Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Greetings from Weardale.

Yesterday was a warm, pleasant day here in the North Pennines with temperatures around 24C/75F, and a bit of a breeze to keep the bugs away. This morning looks much the same. Hopefully this will hold for a few days as Joan is arriving on Saturday and it would, no doubt, be nice if she didn’t have to cower indoors during here week away from duties back home.

The possibility of collecting anything decent from the area around the face appears to have reached the point of “highly improbable” so yesterday Dave spent the day reinforcing the timber sets and drilling for a full shot at the face. He also put a few holes in the new eastern cross cut just back from the face in hopes of getting the rock to break to the level of the fluorite layer. At the end of the day all were fired so this morning we will begin the cleanup and see if this has gotten us anything new.

In the absence of any decent collecting to be done in the mine, I spent the day scrubbing and binning specimens again, with a break during the afternoon to pick up a supply of old newspaper for wrapping specimens from our friends Jeremy and Phillippa, and to do a bit of needed grocery shopping at the co-op in Stanhope. Byron and Greg spent much of the day picking and washing the walls in a couple other areas of the mine, but didn’t turn up anything really worthwhile for their efforts.

Back up dale we all had a couple pints at the Blue Bell, and traded local pub/restaurant reviews with Scott and Joy. Afterwards I was inspired to fashion a supper of chicken breast with sautéed leeks and bacon. Leeks are somewhat of a local specialty here, and it seems that almost every pub has a leek club. These clubs have a competition during the late summer for the biggest and best, and believe me, the competition arouses some serious fervor.

Our kitchen here has no fume hood so after creating a bit of smoke during the sautéing part of the process, I opened the back door. It was a warm evening, after all, and some fresh air sounded like a good idea. Along with the fresh air, however, we almost instantaneously got thousands of midges swarming toward the bright lights of the kitchen, and then us. I think more time was spent trying to swat the little buggers than eating supper. At least they seemed to like to congregate on the walls near the light fixture, making them easy prey. Don’t think I’ll try opening the door during the evening again.

Today will be a day of mucking and timbering. Hopefully we’ve exposed some new profitable ground. I suspect I’ll be at the washing and binning chores again. Today’s photo is of Dave and Joe carrying in timber to reinforce the sets at the face prior to yesterday’s blast. Featured prominently is our new/old loco, which now allows up to haul out tubs of muck without having to push them by hand.

Until next time,

Jesse & Byron

Our new, old labor-saving device, the electric loco.

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