Sunday, August 5, 2012

Greetings from Weardale.

Saturday marked the point at which Kerith and I are two weeks away from leaving Weardale. Jesse had to return and renew his car lease in Newcastle in the morning and got back to the mine about 12:30. Jurgen and I took off about 10:00a.m. and after opening everything up and the pushing all the equipment out we took a look at the face after Friday's blast. A few bits but most of what was there was heavily damaged and nothing is currently showing in the way of a pocket. The new east cross-cut looked a bit more promising but needs to be mucked out first.

Saturday had been predicted to be a day of sunshine and showers some of which were supposed to be very sharp with possible thunder and lightning. But at the mine, we had mild breezes pleasant temperatures and mixed sun and clouds making for a perfect day, particularly as we were having another go at the large plate again.

Jurgen helped to trot out all the diamond chain saw gear and a number of the smaller rocks that had been building up that needed sawing. I gave these my attention first since the chain is really wearing thin now, which causes binding and this problem is easier to handle with smaller specimens. Jesse and Ian arrived just as the last of the smaller pieces was being sawn. The four of us then turned our attention to building a short ramp and orienting the specimen so that Jesse and I could get a better angle to saw off more weight. However, just as we got started the sprocket in the bar froze. At this point, we decided to change to a new very recently purchased diamond chain and our remaining bar. Hopefully this will get us through the rest of the summer. Today's picture shows Jesse right before we started the process of putting the new chain on the new bar.... something that took well over an hour even with the help of the manual. Once accomplished, we set to and after about three hours had reduced the weight enough for four people to lift up the piece from its resting place and put it back on our wagon. We have done all that a chain saw can and the rest will have to be done next week with an angle grinder or similar tool.

We broke from our labors about 3:30p.m. in good weather but by the time we had driven the 9 miles back to St. John's Chapel the rain started lashing down. Still, after cleaning up we decided to take Jurgen on a short tour to see the remains of what's left of the fluorite industry up toward Rookhope. Then up and over the hills past Allenheads and into Allendale for a beer at a very fine pub. To accomplish this we drove past snow that had recently fallen and heading into Allendale the roads were covered with rocks and in places large ponds. Obviously they had taken the brunt of the storm front; then back home for a meal of sausage and mash followed by watching the Olympics.

Kerith and I are off this dark, cloudy and likely rainy Sunday morning for Scotland to visit Dumfries House, which has all its original furnishings rescued by a large loan from Prince Charles. There is an individual piece of Chippendale signed by Thomas Chippendale valued at 20,000,000 (this is correct) British pounds. I wish we had a better day for the drive but tickets can be hard to get.

Cheers,

Cal, Kerith, Jesse & Ian





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