Friday, June 18, 2010

Greetings from Weardale.

The past two days have been positively summer-like, and yesterday in particular was fairly warm, perhaps up to the mid-20s C. The midge population has remained remarkably low, so we were even able to enjoy sitting outside for a bit in the evening without getting swarmed. This morning, our cloud cover has returned and things are looking a bit more normal.

Yesterday I had a number of chores to attend to, including a visit to the bank to replenish our dwindling cash supply, get a bin of newly collected specimens off for home via FedEx, and get some permit applications printed so we can keep the wheels of local bureaucracy turning in our direction. As we are located in the true outback of North England here in Weardale, when scheduling things like FedEx pickups one must leave a fairly wide latitude of time during which the driver may actually arrive. Luck was with me yesterday, and the driver arrived for the parcel by early afternoon, and in fact, was the same driver we had when I did this last summer. Afterwards, I headed up to our friends Jeremy and Phillippa’s cottage to use their printer, and then, taking advantage of the lovely weather, took the long route over the moors and through Rookhope back to the mine. Given the rarity of such fine weather in these parts, I figured there would be some good opportunities for photographs along the way, and today’s shot is of the flower-filled pasture next to our friend’s cottage.

Back at the mine, I found that things had not gone exactly as planned. The electrical sockets on the loco, which Dave had hoped would function until we received the new replacement parts, had other thoughts on the matter, and promptly ceased working while pulling the first load of muck out of the mine. About the same time, a section of our compressed air line decided it was time to burst, which effectively brought everything to a halt. Byron decided that, rather than just repair the problem section of the hose, he would use this as an opportunity to fix a number of real and potential problems with the air line throughout the mine. When I arrived, everyone was busy tying down new sections of airline, and I had got the chance to haul a long section of flexible (and rather heavy) air hose up the ladder to the mine landing. The section of hose was about 40 feet long, and getting it up to the mine required three people, but by end of day everything was once again plumbed in and ready to go.

Needless to say, the face is still packed in with debris from the last shot, and our curiosity as to what mineralization may now be waiting for us remains. Byron did spend a little time climbing over the muck pile and was able to come up with a selection of several small fluorites in a variety of colors, including purple, yellow, and our usual green.

Back up dale at end of day, we found that the new electrical connectors for the loco had arrived, so hopefully we will be back in business sometime today. Always an adventure here of one sort or another.

Until next time,


Jesse & Crew

A summer day in Weardale.

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