Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Greetings from Weardale.

I arrived here in England last Friday and since then the weather has been anomalously summer-like. I am not quite sure what the high here in Weardale was yesterday, but I am sure it was over 30C/86F. This may not seem like much to those of you in places like Tucson, but when combined with high humidity and a cloud of midges, it makes for the perfect day to work underground. This morning our normal cloud cover has returned and temperatures have dropped a good bit, which will make for a more pleasant day moving rock and equipment around.

As mentioned, I arrived back here on Friday after a couple weeks back home to attend to things like paying the bills and seeing Joan, who is unable to join us here this summer. Ian had booked himself into a local mineral show over the weekend, so I drove out to meet him in Cardiff, and then on to the show in Oxford on Sunday. Unfortunately, the show was up against several major sporting events on the telly, and a very nice day weather-wise. As a result, it was rather under attended. By around 1300 I estimated that there were more dealers milling about than potentially paying customers. To add insult to injury, it seemed that the concessionaire for the hall had pulled out and we couldn’t even get a beer or two to pass the time.

While away, Dave has continued to drive the crosscut eastward from the main drift, and by late last week had encountered what appears to be flats on the east side of the vein. The nice thing, so far, is that the specimens we are getting are generally smaller than what we were getting on the west side. Unfortunately, there appears to be a paleo-watercourse running through the flats in this area and as a result, much of the fluorite is somewhat etched. Hopefully, the flats will continue to the east and we can get away from the watercourse.

At the mine yesterday Ian and I spent much of the day digging at the face of the new crosscut and got a fair number of specimens. Unfortunately, much of it was only average quality, but the area shows promise, as fluorite is showing in at least two areas of the face. The alcove, so far, is too small for two people to collect at the same time, so we took turns. The area quickly fills up with debris, so mucking it out keeps the second person occupied with a necessary, if less enjoyable job. Dave has laid wooden planking along the length of the crosscut floor, which makes shoveling the muck so much easier!

Dave spent much of the day drilling the main face for another blast, while Cal got out the chain saw and cut up a selection of large bits accumulated over the past week. Given the heat yesterday, I am sure water spray from the saw was welcome, for a change. It’s good to be back in production, even if most of it has so far been just wholesale quality. Today’s photo is of some large bits lining the tunnel awaiting the saw.

Today we will be having our annual visit from the Durham Constabulary, who like to get out of the office once in a while and check up on their permit-holders. Plans are to shoot the main face again, and hopefully move some more rock at the face of the crosscut.

Stay tuned for more…

Cheers, Jesse, Ian, Cal and Kerith

A collection of specimens from the new crosscut awaiting the saw.

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