Friday, August 25, 2006

Hi All,

A beautiful start to the day, if a bit on the cool side, perhaps 55 when we woke up but quite dry. Supposed to cloud over and give us a chance of a rain shower or two by evening.

They have sent up some huge marquis' out in the field not far behind us in preparation for the Chapel Show; these are for showing exhibits of hand writing etc. by the kids, leeks, onions, carrots and flowers along with various needlework projects and of course a dog show with special categories for sheep dogs, Bedlington terriers (whatever they are) and such wonderful categories as 'most beautiful bitch over five' etc. The first of the 'spin and barf' rides arrived about an hour ago and is setting up on the grass next to the community hall.

I left shortly after 10:00 this morning, Kerith staying behind to pack and have a long soaking bath, Jesse was doing some net surfing and Byron and Dave headed off for the mine with a stop at Height's Quarry first to pick up explosives. Dave's day was going to be spent drilling. Byron opted to wash and clean specimens.

I stopped by Bob & Mary Coates at Mine House in Daddry Shield to say goodbye. Just caught Bob on his way to his doctors for a blood test to see what level his clotting was at. Mary was on the phone having lost her purse the previous day and just discovering the fact.

Driving into Stanhope I was completely enthralled by the blooming heather covering all the hills you could see, set against the backdrop of the blue sky and some puffy clouds it was nothing short of a religious experience.

Arriving in the quarry, I set to packing up specimens into our blue bins. After three orders of the bins we only have four left so we will have to be very selective of what we put in. Looking at the previous day's haul I was quite happy. Very good luster, excellent clarity, fabulous aesthetics -- the combination of octahedral galena, white topographic quartz coated partially by green fluorites it striking. If there is a down side, not lots of gem twins. I looked at one plate trying to decide if it would make the cut. Highly fluorescent green cubes and twins to 1 1/2" on edge but the piece was 12"x10"x4" and weighed about 25 pounds, taking up a lot of space.

I had promised Kerith to be back by noon but by noon still had not got underground so I suited up for a brief bit in the pocket. Nothing like laying in cold sticky wet mud on your side with about 1/4" of clearance over your helmet but seeing a field of crystals in front of you to make you forgot everything but the moment you are in. I extracted a very fine fist sized stalactite followed by another of very high quality followed by a small roof plate with some nice gem glassy cubes on white quartz crystals. About that time Jesse showed up telling me it was 1:00 p.m. and time for lunch -- which I had not taken since I was going to have it with Kerith back at Burnbrae. To my surprise a group of Czech geology students from Prague had hiked into the quarry and were busy looking over the dump. Again delayed getting back to give them an all too brief look at things but they very much appreciated seeing Rogerley.

I did finally arrive back about 2:00 p.m. to overcast and threatening skies. Set to immediately after lunch cleaning six weeks worth of quarry slime off the Nissan and sucking out as much of the dirt and mud as I could off the floor and getting the bigger blobs of it off the seats and the insides of the door. Car practically looks new, minus some bits of road hazard that managed to scrape a couple of wheels.

Tonight we have our final social commitment with friends the Rowe's and the Land's at the Black Bull in Frosterley. This being the big Bank Holiday weekend over here everything is going to be crowded but we booked last week for 8 people so should get a spot during this very busy weekend. Tomorrow off to Harrogate and the mineral show there, then onto Lincoln for the night and a morning to see the great cathedral there and into London Sunday night and check into our hotel near the airport. Hopefully off early Monday morning - good willing.

Tis my last missive from this place way north of Lake Woebegone, could easily spend another six weeks here.

Cheers, Cal



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