August 12, 2001
Greetings from the Pennines,
Today started pleasant if overcast and moved continually down hill all day till it started raining hard about 6:00 p.m.
A quiet day; Paul and Kerith and myself drove up to Little Allercleugh about 8:30 a.m. to start work packing and watergunning specimens. Lots of work still needed to be done to get the waterguns up to snuff; Byron modified one by finding a way to insert a long hose into the water intake and take the Chinese spring out and modify it with parts from our dead Italian watergun and voila it worked like a champ. The second Taiwanese watergun was modified with different type of plastic hose and used a nozzle from a different Chinese watergun and married it to a Swiss spring and ultimately it too worked out like a champ. Obviously none of this would be necessary if people built these guns for the unbelievable abuse we meet out and had them set up for minerals instead of paint for which they are designed.
About 11:30 a.m. we all got out of our rain gear and six of us drove down to the Cross Keys in Eastgate for Sunday brunch and to watch the Pork Pie contest. Last year's winner Alistair Ward had a great looking pie but a 'bit soft' on the crust and was beat out by Cristine, the Tuesday chef at the Cross Keys. Paul recommended a recount - he said it works in the US it might work in Eastgate. The judge, an retired chef, was fortified between bites of cold pork pie by a pint of Guiness and an obviously insatiable desire for pork pie. It was a lot of fun and the Cross Keys was packed.After lunch, Jonina and Ayla (one of the interns) took off for Raby Castle about 25 miles away and Byron, Paul, Kerith and I decided to drive out to Killhope to see the sparboxes and see how the 10th anniversary festivities for the big water wheel were going. There was absolutely no parking, cars were even parked 1/4 mile up the dale toward Alston. There was a big marquee with food; the Stanhope Silver Band was playing, the staff was in Victorian costumes and people were milling about everywhere so we opted to go back to Little Allercleugh and take up where we left off on cleaning specimens and try it out again around 5:00 p.m. when the crowds had cleared a bit. It was worth the wait, Ian Forbes, the director, and his wife, Pam, were kind enough to give us some time and detail on a few of the more special sparboxes. Back to Little Allercleugh about 6:15 p.m. to drop Byron off and back to Burnbrae where a message was on the answering machine from Lisa, Paul's wife, that their son Ben's pet goldfish had died and he now wanted a cat for a replacement - the joy's of childhood.
Anyhow, a great day ahead tomorrow we hope with lots going on at the mine so stay tuned.