Thursday, June 19, 2008

Greetings from Weardale.

Yesterday afternoon about the time we left the mine some fairly serious rains came through and lasted into the evening. This morning the breeze is up and it is quite cool out. If no more rains come through, the wind should dry things out fairly quickly. If not, the quarry will be a mud bath.

Yesterday morning at the mine Byron needed to go out to get diesel for the compressor, and soon returned with 25 gallons – a week’s supply – and was poorer by about 120 Pounds for it. I went up with Dave to inspect the results of the previous day’s shots and found that everything had gone as hoped, leaving a nice pile of rubble burying the main face but all timbers intact. To get back to collecting, however, one must then haul out all the rubble, which is a full day’s job for two, and then timber to the face to prevent the errant rock from causing difficulties. Dave set to mucking right away but about half way through the job decided that some timbering was required before the mucking had been completed, and spent the afternoon at that.

Peter and Lauren were at the mine again, and as we currently do not have enough working cap lamps for everyone, I gave mine to Peter and spent most of my day washing, wrapping and binning specimens. Fortunately, the wind was up and the midges down. We had arranged to take Peter and Lauren by Helen and Barry’s house in the evening to see their collection, so I left the mine a little early to do some shopping and get supper on. This also gave me a chance to spend a bit of time cleaning up a few of the nicer bits we’ve brought back to the cottage. Today’s photo is of one, having most of the mud now removed.

Spent several hours visiting with Helen and Barry after dinner. Peter and Lauren being unfamiliar with the mines and mineralogy of the North Pennines got a quick and extensive introduction to the subject. Helen’s collection is one of the most extensive from the region that I know of, and is largely self-collected. That alone is pretty impressive.

Today Peter & Co. will be playing tourist and going up to Hadrian’s wall to see some of the Roman archeological sights, including Vindolanda, a Roman-era village site that has produced the most extensive cache of soft-goods, including leather garments, textiles, and writing tablets ever found from the era. My day will likely be spent as a manual laborer helping Dave finish the mucking.

Until next time,

Jesse & Byron

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