Thursday, June 4, 2009

Greetings from Weardale.

Our brief spell of warmth and sunshine seems to have given in to more “normal” weather for these parts, as the clouds have moved in and the temperatures have dropped a bit. Still no rain, so one can drive in and out of the quarry without experiencing the all too usual mud bath. I’m sure this too will change.

Yesterday at the mine was a fairly productive one for Byron and his digging tools at the main face, and some more good bits were to be had. The roof in the area is a nightmare of large loose blocks of limestone, and keeping the area supported has become one of Dave’s top priorities. There are good-looking seams of fluorite exposed from the main face around to the east wall of the tunnel and back about ten meters. If we can get to it all safely there should be a good supply of new material.

Byron’s brother Greg arrived at Newcastle airport yesterday around 1 pm so I made the drive in to meet him. Despite the long overnight flight he managed to get suited up upon arrival at the mine and was quickly helping Byron shift rock. After carrying out what Byron had collected that morning, we decided we needed to scale back a lot of rock surrounding the exposures so to get at them better, so everyone had a go at dropping rocks from the face during the late afternoon. Dave was busy right behind us cutting and installing timbers to secure the east side of the face so Byron could get back in to collect. As if to underscore the need for this, a large ceiling block that was resting against the last timber set at the face started to move, squeezing mud out of the cracks around it like someone with a large tube of toothpaste. This morning we’ll have to decide whether to bring this down or try to support it in place.

All-in-all, however, we’ve had a very good start to the collecting season, with few of the delays or hang-ups we’ve encountered in some previous years. This morning I’m on the phone placing orders for supplies, including the first lot of our customary blue shipping bins.

Until next time,

Jesse & Byron

A nice day in the North Pennines.

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