Monday, August 25, 2008

Greetings from Weardale,

The weather for the past few days has been pretty nice – mostly sunny, a little cool, and a bit breezy. Last night it was absolutely clear and the night sky was wonderful. This morning, however, we have a heavy overcast and some pretty strong gusts of wind. Looks like another low-pressure zone is on us. I just hope it doesn’t start chucking down rain while we’re trying to load out for the season.

On Saturday Joan and I took a meandering drive to Kendal to visit with Lindsay and Patricia Greenbank, former owners of the mine. The felltops in this region are covered with blooming purple heather this time of year and with the good weather we took the opportunity to drive the roads between Stanhope and Blanchland and see the show. Today’s photo is of the scenery at the top of Crawleyside Bank, north of Stanhope. Shared an excellent meal and a few bottles of wine with Lindsay and Patricia and had a chance to catch up on recent happenings. The Greenbanks also have amassed what is probably the most important private collection of Northern English minerals around, and are in the process of selling it off. This, of course, affords visitors such as us the opportunity to do serious harm to the bank balance. We escaped relatively unscathed on this occasion, but there are a couple real temptations there.

Had a leisurely drive back on Sunday morning, and found Byron at the mine packing the last of our blue shipping bins. As expected, he had also done some collecting. Sadly, most things that I saw showed at least some damage from the pocket collapse and will be destined for wholesale flats. I shouldn’t really complain as we’ve recovered some really nice things this summer, but one does get a bit spoiled and a bit disappointed when it doesn’t just keep coming out.

This is a bank holiday weekend, but today will be a workday for us as we need to stack all our blue bins onto pallets and get everything ready for shipping back home. Our shipper Schenker is scheduled to pick up the lot tomorrow, and will hopefully show up as arranged. This hasn’t always happened in past years so I’ve left a few days of “slop” in the close-down just incase there’s a problem. If all goes as planned, we will then have Wednesday and Thursday to shut down the mine and clean up Burnbrae after several month’s residence. Then it is down to London on Friday and fly home on Sunday. After that, we then start the process of cleaning and selling our summer’s take in order to raise the money necessary to come back to Weardale and do it all over again next year.

Until next time,

Jesse, Joan, and Byron

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