Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Greetings from Weardale.

Yesterday was sunny and warm (around 21C/70F), quite unusual for these parts in the summer. A nice breeze kept the midges at bay for much of the day, as well. This morning it is again sunny and warm, and unless the weather does an about face (which can happen) it looks like it will be “T-Shirt Weather” today. If this continues, I suspect we will be seeing a lot of very pink people in the next few days. The locals here in Northern England are not use to this sort of weather and are totally unprepared to act with caution when the sun actually does come out from behind the clouds.

Yesterday at the mine I spent the entire day scrubbing the mud off of recently collected specimens. Today I will likely be spending the entire day wrapping and binning these same specimens for shipment home, and will then begin the cycle over again. This is something we often have Dave’s daughter Shanade doing for us, and I was assured that as she is headed to university in September, she would be eager for all work we could give her to earn some extra cash. Well, it seems she has a new boyfriend and they wanted to go on holiday to Turkey this week. I guess a new boyfriend and a vacation away trumps scrubbing the mud off of rocks in a cloud of midges. Can’t imagine why.

The shot in our new cross cut to the east near the face went off well and produced a nice pile of rubble in the middle of the tunnel, which Dave had cleaned out in short order. None of the timbers were damaged and we now have the start of a nice, narrow tunnel that should not require constant timber. The only problem is that the rock did not break all the way up to the fluorite layer, so we are faced with trying to raise the roof rather than keep it in place.

Byron and Greg spent the day collecting at the face, and while they got a few tubs of decent wholesale material, nothing really great was turned up. Byron continued to excavate the pocket he found last week on the west side of the face, and by the end of the day the hole was somewhere around a cubic meter in size. Unfortunately, the entire contents of the pocket had been crushed, likely by its proximity to the fracture zone further to the west. As a result, we got a lot of bright green, gemmy rubble, a few dinged up plates with large gemmy fluorite bits on them, and very little else. Rather frustrating. There should, however, be a lot of nicely colored bits for our ever-popular bags of aquarium gravel to sell in the room at Tucson next February.

Afterwards, a quick pint at the Blue Bell, and a quick supper of sausages and roast potatoes, then off to bed. Quite the exciting bunch we’ve turned into.

Today will be a day to move some more rock at the mine in hopes of improving the collecting. Dave will be drilling both the main face and our new eastern cross-cut again, and hopefully shoot both at the end of the day. Tomorrow we should know if this has done anything for us.

Until next time,

Jesse & Byron

A nice sunny day in St. John's Chapel.

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