Wednesday, August 8, 2007

Good Morning,

Monday and Tuesday have been blustery and quite cool, and while we have had no rain at the quarry it was threatened several times. Today promises to be better, as I write we have clear blue skies, very light breeze and a pleasant temperature in the low 50's which is good for 7:00 a.m. in the morning.

Not too much accomplished on Monday. Byron drove the Peugeot down again to Wolsingham to find out what was causing our dead battery problem. I picked up Dave and Peter and drove them to the mine then went on to pick up Byron. Stopping on the way back at the lumber mill and speaking to Alistair Ward about ordering more wood which we need now. The rest of my day was spent cleaning and binning specimens. Byron got back to the face and worked that till it showed no more promise and then back into the Rat Hole pocket for the remainder of the afternoon. Peter was put to work moving muck and rock out of the West Cross Cut where we had piled mounds of it from the Rat Hole pocket and the lowering of the access crawl. Dave spent much of his day cleaning out the escape tunnel, ran into a huge tumbler that needed blowing and so he drilled and put in a pyrotechnic which sadly did not accomplish anything so another short round will be called for there. We had a wonderful dinner that night prepared by Kerith with our guests being the pub owners Scott and Joy of the Blue Bell.

Tuesday morning we got a call from John at Watson's Garage about 8:00 a.m. that the Peugeot was fixed, a electrician had found a short in an unlikely spot but that cured the problem. I drove Byron in and gave him the keys to open the mine and money to pick up diesel fuel while I drove back to Burnbrae to pick up Kerith and Sinead and Peter and Dave -- a slow drive since I followed a farm tractor carrying hay from Wolsingham to Eastgate - a 6 mile drive that usually takes about 15 minutes that took 40.

Kerith and Sinead spent the day cleaning specimens and packing a couple of bins -- we've 39 packed so far with lots more material to clean-up. Dave spent the day cleaning up the face and drilling in in preparation for a Wednesday blast. Byron got back into the Rat Hole and discovered another large side pocket heading South back toward the face. This pocket is truly bizarre. It appears to be a collapse zone (again) but just after the opening there is a water worn oval cavity going straing down perhaps 20' or more. Big enough to almost fall into, we can't see the bottom of it and fluorite specimens are sticking out of mud into space all along the far side of the 'well'. Both Byron and I dropped a crystal or two that slipped from our muddy fingers and you could count to three before you could no longer hear it pinging off the walls. It has produced a number of specimens of galena and fluorite on white quartz and a number of large -- to 2 1/2" on edge green cubes in clusters. The difficulty with collecting this pocket is that there is a veritable silica dam that rises up and does not yield to hammering or prying at the entrance forcing you to put one shoulder through then your head then pulling your other shoulder through and hanging down into the 'well' with your arms outstretched prizing fluorites specimens out of the mud -- nobody can do this for more than about a half hour before your head feels like it is going to explode from all the blood rushing down to it. Peter Briscoe and his friend June visited part of the afternoon and Peter got look inside this new pocket. Not sure how to proceed, to date the pockets in the area have been trending west, this one is at right angles and heading due south and the entrance is truly tight.

Tuesday night we were all tired so it was clean-out the fridge night with everybody having a different dinner -- Byron with pork chop and garlic mashed potatos; Kerith with meatloaf and green beans with mushrooms and I had a salmon and cheese omelet with pesto sauce.

High on today's (Wednesday's) agenda is to spray and kill a batch of wasps which have invaded the hollow space between walls in the second container, we have tried covering the entrance holes with mud -- no success, filling the void with expanding foam -- no success, so now it is wasp killer spray.

Today's picture is of a sign seen on an ice cream truck. Only in England.

Cheers, Cal & Kerith and Byron

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