Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Greetings from Weardale.

Things have turned cool and breezy here in the dale. Our Southern California contingent, not accustomed to such things, are calling it cold. I call it more like home. Clouds are drifting through, dropping the occasional bit of rain, but nothing serious enough to turn the quarry into a total mud bath yet.

The past few days have been spent on a multitude of tasks, all trying to finish up for the season. On Friday afternoon, Dave drilled and shot the main face and the North East Cross Cut for one final time this year. All went well and upon inspection on Saturday, we found that we had succeeded in not blowing out any of the timbering near the face. Sometimes it doesn't work like that. Over the weekend Byron and I got all the fluorite wrapped and into our blue shipping crates, and this morning everything was loaded onto pallets at the quarry in anticipation of the shipping company arriving to carry them away.

The very large specimen that Byron got out of the West Cross Cut last week has been successfully wrapped and yesterday, between the three of us, we got it down from the landing onto the quarry floor and into a shipping crate. It only weighs around 90 kg, so should be a bit of a joy to get it processed on the other end if it's journey. Byron's wrapping job was a sight to behold, however. First padded with wadded newspaper, then wrapped in copious amounts of plastic bubble wrap, and finally about a roll and a half of duct tape applied. In this state it resembles a giant baked potato in aluminum foil, hence I have named it "The Potato". Not the most glamorous name for a mineral specimen, I realize, but perhaps that's one reason why I never considered a career in advertising. A photo with our very own Mr. Beadle for scale is today's feature.

Right now, I am back at our cottage trying, so far without success, to find out from our shipping company if our pick-up is properly scheduled for today and when we might expect the driver to show up. Perhaps I'm just being a little paranoid, but every year it seems that something goes wrong with this part of the operation (like the year they totally forgot to send a driver), and we only have a few days more in the country. If all goes as planned, then we will be left to finish mucking out the mine after the last blast, and do one more to use up the last of our explosives for the season. In our off hours, we have a number of dinners scheduled with both our former landlords Jeremy and Phillippa, and Bob and Mary. In between all this, I hope to get a beer or two at the pub and maybe a little sleep.

Stay tuned for more,

Jesse



All wrapped up and ready to go.

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