Friday, August 9, 2013
Friday was cool and windy and for a good part of the day overcast. Temperatures hit about 18C or about 68F but the wind made it feel much cooler.
I went up early and opened things up and got James started on mucking out the cross-cut after Thursday evening blast. A huge amount of debris extending all the way into the north end of the Bluebirds pocket. I went downstairs and began packing a blue bin. Jesse and Ian arrived a short time later and Jesse and I ended up packing three more blue bins bringing this years total to day to 59 bins with a week to go.
Dave and Joe arrived with steel from Gardiner's along with a number of high speed steel drill bits. Today's picture shows them moving this 13' bit of steel out onto the tracks to work on and drilling holes to attach to new footplates. We started with Dave's electrical drill which turned out not to have enough juice to drill through the old rusted steel which only looks decrepit. In actuality it is a magnesium steel that is unbelievably hard. He was breaking drill bits left and right since he had to really lean on the drill to achieve anything. We switched to the Bosch 36V battery drill we use for feather and wedging and it did the job but with a great deal of effort. Jesse and I had to make another run to Gardiner's to pick up more drill bits.
Since there was little I could contribute to the drilling efforts I went back down to the cross-cut to check on James' progress and decided to lay a thin stick along the line of best production in the Bluebirds pocket which ended up trending northeast instead of north. After and bit of whacking a block of ironstone mixed with galena and fluorite about 6" thick I broke into a zone of mixed mud and rock and small fluorite singles and groups which led to a seam of mud and a few nice specimens with small glassy gem twins to about 1/2". I decided to unbend and found it was after 2:00 p.m. so I went down to get a bite to eat. The crew was down there enjoying bait along with three visitors to whom Jesse gave a nice guided tour to. I mentioned that there were several promising plates showing and Ian finished his lunch and went up to look. Later Jesse and I joined Ian who had succeeded in bringing out two very nice plates and after a huge amount of effort freed another three dimensional specimen. All these had one thing in common. Absolutely gem, glassy and covered with twins but nothing exceeding 3/4" but very attractive. Jesse got in around 4:30 in the afternoon and after sticking around long enough to determine I was not going to get in and get another shot at things, Jame and I went downstairs and left for home.
Dave in the process of finally finishing drilling all the new holes in the old set of points, discovered that is oxygen bottle for the torch had not been completely turned off and was empty. So he and Joe left around 3:00 p.m. to drive to Bishop Auckland to get a refill. We said our goodbyes to Joe who is off on Saturday with a mate to Croatia, Switzerland and Hungary for several weeks so it may well be next year before we see him again.
We all met up at the pub and after a drink went back for a dinner of potato wedges, fresh baked bread with heads of cooked garlic, fish cakes and stir fried vegetables. Very pleasant we all retired early, Jesse and Ian are off around 8:00 a.m. to Newcastle and Kerith and I will be off Saturday morning for Alnwick Castle and gardens and perhaps a stop at Barter Books arguably the largest used and antiquarian book store in the UK with over 300,000 volumes to peruse that are beautifully organized.
Until next time,
Cheers, Cal and Kerith, Jesse, Ian,
Dave and Joe at work on the rail.