously spoken with. Turns out that she had been in contact with Cumbria, and agreed to help expedite our application, despite the fellow in charge being away for a fortnight. I quickly filled it out, got Byron's signature, and dropped it in the mail. Hopefully, a major problem solved, but I've learned not to count on such things until the final paperwork is in hand. Placed our first order for packing materials in anticipation of having specimens to ship home, and headed to the mine around 1400.

The compressor was delivered as promised, and when I got there Dave had already begun his drilling campaign. Byron had put the chainsaw together and was busy hooking up all the lines to the newly resurrected hydraulic power unit. Everything fired up as is should, but halfway through trimming the first specimen, the fan belt on the diesel engine broke. I spent the rest of the afternoon in search of a new one. Finally was able to connect with John at Watson's Garage, who, after a phone call or two had one promised to us by this morning. Hopefully, that will be the end of this issue.

Simple dinner of grilled ham, cheese and leek sandwiches at the cottage, followed by a somewhat graphic and disturbing BBC documentary on the Battle of Culloden Moor. For those unfamiliar with this nasty bit of history, it was the battle that put an end to Bonnie Prince Charlie's Jacobite rebellion, which pitted the Highland Scots against the English and their Lowland allies. The loss of the battle, along with the following "ethnic cleansing" of the Highland Clans by the particularly brutal English commander resulted in the virtual destruction of Highland Scots culture. Bonnie Prince Charlie, after leading thousands to their death, slipped away to live out his life in exile. Not much of a hero, I'd say.

Today, I'm a captive of the computer, and will be working on accounting stuff for the business back home. Hopefully, Byron's toys will behave themselves and we'll have some specimens trimmed out. Today's photo is of one of our recent sunsets, featuring a new crescent moon.

More soon,


Summer sunset in the upper dale.

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