Tuesday, July 20, 2010
A thoroughly miserable day. Very windy and either steady driving rain or the occasional cloudburst punctuated with brief periods of light drizzle. Everywhere you went large standing puddles of water and the quarry floor was a slippery muddy mess.
It started off poorly too, with a phone call from Dave saying that the Durham County Council's road crew had showed up on his street and closed it off and started hacking up the pavement. I walked down to get the gear for turning on the water and found the area totally blocked by haulage vehicles, road rollers and small trenching equipment etc., I was barely able to even walk to the house. Dave and Joe and the van were stuck there till nearly 2:00 p.m. I left for the mine around 10:00 with Peter and Will in tow and we were followed in by Killhope's crew along with the new director, Mike. Nice fellow and hope he can handle all the things they are throwing at him budget wise. I took Peter with me and we headed off to Fir Tree to get diesel, leaving Will behind to watch over the Killhope crew.
We got back about 11:30 a.m. and I then organized Peter and Will to help set up the new chainsaw and attack the rising tide of untrimmed specimens. Sadly, the battery opted to not work so I had Peter start going around the mine and collecting all the bits stashed here and there and Will and I went to the face to collect a pocket at the end of the blast. Purples again but this time badly mangled by time and explosives, a number of corners up to nearly 3" but almost all showed some damage. This occupied us till Dave and Joe showed up and we broke for lunch.
Afterwards, Dave did his best to get a jump going on the battery but it proved futile so I jumped back in the Audi and planned to rush down to Wolsingham to get a new battery only to be met with a line of about 50 cars in front of me about 3 miles down the road in Frosterley. A farmer was driving his herd from point A to point B and by the time this was culminated (about 30 minutes for me, no idea how long for the front vehicle) I need a couple of aspirin. Got a battery and back up to the mine to find out that the old lead for the positive terminal was 2" to short, happily Dave came to my rescue using the jumper cables to act as leads to the battery. We finally were in action.... about 4:00 p.m. but at least I knew that everything worked. The new unit is much more powerful and faster but even this against silicified limestone still makes for a slow go.
After getting feel for the unit we washed off the big rock taken out of one of the West Crosscuts near the face the day before, under about 3" of mud a gorgeous glassy gem twin of about 2" showed up and when ultimately trimmed at my lab should yield a great specimen, some other bits were nice and will yield good pieces but we get few really potential killer rocks. Dave and Joe were in so late and with helping me on the power unit little got done at the face except Dave got to test out the newly rebuilt rail bender, which appears that it will work. Today's picture shows Will holding the specimen needing trimming with the large gem twin on it.
It is nearly 10 at night here and the rain is still coming down hard, at this rate the quarry may flood. They have been predicting localized flooding, just hope not too local. I am totally beat from a long day and going to bed and listen to the rain and continue reading Clive Cussler and off to dreamland.
Thatís all the news there is.
Cal and crew