Thursday, August 31, 2006

Greetings from Weardale.

Autumn continues to settle into the dale. Yesterday dawned cool and clear, but by mid day the wind had picked up and a high front of clouds moved in. Looked like it was going to storm, but in reality only got around to a bit of drizzle overnight. This morning things are cool and breezy, with low clouds racing in from the west.

Tuesday morning, after a solid round of telephone tag with our shipper, I was finally able to get a call back from their trucking company to confirm our pickup. A driver arrived around 3 PM, and mercifully, had shown up with a truck small enough to negotiate its way into the quarry. Alistair was kind enough to send over one of his crew with a forklift, so our three pallets of fluorite were loaded and on their way quickly. We now get a respite of a month or so, until they show up in California and we have to do something about them.

In between loading chores, Dave managed to get the face mucked out and timbered. Examining the face, Byron found a small pocket containing numerous small gemmy twinned green and purple fluorites poking through a partial coating of white calcite. The pocket was small, however, and did not yield very many specimens. The face in very mineralized with a heavy iron oxide alteration and numerous stringers of galena showing. If there are any decent sized pockets around it should be interesting. Dave also drilled a round of holes to start a cross cut at the head of the tunnel going to the west. This will be shot today, and will use up the last of our explosives for the season.

Yesterday we began the task of closing down, coiling up various hoses and oiling equipment for storage over winter. Bryon also got a last minute request from John and Marie Land of Gemcraft, the local rock and jewelry shop, for some blocks of Frosterley marble. This is not really a marble but a black limestone with numerous white, late Paleozoic fossil corals and brachiopods embedded in it. There is an outcrop of it in our quarry, and is quite attractive when cut and polished. On the way home, Byron and Dave dropped off about 200 kg of the stuff at their house up the dale in Cowshill. This should keep them busy through the winter, fashioning it into various objects such as polished eggs and clock faces. After the delivery, Byron and I headed back down dale to the Mill Race for one last round of Whitby Cod for the season, and to say our farewells to Mary and Denis. After a long absence, they have also put Black Sheep back on, so it was just like old times.

With summer quickly fleeing the North, it’s time once again for us to pack up and head home. Today our rented compressor is scheduled for pick-up, will be the final clean-up and closing of the mine for the season. Afterwards, we’ve been invited to dinner at the Mine House with Bob and Mary. Tomorrow we will head down to London for a weekend of museums and such before flying home. Byron spends almost all of his time on a very rural ranch in northern San Diego County. I tease him that these end-of-mining season stops in London are the only thing that keeps him in touch with modern civilization. I think he enjoys it, but only for a few days.

Today’s photo is of the lads with one of our assembled and waiting pallets.

Until next time, cheers!


All wrapped up and ready to go.

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