Sunday, June 7, 2015

Greetings from Weardale.

The weather here in the North Pennines continues to be remarkably un-summer like. Not much rain, but yesterday we had almost gale-force winds most of the day, with temperatures around 9-10C. The winds are still up this morning, but a bit subdued from yesterday and a touch warmer.

The past couple days at the mine have not seen much collecting, as the rock around pocket zone has become very tight, and to properly move forward we are in need of another blast. Unfortunately, we have been having difficulty getting access to our magazine as the manager at Heights Quarry where we store has been off work with an injury. I am told that we should have things sorted by Monday, and everyone here is hoping thatís true. In the mean time, we managed to get the rest of our recent finds scrubbed of mud, wrapped, and packed up on Friday. I believe we are up to around 10 bins for the summer, now, which is well ahead of this time last year. Few things that one could call top quality, but lots of good saleable material. I just hope we can keep production up. After last summer, it sure would be nice! Todayís photo is of a few pieces collected earlier in the week.

Saturdays are usually normal workdays for us, and we spent the day cleaning up the face, and bringing up timber in anticipation of the next shot. In the absence of our normal mine assistant, Daveís son Joe who is between terms at University and currently on holiday in Spain, I got to drive the loco in and out of the mine while Dave cleaned up the face. This can be cold, muddy work, particularly when one figures in having to deal with the occasional derailment. Cal and Ian got to wait outside on the landing to tip the muck tubs as I brought them out, which on a warm sunny day can be a rather cushy job. However, considering the cold winds yesterday, I think I got the better of it!

Back at the cottage, we all feasted on fresh trout, courtesy of Billy McGuire. Billy is a local miner who spent many years at the Blackdene Mine, and was one of the miners responsible for saving many of the fine specimens that came from there in the 1970s and 1980s. These days he is an avid angler and we had the fortune to be gifted with a couple very large trout he has just caught in a nearby reservoir. Went great with a nice bottle of Chablis!

Today is starting slowly, with yet another coffee, and no real rush to do anything. Cal and Kerith have headed to Durham to see an exhibit featuring the original Magna Carta documents, Iíve started doing some laundry, and Ian is in the kitchen frying himself an egg for breakfast. A bit of shopping may be in order this afternoon, but otherwise, itís nice not to have to be rushing about covered with mud. At least for one day!

Stay tuned for more.


Cheers, Jesse, Ian, Cal & Kerith

Some recent produce.

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