Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Good Morning from Weardale.

Tuesday morning dawned with a steady light rain with occasional sharper bursts, light winds and moderate temperatures. By 2:00p.m. we had a clearing of the skies and temperatures up to about 18C or about 66F which felt quite pleasant in the sun. As the afternoon moved to the early evening we again clouded over and had a few very sharp showers.

Tuesday's order of business was to get the face mucked out from Monday afternoon's blast. I went in early, Kerith remained in bed until nearly 10:00 a.m. -- a combination of getting to sleep late and the excitement of Monday nights Christmas in July. I spent an hour plus packing specimens and washing up the specimens from Sunday and Monday.

Dave and Joe arrived a bit after 10:00 a.m. and went up and we quickly started mucking the face. Unfortunately, Monday's blast had done major damage to the square sets and stretchers and totally blew off the stretcher board between to the two timbers bending the heavy duty 6" nails into curly-cue patterns. We also had no clay showing at the face so another blast will be necessary later this week, perhaps even Wednesday afternoon.

There were some large boulders in the muck which makes for an exiting time when dumping the tub to see where they will end up. By 3:30 p.m. we were on our last tub of muck, Dave had managed to get two huge boulders on top of the muck in the tub. Each is probably a thousand pounds or more, the second one into the tub captured the bucket of the Eimco and needed quite a bit of effort to free it.

This done, Joe started up the rails only to have the loco batteries die about 400' away. We unattached the tub with the big boulders on top and then Dave and I pushed it with the remaining battery power up to the charging station. I took apart the cover to expose the copper points, several were loose and several we very burned so we took them all off and Dave is going to grind them down a bit and we will see if this improves the performance of the loco. Joe had a 4:45p.m. doctor's appointment so he and Dave left early and stayed around and closed things up.

Wednesday was absolutely brilliant with temperatures rising to about 23C or 73F with lots of blue skies and fast moving clouds. It was quite breezy with gusts to about 20mph. I left about 8:30a.m. to first purchase generator petrol in Stanhope then open things up. I was surprised to find that the Honda generator we had left running to charge up the loco batteries Tuesday afternoon was still chugging away about 9:00a.m. though the tank was reading empty. I refueled the Honda, added oil and restarted it to keep charging the loco batteries. I then checked the oil in the old Silverstone (made in China) generator which was totally empty, it is a real oil burner. Even after putting in oil and filling the tank I could not get it to start. After nearly 50 pulls it finally sputtered to life and kept doing a noisy sputtering jig for about an hour before having a huge backfire then running smoothly the rest of the day.

Helen showed up and we went underground, she was playing around in the Bluebird's pocket for an hour or so while I explored the face. I found a small green zone, which ended up keeping Helen and I busy for much of the day though it is nearly finished. Almost exclusively single twins but maybe a half dozen matrix pieces, nothing super but good wholesale material. When I went outside around 11:00a.m. I found Dave and Joe tugging timber up. That finished Joe set off to reinstall the points in the loco and they found several loose wires which, due to location, required quite a bit of fiddling to get to. Around 12:30p.m. Dave came down to tell me they were ready to pull the tub out with its two huge boulders and dump it onto the tip. Both Helen and I grabbed our cameras for the event. It was something to see.

We then all took bait, afterwards Helen and I went up and spent another hour picking up singles but could see that the pocket was closing down quickly and Dave was ready to begin timbering. Because of the way the rock is breaking we needed to bring down the height of the square set, if we were going forward some distance it would make mucking with the Eimco difficult since it requires at least 7' to operate and our current roof is now about 6" too low. Thursday we will finish the timbering and put another blast in at the face to see if everything is dead or there is still some alteration and hope.

Cheers, Cal & Kerith

Dave and Joe with the big one.

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