Thursday, June 21, 2012

Greetings from Weardale,

You could not get two more different contrasting days than yesterday and the day before. Thursday was absolutely horrible weather, the entire valley was covered in a thick fog or mist and the rain pelted down the whole day adding to our water woes at the bottom of the quarry. There was no wind so in the few but brief respites we had the midges to contend with. The only happy place to be was underground.

Andrew and I got there early and I set him to securing the tarp as best possible for the rain and doing a bit of cleanup around the containers and underground. Dave and Joe spent the morning mucking out the mess in the front I had made and preparing the timbers for a blast. I made a diesel run to Fir Tree only to get there and find out their tanks were empty and the delivery had been delayed by a day so a wasted trip. Trying to make the most of the trip out there I stopped by Gardiner's on the way back to get a bill for the steel and work they did... Jonathon was going to get to it, just not yet. So, I decided on stopping by Ward Timber and get our bill there, Alistair was out for the day and Billy the supervisor said he was sure it had not been got to yet. By the time I got back I felt that I had wasted a good portion of my day getting wet for naught.

Helen had arrived before I left and I told her to have a go in the cross-cut. When I got underground, at least it was not drumming rain on my helmet, she had a few nice bits and a bag of twins. I had Andrew come down and wrap and move any specimens out of the area. I also asked her about the large plate dead center firmly attached to ironstone. She was going to charge up their old DeWalt hammer drill and see if a series of holes behind the specimen might work. Jesse and I have exchanged emails about acquiring one of the new 36V Bosch hammer drills for just such occasions. One good specimen and you've paid for the drill.

After bait, Dave and Joe got to drilling. I put Andrew to putting specimens to soak and Helen and I installed our ear plugs and had another go at the cross-cut. Found another bag of singles and a few very nice miniatures and a deal of wholesale material for our efforts. The roof mud is full of specimens but difficult to work your way through. The water works very slowly on that mud, and since Dave was drilling we had no water. So after a couple of hours we called it quits in the cross-cut. Today's first photo is of a etched crystal chunk that was in the muck near the face and when I put a light to it ... well it glows like gem green kryptonite.

Helen left and Andrew and I did odd jobs while Dave finished he drilling. This time the drilling was exceedingly difficult, lots of alteration and what limestone there was is broken and mixed with clay and water, which meant that drilling the face took about an hour longer than normal. Kerith and I are off early this morning to Newcastle to get a new rental contract on our vehicle.

That's it from the Dale for today.

Cheers, Cal & Kerith

A nice chunk of gem rough.

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