Saturay, June 6, 2009

Greetings from Weardale.

A steady cold rain greets us this morning, much the same as we had all day yesterday. Actually, it lifted for a bit during the afternoon, and as I drove back from the mine about 6 pm I could see some patches of snow on the high moors in the west toward Alston. Quite a change from a few days ago. Checking the BBC weather forecast for the Northeast, it looks as if we may be in for several days more of this.

Yesterday I spent much of the day waiting for delivery of our first order of bins and bubblewrap, which finally arrived around 3 pm. We already have a backlog of tubs full of specimens that Byron has dug out of the main face that need cleaning. Shanade is scheduled to spend Monday and Tuesday washing these bits, so Iíll need to wrap and bin the previous round in order to clear the drying tables for her. If this weather persists, cleaning specimens in the quarry is not going to be the most pleasant of tasks, so I hope she doesnít cancel out on us.

After receiving our supplies yesterday afternoon, I headed to the mine and found Byron and Greg both collecting at the main face. No one had been too eager to work outside and the new stairs had not been finished, but both had been quite productive at collecting. Byron had filled seven tubs with smaller bits, which I carried up to the portal. There was also a collection of larger specimens, the best of which was a large block of limestone weighing perhaps 60 pounds and covered on one face with gem twins. When cut up it should give 2-3 nice specimens. I had the pleasure of carrying this one out as well, and is the subject of todayís photo.

Greg is also, apparently, learning the pluses and minuses of being able to collect with plumbed in water. He had been able to move a good bit of rock and mud from the collapsed pocket area at the face, but was working up slope and had not been able to keep the water from running down the inside of his raincoat sleeve. As a result, he was pretty well soaked by dayís end, despite being fully dressed in our raingear. Iím not quite sure what he expected to be doing here on his visit, but I got the impression that getting thoroughly cold and wet wasnít necessarily part of it. Byron, of course, seems unfazed by it all and has already left for the mine again this morning, Greg in tow.

After a pint and a quick warming up at the Blue Bell, we went over the hill to Langdon Beck for dinner. The Langdon Beck Hotel is located at the upper end of Teesdale, the next valley to the south of us. It is a fairly remote location but seems to do a reasonable business, and has always been one of the few places in the upper dales for good beer and a decent meal. The owner, Glen, was also keen on the local geology and mining history and was in the process of constructing an exhibit room at the pub for local minerals. Sadly, cancer got to him earlier this year, but his wife Sue has carried on and the exhibit room is now open to the public. All in all, a nice place and I would recommend stopping by to anyone passing through. They also have rooms.

Best get a move on this morning. If I donít, I may be tempted just to crawl back in bed and stay warm.

Until next time,

Jesse & Byron



A large plate of fluorite on limestone, awaiting the chain saw.

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