Saturday, June 14, 2008

Greetings from Weardale.

Weather here has gotten into what I think of as “typical” summer in Weardale - mostly cloudy with alternating spells of sunshine and rain. Yesterday afternoon, while working on the mine landing sorting crystals out of the muck, I could watch successive rain squalls heading down the dale toward us, interspaced by nice sunny weather. Things quieted down around 3 pm, however, allowing the midges to come out in force. About this time I decided that things were more interesting underground.

And interesting they were. On Thursday Dave drilled the main face in anticipation of shooting it early next week. With Dave off yesterday, Byron took one more opportunity to dig about in the Jewel Box area. What he quickly discovered was that the mineralized zone heading north is also heading back toward our projection of the tunnel forward. If he hadn’t discovered this, we would have in all likelihood blown up a lot of really nice material with the next round. Blasting is still needed as the pocket zone is currently a cramped and difficult place to work, but anything major will have to wait until we get a better feeling on where the zone is headed.

Needless to say, I’m pretty well convinced that we’ve found another stretch of flats, as the area really reminds me of what we saw in both the Black Sheep and West Cross-Cut. There is a strong horizontal seam of fluorite on the roof of the mineralized zone, with much breccia and often one or more fluorite layers below it. Excavation is difficult because of the jumble of mud and rock, and a lot of the specimens are damaged because of the brecciation and partial collapse of the zone, but some nice things are coming out. About the time I fled underground to get away from the midges Byron managed to work away a really nice large fluorite-covered plate, which, along with a smaller fluorite-covered knob are the subject of today’s photo.

Local collectors Helen and Barry came by the mine around noon and spent the afternoon helping us haul pocket muck out and sort for crystals. Evidently, this was the first day of a week’s holiday for them and they could think of no better way to spend it than getting wet and muddy. These are the kind of friends one can appreciate in this business!

Last night was spent with our friends and former landlords Jeremy and Phillippa over dinner at their place up on the fellside above the upper dale. The views up there are absolutely marvelous on a summer evening, and Phillippa’s cooking is pretty good as well. Over the course of the evening I think we managed to tell most of our respective politicians and government lackies just what we think of their efforts on our behalf, though I’m pretty sure they weren’t listening.

Until next time,

Jesse & Byron

It doen't look as though Friday the 13th was so horribly unlucky afterall.

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